About Judge Richard Dietz

Judge Richard Dietz:  The Most Appeals Experience of any Judge in North Carolina


Judge Dietz courtroom picture

  • Judge Dietz has served on the Court of Appeals since September 2014. He has heard nearly 400 appeals and authored more than 100 opinions.  He has distinguished himself on the Court with concise, well-reasoned opinions that reflect his unmatched appellate experience.
  • Before joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Dietz was a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, a 650-lawyer firm, handling complex issues and appeals.
  • He has handled dozens of high-profile appeals in state and federal courts across the country, ranging from billion dollar corporate disputes to novel constitutional cases. He is the only N.C. Board Certified Specialist in Appeals on the 15-member Court of Appeals.   He also has extensive trial experience ranging from complex motions practice to multi-week jury trials.
  • Judge Dietz has personally argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the only state appellate judge who has done so.
  • Judge Dietz graduated first in his class from Wake Forest University School of Law and clerked for judges on the U.S. District Court in Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.


Upbringing, Education, and Personal Life

Rich and Kelley

Judge Dietz grew up in a small-town family originally from rural Pennsylvania. He is a Lutheran. For generations, his family members worked for the railroad and telephone companies. He was the first in the Dietz family to attend college.

Judge Dietz earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Shippensburg University, a small state school in central Pennsylvania that he attended on a full academic scholarship. He graduated at the top of his class and served as president of the university honors program.

In 1999, Judge Dietz accepted a full scholarship at Wake Forest University School of Law and moved to North Carolina.  He graduated first in his law school class at Wake Forest.

Judge Dietz is married to Kelley Dietz, a Roanoke, Virginia native. The couple were married in Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University. They now live in Winston-Salem.



Unmatched Professional Qualifications

Before his appointment to the Court of Appeals, Judge Dietz was a partner on the Appellate & Supreme Court team at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, a 650-lawyer international law firm with its roots in North Carolina.

In his legal practice, Judge Dietz was one of the best known and most respected appellate lawyers in the State. He has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court and handled dozens of appeals in the North Carolina appellate courts and other state and federal courts around the country.

Judge Dietz is a North Carolina board certified specialist in Appellate Practice. He was the Vice Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section and now serves on the Appellate Practice Section Council.

Judge Dietz also serves on the Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee, a group of lawyers and judges who review the state’s appellate rules and draft proposed changes, and served on the North Carolina Courts Commission, a group of lawyers, judges, and members of the public who recommend changes to the court system.

As a seasoned appellate lawyer, Judge Dietz gained experience in a wide range of legal areas, including constitutional law, complex business law, criminal law, and family law. He has also represented a broad array of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to low-income families and indigent criminal defendants.


Sterling Academic Credentials

Judge Dietz has excelled in the law since he began law school in 1999. He graduated first in his class from Wake Forest University School of Law and served as research editor of the Wake Forest Law Review.

After law school, Judge Dietz clerked for two highly regarded federal judges, Judge Emory Widener on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Judge Samuel Wilson on the U.S. District Court in Virginia.

After his clerkships, Judge Dietz served as a research fellow in comparative law at Kyushu University in Japan, where he studied the advantages of the U.S. constitutional system of government in comparison to the laws of other nations, and lectured on the American legal system in Japanese.


Committed to Pro Bono Work and Community Service

Judge Dietz always has been committed to using his legal skills to give back to the community. In his legal practice and as a judge on the Court, Judge Dietz has been a strong advocate for “pro bono” work—volunteer legal work on behalf of those who cannot afford to pay an attorney.

In the three years before he joined the Court, Judge Dietz provided more than 1,000 hours of pro bono legal services, worth more than $400,000. In 2013 alone, he performed over 440 hours of pro bono legal work, equivalent to roughly one day a week for the entire year.

Judge Dietz also has partnered with nonprofit groups that offer legal services, including Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Student Press Law Center.

Judge Dietz also participates in other civic endeavors and community service unrelated to the law. Currently, he advises and volunteers with Crisis Control Ministry, a nonprofit whose mission is to help provide food, rent payments, medicine, and other short-term emergency aid to individuals in need.  He also mentors young students in Raleigh through Neighbor to Neighbor Outreach.  Judge Dietz brings the same level of intelligence, passion, and enthusiasm to all his community service.

Paid for by the Richard Dietz Committee | P.O. Box 97275, Raleigh, NC 27624