Richard Harper has been practicing law since 1981 and has owned his own law practice in Sylva since 1993. His practice focuses on representing injured workers in the workers’ compensation system and others with personal injuries.
Richard was honored by Best Lawyers as the Asheville area 2019 and 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in the category of “Workers’ Compensation-Claimants.”
He has regularly been selected by his peers for inclusion in the prestigious Best Lawyers list (2007-2019) and Super Lawyers (2008 – 2012, 2016 – 2017, 2019).
He has been board certified as a Workers’ Compensation Specialist by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization since 2000. He was one of the first ten lawyers in North Carolina inducted into the national College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers. He is currently serving on the board of the national organization Workplace Injury Litigation Group (WILG).
A frequent contributor at continuing legal education seminars sponsored by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), he has authored a chapter on medical compensation in one of the leading books on North Carolina workers’ compensation law. Richard is an active member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and served two terms as the chair of the Workers’ Compensation section. He has been formally honored by the section for his representation of injured workers and has also served on the NCAJ’s Executive Committee and on the Legislative Committee. In addition to the formal positions he has held with the NCAJ, Richard has represented the interests of injured workers in legislation drafting sessions at the General Assembly in Raleigh.
Richard served as a Deputy Commissioner with the North Carolina Industrial Commission for two years before he began practicing in Sylva. He has also worked in general civil litigation practices where he successfully represented land owners in condemnation cases.
Richard graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.A. in History. He received his law degree from the Campbell University School of Law, where he was a published member of the Campbell Law Review, was a member of the Holderness Moot Court team, and received the Howard Christian Citizenship Award.
Richard has been married to his wife and law partner, Patti, for more than forty years. Now that his four children are grown, he has retired from serving as a youth sports coach and spends his spare time cheering on the UNC Tarheels, hiking with his boxer “Pepper,” playing with his grandchildren, and being active in his church.