The Semmes Spotlight: The Rise of Attorney Richard Medoff

May, 2024  | By Simone T. Fair

Richard Medoff wearing a dark suit and red tie.Attorney Richard Medoff has spent over a decade working his way up at Semmes, becoming an indispensable member of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. He recently sat down with fellow Semmes attorney Simone Fair to discuss his path to principal at the firm, his time at University of Maryland Law School, his views on trends in the industry and his unique passion for metal detecting, among other topics.

Q: What was your journey to joining Semmes?

Medoff: I started at Semmes as a summer associate in 2013 while I attended the University of Maryland Law School. Then I stayed on part-time as a law clerk in the litigation department while I was finishing law school. Then I went full-time after I graduated, and I never left!

Q: Can you explain your recent transition from a Semmes associate to principal and the decision behind that?

Medoff: I wanted to work in litigation since I was in law school, so when I got the offer to be a principal in the litigation department, I jumped at the opportunity. Having been here for almost a decade, I feel a strong commitment to the firm and all the great people that I have been fortunate to work with here over the years. So, it was an easy decision for me.

Q: And how has your role evolved since you joined Semmes?

Medoff: I think I followed a pretty typical associate track, taking on more responsibility as I gained experience over time until I was handling cases on my own. I also credit all the great mentors I have had at Semmes, and I am grateful that I have had the chance to work on a wide variety of different types of cases during my time here.

Q: What did you enjoy during your time in law school?

Medoff: I was a captain on Maryland’s national mock trial team during my 2L and 3L years, and had the chance to compete in mock trial competitions against other law schools across the country, including two tournaments in Texas. And one of the 2L’s I mentored as a 3L is now running the mock trial program at the law school. So, I’ve stayed plugged in, and they are always looking for lawyers to judge mock trials on the weekends if anyone is interested!

Q: What industry changes or trends do you think will have the biggest impact?

Medoff: I think artificial intelligence (AI) technology is the most disruptive thing on the horizon. AI is getting incorporated everywhere, including in the legal industry, and it feels like we are entering unchartered territory with this new technology and a lack of AI-specific laws and regulations. Although I don’t think AI will outright replace us, it is becoming ubiquitous so it seems attorneys will have to engage with AI in some form or fashion moving forward – or risk falling behind.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

Medoff: I love metal detecting! I got into metal detecting by chance after I moved into a new house in Catonsville in 2020. Shortly after we moved in, I spent a long weekend clearing mountains of overgrown brush and thorns from my yard and realized at the end that I had lost my wedding ring. I panicked, as it was my great-great grandfather’s wedding ring inscribed with his initials and the date he got married in 1893, so it was irreplaceable. So, I went out and bought the only metal detector I could find for sale near me, and after a couple hours of searching in the yard, I found my wedding ring in a pile of leaves.

Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I now own several more metal detectors and try to get out detecting whenever I can. And that’s what I spend much of my time doing anytime I go on vacation.

Last year, I found a 200+-year-old British copper halfpenny from the wreck of the Faithful Steward, an 18th-century merchant ship from Ireland that sunk off the coast of Delaware in 1785 while it was carrying 400 barrels of coins bound for Philadelphia. The nearby beach became known as “Coin Beach” due to the large number of coins that still wash ashore during storms, and I keep going back every year looking for more.

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Medoff: I’ve always wanted to go on a Mediterranean cruise because I’ve never been to Europe, and I think it would be a beautiful way to see a number of different countries.

Q: What would your perfect weekend look like?

Medoff: Hanging out at home with my family, running around with my kids on a beautiful day, and working on my garden.

Q: What’s your favorite type of food or cuisine?

Medoff: I love Thai food! Thai Arroy on Light Street here in Baltimore is the place to go!

Q: What is one thing you can’t live without?

Medoff: Junk food. I have a serious sweet tooth and probably eat more candy to this day than my kids do.

Q: Are you currently binge-watching any shows?

Medoff: I’ve gotten super into the Gold Rush reality television series on Discovery, which follows small teams of family-run mining companies searching for gold mostly around Alaska and Northwest Canada. The original series is currently in its 14th season and still airing new episodes, and there have been a number of spinoffs that are also fantastic. I think their treasure-hunting spirit connects with my love for metal detecting, and I can’t get enough.