Stephen Saltzburg was born in Philadelphia in 1945. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1967 from Dickinson College, where he was honored with election to the Raven’s Claw Society. At the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he served as articles editor for the law review and completed his J.D. in 1970. He went on to clerk for District Judge Stanley A. Weigel and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. In 1972, he began teaching at the University of Virginia School of Law, specializing in evidence and criminal procedure; he was the first professor to hold the Class of 1962 Endowed Chair. In 1981, Saltzburg joined with District Judge Herbert J. Stern to co-found the Annual Institute of Trial Advocacy, now known as the National Trial Advocacy College, a partnership between Virginia Continuing Legal Education and the University of Virginia School of Law. Saltzburg has directed the organization since its inception. In 1990, he joined the law faculty at George Washington University, where he founded a master's program in Litigation and Dispute Resolution in 1996. In 2004, GW appointed Saltzburg the Wallace and Beverley Woodbury University Professor of Law.
Saltzburg has served as associate independent counsel during the Iran-Contra investigation in 1987, as deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Department of Justice, as the Attorney General’s ex-officio representative on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and as director of the Tax Refund Fraud Task Force, appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury. He has also been a member of the Council of the ABA Criminal Justice Section, the ABA Task Force on Terrorism and the Law, the Task Force on Gatekeeper Regulation and the Profession, and the ABA Task Force on Treatment of Enemy Combatants. He was reporter for and later a member of the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and a member of the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Evidence. He was the reporter for, and later chair of, the Civil Justice Reform Act Committee for the District of Columbia District Court. He has served as a special master in two class action cases in the District of Columbia District Court, and continues to serve as a mediator for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.