A scaling law (incomplete similarity with respect to local Reynolds number based on distance from the wall) is proposed for the mean velocity distribution in developed turbulent shear flow. The proposed scaling law involves a special dependence of the power exponent and multiplicative factor on the flow Reynolds number. It emerges that the universal logarithmic law is closely related to the envelope of a family of power-type curves, each corresponding to a fixed Reynolds number. A skin-friction law, corresponding to the proposed scaling law for the mean velocity distribution, is derived. In Part 2 (Barenblatt and Prostokishin 1993), both the scaling law for the velocity distribution and the corresponding friction law are compared with experimental data.