Cyber security, labor unions, fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis, increased taxes on the wealthy, and the implications of fracking on U.S. energy independence have all been debated at the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law and Public Policy. The three-year-old joint venture between Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School calls upon experts – including industry leaders, academics, and media – to examine issues shaping public policy today. Such conversations are designed to inform research, policy reform, and curricular innovations.
“Our deans are committed to collaboration, and the focus on methodology at the law and business schools makes the work of each complementary,” said Jeffrey N. Gordon, the Richard Paul Richman Professor of Law and the Center’s co-director.
Along with convening conferences and public forums, the Center last year introduced a multi-day workshop on public policy analysis and development for city and state elected officials and hopes to expand such programs in the future.
“You cannot teach business without understanding the regulatory system or write a healthcare bill without knowing how the healthcare business works,” said Richard Paul Richman ’72LAW, ’73BUS, chairman of The Richman Group, one of the nation’s largest rental property developers.
Richman, who sits on both the Dean’s Council at the Law School and the Business School’s Board of Overseers, saw opportunity amid complex policy issues—a chance to foster a partnership and stimulate debate. In 2011, he gave $10 million through the Richard Paul and Ellen S. Richman Private Family Foundation to establish the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law and Public Policy. This gift also endowed two professorships: the Richard Paul Richman Professorship of Business, a post now held by Andrea Prat; and the Richard Paul Richman Professorship of Law, held by Gordon.
“Take any critical policy issue, and you will find a need for deeper understanding and an interdisciplinary approach,” Richman said. “With this in mind, creating the Center was a natural thing to do, and I’m very excited that it’s become the main vehicle for integrating Columbia’s law and business schools.”