Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School are joining forces to launch an academic research center that will focus on the intersection of business and law.

The Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law and Public Policy is being established with a $10 million gift from the Richard Paul and Ellen S. Richman Private Family Foundation. Richard Richman, an alumnus of both the law school and business school, is the chairman of The Richman Group, which owns and develops rental housing.

The gift will endow one professorship each at the law and business schools, and allow scholars from both disciplines to generate research and real-world solutions to problems in business and law, administrators said. The center also seeks to encourage students to pursue careers “in the nexus of business, law, and public policy.”

“The complex challenges in public policy need to be informed by the pragmatic perspectives of both business and law,” Richman said in a formal statement. “Columbia’s intellectual capital in these two disciplines is unparalleled and represents a powerful tool to address today’s problems as well as lay the foundation for a well-planned future.”

Columbia Law Dean David Schizer said during an interview Monday that the center is the next step in a series of ad-hoc collaborations the two schools began in 2004. “I think this is an institutional structure to make those collaborations permanent,” he said. “It’s going to create a community of people at both schools working together on research topics.”

Law professor Edward Morrison and business school Vice Dean Chris Mayer will jointly oversee the new center. They are already collaborating on research into the mortgage markets. Schizer foresaw additional research into the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and systemic risk regulation.

The center will help develop curriculum for Columbia’s new three-year J.D./MBA program, announced last fall.

Portions of Richman’s gift will support extracurricular programming and faculty research projects.

In addition to being the chairman of The Richman Group, Richman serves on the law school’s Dean’s Council and is a member of the Columbia Business School’s Board of Overseers. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1972, and from Columbia Business School in 1973.

Karen Sloan can be contacted at