Richard Briffault

Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation

Office: Jerome Greene Hall - Room 726
435 West 116th Street
New York NY 10027
Tel: 212.854.2638
Fax: 212.854.7946

Assistant Info

Name: Taylor Grace Cook
Phone: 212.854.4282

Areas of Expertise

  • Law of the Political Process/Election Law
  • Government Ethics
  • State and Local Government Law
  • Property


  • Harvard, J.D., 1977
  • Columbia, B.A., 1974

Media Contact:

Brief Biography:

Richard Briffault is the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation. His research, writing and teaching focus on state and local government law, legislation, the law of the political process, government ethics and property.

He is co-author of the textbook State and Local Government Law (7th ed. 2009); principal author of Dollars and Democracy: A Blueprint for Campaign Finance Reform (the Report of the Commission on Campaign Finance Reform of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York 2000); and author of Balancing Acts: The Reality Behind State Balanced Budget Requirements (20th Century Fund Press 1996) as well as more than seventy law review articles.

Recent articles and works in progress include:

Of Constituents and Contributors, University of Chicago Legal Forum (forthcoming 2015);

The Uncertain Future of the Corporate Contribution Ban, Valparaiso L. Rev. (forthcoming 2015);

The Anxiety of Influence: The Evolving Regulation of Lobbying 13 Elec. L. J. 160 (2014);

The Future of Public Funding 49 Willamette L. Rev. 521 (2013);

Coordination Reconsidered, 113 Colum. L. Rev. Sidebar 88 (2013);

Super PACs, 96 Minn. L. Rev. 1644 (2012);

Updating Disclosure for the New Era of Independent Spending, 27 J. L. & Pol. 683 (2012);

Nonprofits and Disclosure in the Wake of Citizens United, 10 Elec. L.J. 337 (2011).

In 2014, Professor Briffault was appointed Chair of the Conflicts of Interest Board of the City of New York. He was a member of New York State’s Moreland Act Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (2013-14), and served as a member of or consultant to several New York City and State commissions dealing with state and local governance including the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency & Competitiveness (2007-08), the Temporary New York Commission on Constitutional Revision (1993-95), the New York City Real Property Tax Reform Commission (1993), and the New York City Charter Revision Commission (1987-89). He is currently the Reporter for the American Law Institute's project on Principles of Government Ethics. He is also vice-chair of Citizens Union of the City of New York.

Professor Briffault joined the Columbia faculty in 1983. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Columbia University and his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard University. He was law clerk to the Honorable Shirley M. Hufstedler of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and was Assistant Counsel to New York Governor Hugh L. Carey.