David Schizer portrait

David M. Schizer

  • Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics and Dean Emeritus

J.D., Yale Law School, 1993
B.A. and M.A., Yale College, 1990

Areas of Specialty

Tax Law
Energy Law
Corporate Governance

David M. Schizer served as a dean of the Law School from 2004 to 2014 and is one of the nation’s leading tax scholars. His research also focuses on nonprofits, energy law, and corporate governance.He is the author of How to Save the World in Six (Not So Easy) Steps: Bringing Out the Best in Nonprofits. He is a founder and co-director of the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy, a founder and co-chair of the Center for Israeli Legal Studies, and a founder and co-chair of the Charles Evans Gerber Transactional Studies Center

At 35, Schizer was the youngest dean in the Law School’s history and the longest serving dean since 1971. During his tenure as dean, Schizer recruited 43 new faculty members, doubled the school’s annual fundraising, led a $353 million capital campaign, helped the Law School navigate the financial crisis, oversaw the construction of Jerome Greene Hall’s ninth floor, significantly reduced the school’s student-faculty ratio, and forged a close relationship with Columbia Business School by introducing an accelerated J.D./MBA program and establishing the Richman Center. He launched centers and programs on national security, intellectual property, climate change, global legal transformation, Israeli law, and other cutting edge issues; fostered innovation in the upper-year curriculum; and increased support for students choosing careers in government and public interest organizations. In addition, Schizer developed partnerships, known as “Global Alliances,” with the University of Oxford, the University of Amsterdam, Sciences Po, and Paris I.

Schizer has won the Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching and has served as a visiting professor at Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown. He also has taught at Tokyo University, Hebrew University, the Interdisciplinary Center in Herziliya, and Ono Academic College.

Before joining the Law School faculty in 1998, Schizer was a law clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 on the U.S. Supreme Court. Schizer began his career in the tax department of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

While on a three-year leave from the Law School from 2017 to 2019, Schizer served as executive vice president and CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a century-old international humanitarian organization. Schizer redesigned JDC’s planning process to allocate its $360 million annual budget more strategically, lightened JDC’s infrastructure, relied more on data and on other insights from the business world, increased and diversified JDC’s philanthropic support, and raised the organization’s public profile. 

Schizer serves on the boards of the Ramaz School and the Columbia Law Review, and he also has served on the boards of other nonprofits, as well as public and privately-owned companies, including 92NY, Seacor Holdings Inc. (an NYSE-listed company), Feil Properties, and the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Honors and Awards

Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Jewish Theological Seminary


Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching


Professional Experience

  • Professor, Columbia Law School, 2002–present
  • CEO, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 2017–2019
  • Dean, 2004–2014
  • Associate Professor, Columbia Law School, 1998–2001
  • Tax Attorney, Davis Polk & Wardwell, 1995–1998
  • Law Clerk, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court, 1994–1995
  • Law Clerk, Judge Alex Kozinski, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1993–1994

Activities and Affiliations

  • Charter Trustee, Ramaz School, 2018–present
  • Board of Directors, Yale Hillel, 2018–present
  • Board of Directors, Feil Properties, 2017–present
  • Board of Directors, Seacor Holdings Inc., (member of audit and nominating committees of NYSE traded company), 2014–present
  • Affiliated Faculty Member, Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, 2014–present
  • Founder and Co-Chair, Charles E. Gerber Center for Transactional Studies, Columbia Law School, 2001–2004, 2014–present
  • Founder and Co-Chair, Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy, Columbia University, 2012–present
  • Legal Advisory Council, LegalZoom, 2012–present
  • Founder and Co-Chair, Center on Israeli Legal Studies, Columbia Law School, 2007–present
  • Member, Tax Forum (same), 2002–present
  • Member, Tax Club (organization of N.Y. tax practitioners who meet monthly to discuss tax scholarship), 2000–present
  • Board of Directors, 92nd Street Y, 2014–2019
  • Fellow and Senior Advisor, Tikvah Fund, 2014–2015
  • Public Representative, NASDAQ Review Council (a mechanism for appealing disciplinary actions against NASDAQ members)
  • External Review Panel for Chicago-Kent Law School, 2012
  • External Review Panel of the ISDA Determinations Committee in the matter of CEMEX (first external review panel ever empanelled by ISDA), December 2009
  • Board of Directors, Sapphire Industrials Corp. (a publicly traded blank-check acquisition company), 2007–2010
  • Board of Directors, Q-Comm Corporation (a privately held cable company), 2007–2010
  • Board of Trustees, Natan (a nonprofit foundation that supports Jewish philanthropy), 2005–2010
  • Board of Directors, Columbia-Barnard Hillel, 2005–2010
  • Board of Trustees, Fund for the City of New York, 2005–2006
  • Milton Handler Research Fellow, Columbia Law School, Summer 2000, Summer 2002, Summer 2003
  • Co-Chair for Entry Level Candidates, Appointments Committee, Columbia Law School, 2002–2004
  • Board of Directors, Columbia Business Law Review, 2001–2004
  • Advisory Board, Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, 2000–2006
  • Chair, Clerkship Committee, Columbia Law School, 2000–2002
  • New York State Bar Association Tax Section Executive Committee, 1999–2019

Remarks and Testimony