Professor Daniel C. Richman to Receive University's Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching

Richman, a Former Federal Prosecutor, Is Known for Bridging Theory and Practice and For His Open-Door Policy With Students

New York, May 18, 2015—Columbia Law School Professor Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor who serves on the advisory board of the Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, will receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching from Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger ’71 at the university’s commencement ceremony on May 20.

Professor Daniel C. Richman
Richman, the Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law, was one of five professors selected to receive the prestigious award from across the university community. He is a leading expert on criminal procedure, evidence, and federal criminal law.
“Dan Richman is a worthy recipient of the Presidential Teaching Award,” Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, wrote in a letter supporting Richman’s nomination. “He exudes enthusiasm and humor to engage students and motivate learning, and he prepares students to plan for their futures from the moment they walk through his classroom doors.”
Richman plays an active role in directing the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity’s activities. In February, he participated in a panel discussion the center held on the criminal corruption case against former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
In the classroom, Richman bridges the gap between theory and practice. He invites judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys into his Evidence, Sentencing, Criminal Adjudication, and Federal Criminal Law classes so students can hear directly from the people on the front lines of the justice system. In 2010, he helped launch the Law School’s Domestic Violence Prosecution Externship, in which students act as Queens County assistant district attorneys handling misdemeanor cases through trial.
Richman also is known as a mentor and confidante. His door is always open, and, according to the letters submitted in support of his nomination, students don’t hesitate to walk through it. In particular, Richman is revered for the efforts he undertakes to assist students in securing judicial clerkships.
Elizabeth R. Cruikshank '15 said Richman has been a "sounding board" for her on all manner of decisions she has faced so far in her legal career.
"I can't count the number of people who have told me they rely on Professor Richman both inside and outside the classroom," Cruikshank wrote in her letter. "And yet despite the sheer number of students who consult him and seek his help, none of those relationships ever feels routine or perfunctory."
Jennifer B. Sokoler '10, a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, agreed.
"Professor Richman's dynamism behind the lectern is matched only by the approachability and warmth with which he greets each student outside of the classroom," she wrote, adding that Richman first helped her in her note-writing process. "Since I went to Professor Richman's office for note advice more than seven years ago, he has served as one of my most trusted advisors at every important stage of my career."
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch ’75, also a Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law, co-teaches Federal Criminal Law with Richman. He said Richman “radiates interest in the subject and in his students.”
“His respect for the students, and his warmth and humor, keep the class lively and light-hearted, while still engaging the students in challenging and difficult discussions of important issues,” Lynch wrote in his letter.
A former chief appellate attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Richman also has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice, testified before a Senate subcommittee on Miranda warnings, and offered expert testimony in various state, federal, and international criminal and civil matters. In 2004, Mayor Bloomberg appointed Professor Richman as chairman of the Local Conditional Release Commission, and he is credited with restoring integrity and order to that office.
Established in 1996, the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching honor the best of Columbia University’s teachers for the influence they have on the development of their students and their part in maintaining Columbia’s longstanding reputation for educational excellence.
Richman is the seventh Columbia Law School professor to receive the Presidential Teaching Award in the program’s 18-year history. Past recipients are Professors Philip M. Genty, Carol B. Liebman (2012), Susan Sturm (2007), Carol Sanger (2001), Robert Ferguson (1998), and  Lynch (1997).