The Jerome Lyle Rappaport Chair in Law and Public Policy was created in 2006 as part of a major gift from Phyllis and Jerry Rappaport and the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation to Suffolk University Law School. This gift also supports the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service and provides permanent funding for the Rappaport Fellows Program in Law and Public Policy.
The Rappaport Chair is intended to recognize and support exemplary scholarship in law and public policy. The holder of the chair serves as faculty advisor to the Rappaport Center and the Rappaport Fellows program, and frequently moderates policy dialogues organized by the Center. The chair also teaches a course in Law and Public Policy for students within Suffolk Law, and oversees student projects on issues relating to law and public policy.
The first holder of the Rappaport Chair is Alasdair S. Roberts. He was appointed to the Chair in 2008. Professor Roberts received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1984, a master's degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1986, and a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University in 1994. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, and an honorary research fellow of the School of Public Policy, University College London.
Professor Roberts' research is focused primarily on the politics of governmental reform, as well as problems in governmental transparency. His 2006 book, Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age, received the Louis Brownlow Book Award from the National Academy of Public Administration and three other book awards.
His 2008 book, Collapse of Fortress Bush: The Crisis of Authority in American Government, examined the Bush administration's reaction to the 9/11 crisis, while his 2010 book, The Logic of Discipline: Global Capitalism and the Architecture of Government, looked at the ways in which economic liberalization has changed our thinking about the role of government.
Professor Roberts has also published many journal and magazine articles. He is co-editor of the journal Governance and serves on the editorial boards of several other journals in the field of public administration and public policy.