Justice Richman was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended Saint Ignatius High School, the University of San Francisco, and its School of Law. He received his J.D in 1965, graduating first in the class, and was president of the McAuliffe Law Honor Society.
Following law school Justice Richman clerked for the Honorable Raymond L. Sullivan on the First District Court of Appeal, and then served a year as Assistant Professor at Gonzaga University School of Law. In June 1967, he joined the law firm now known as Cooley Godward LLP, where he became a partner in 1972, and where he practiced law until appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court in 1996. Justice Richman served on the Superior Court for nine years, in both criminal and civil assignments, the last seven years in the law and motion department. He was appointed to the Court of Appeal in February 2006.
Justice Richman's practice at Cooley Godward was general commercial litigation, with emphasis on probate and trust litigation, primarily for charitable or non-profit institutions. His clients included the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, and Guide Dogs for the Blind; he also represented the University of San Francisco and the Pacific School of Religion. Justice Richman also handled insurance coverage and related issues for business clients of the firm, and was the lead attorney on over 40 cases in the California and federal appellate courts.
From 1972 to 1997, Justice Richman taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where he taught Evidence, Torts, and Civil Procedure Before Trial; he also served on the faculty in 2000 as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. He has also taught at numerous legal education programs, teaching both lawyers and judges. Before his appointment to the court, Justice Richman was involved in many bar associations and legal professional societies, and is currently a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the Earl Warren American Inn of Court.
Justice Richman's community involvement included many years with the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club, where he served on the Board of Directors from 1984, including terms as President (1994) and Chairman (1995). He was an original member of the Steering Committee of Loaves and Fishes, a Berkeley-based organization which provides meals, clothing and other necessities for the homeless, and also acts as a shelter.
Justice Richman and his wife, the former Janet Wilhelm, have three adult children and seven grandchildren.