Emma Friedman | Attorney at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP

Emma Freeman


Emma Freeman is an experienced advocate whose broad litigation practice encompasses civil rights, class action, and commercial matters in federal and state court as well as various state and federal agencies. Her tailored, client-focused approach includes pre-suit investigation and negotiation as well as litigation aimed at obtaining both damages and injunctive relief from discriminatory or unlawful policies.

Ms. Freeman has represented individuals and organizations in diverse matters relating to sexual abuse and assault; discrimination against and the wrongful death of persons with disabilities; misconduct and excessive force by police and correctional officers; children’s and students’ rights; housing and employment discrimination; wrongful convictions; and constitutional questions at both the trial and appellate level. These matters have achieved groundbreaking outcomes from reforming the New York Police Department’s and Yonkers Police Department’s discriminatory policies requiring arrestees to remove religious head coverings for mug shots to enabling a woman-led sexual wellness company to advertise on New York City subways. Ms. Freeman has particular experience with #MeToo and Child Victims Act abuse, First Amendment religious free exercise, and school district liability under the IDEA and Title VI.

Ms. Freeman has also litigated a wide array of commercial matters involving real estate, tort, and contract disputes; federal government loan recovery; the New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law and Religious Corporations Law; Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation; and partnership and severance negotiations.

Ms. Freeman was named a “Rising Star” in 2021.

Ms. Freeman joined the Firm in 2017 following clerkships for the Hon. Raymond J. Lohier, Jr. of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the Hon. Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts, and the Hon. Barbara A. Lenk of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. She previously worked with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Public Policy Litigation and Law Department, the ACLU of Massachusetts, and a nationally-recognized police misconduct firm in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ms. Freeman received her B.A. from Yale University and graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, as Co-President of the Harvard Society for the Separation of Church and State, and as Vice-President of the Board of Student Advisers. Ms. Freeman’s team won the Ames Moot Court Competition, and she received the George S. Leisure Award for Best Oralist.

Representative Cases:

  • Secured a favorable injunctive settlement in class action challenging the New York City Police Department’s policy requiring the removal of all religious head coverings for mug shots. Clark, et al. v. City of New York, No. 18-cv-02334 (S.D.N.Y.).  
  • Secured a favorable settlement, including monetary and injunctive relief, on behalf of fair housing organization Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. and Jennifer Serrano, a Westchester County resident who experienced family status discrimination when attempting to purchase a co-op.  Serrano, et al. v. Mamaroneck Gardens, et al., No. 17-cv-02111 (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Secured favorable confidential settlement against foster care agency on behalf of minor children who were sexually and physically abused by their foster father.  J.A. v. SCO Family of Services, No. 16-cv-5269 (E.D.N.Y); J.M. v. SCO Family of Services, No. 17-cv-306 (E.D.N.Y.).
  • Secured a favorable confidential, pre-litigation settlement on behalf of an employee alleging pregnancy and gender discrimination with respect to her treatment by a well-known New York company.
  • Secured $625,000 settlement on behalf of Jazmine Headley who was assaulted along with her young son by NYPD and New York Human Resources Administration (HRA) officers in 2018, leading to the passage of various remedial City Council bills.  Headley v. City of New York, et al., No. 19-cv-04543 (E.D.N.Y).
  • Secured a favorable settlement, including historically high damages and policy reform, on behalf of Ihsan Malkawi, a Muslim-American woman forced to remove her hijab for a Yonkers Police Department mug shot. Malkawi v. City of Yonkers, No. 7:20-cv-02893 (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Currently represent young woman who alleges that Hollywood director Paul Haggis raped and sexually assaulted her. Breest v. Haggis, Index No. 161137/2017 (New York Supreme Court).
  • Currently represent class of incarcerated individuals who were wrongfully punished after receiving false positive drug tests. Steele-Warrick v. Microgenics Corp., et al., No. 19 Civ. 06558 (E.D.N.Y.).
  • Currently represent Lynda Cutbill and Susan Rule Sandler in Child Victims Act cases against Cold Spring Harbor High School School District and Board of Education for failing to protect them against sexual abuse by two teachers the School knew to be predators of children. Cutbill v. Cold Spring Harbor, No. 21 Civ. 3326 (E.D.N.Y.); Sandler v. Cold Spring Harbor, 21 Civ. 3327 (E.D.N.Y.).
  • Currently represent students who endured severe racial bullying in Title VI lawsuit against the Mamaroneck  Union Free School District. A.A., et al., v. Mamaroneck Union Free School District, et al., 7:20-cv-03849 (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Currently represent parents and estate of thirteen-year old child who committed suicide due to the negligence of the Bedford Central School District.  Doe v. Bedford Central School District, et al., No. 18-cv-11797 (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Currently represent incarcerated client who was waterboarded and brutally beaten by correction officers at Auburn Correctional Facility.  Raymond v. Mitchell, et al., No. 18-cv-01467 (N.D.N.Y.).
  • Currently represent an imprisoned and wrongfully convicted client seeking a new trial arising from a murder that occurred in the 1990s in Tonawanda, New York.
  • Represented Amica Curiae Sarah P. Chayes, an internationally-renowned scholar of kleptocratic regimes, in multiple ongoing lawsuits alleging violations of the Emoluments Clause by President Donald J. Trump. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Trump, No. 1:17-cv-00458 (S.D.N.Y.); The District of Columbia, et al. v. Trump, No. 17-cv-01596 (D. Md.).


Giving Casey Its Bite Back: The Role of Rational Basis Review in Undue Burden Analysis,” 48 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 279 (Spring 2013)

“In Defense of Danger Assessment,” Domestic Violence Report, Vol. 17 No. 3, February 2012

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Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2013

Board Member, Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review
Vice-President, Board of Student Advisors
George S. Leisure Award for Best Oralist

Yale University, B.A., 2009


U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
New York


2020-2021 Co-chair of the Subcommittee on Qualified Immunity and Police Reform of the New York City Bar Association Federal Courts Committee


“Super Lawyers” Rising Star (2021)