Emma Freudenberger / Partner

Over the past ten years, Emma has won major verdicts and settlements for civil rights plaintiffs around the country. For example, in 2017 she negotiated an unprecedented $14 million settlement against the State of Missouri and City of St. Louis after proving egregious misconduct at the St. Louis Police Department’s crime laboratory. That same year, Emma obtained the three highest wrongful conviction settlements against the City of New York. Emma’s successes at trial speak for themselves—with Nick Brustin in 2014 she won the largest wrongful conviction jury verdict in U.S. history on behalf of Jeffrey Deskovic, who served more than 16 years in prison for the rape and murder of a high school classmate he didn’t commit. In October 2011, she won the first ever jury award in New Jersey for Section 1983 loss-of-life damages on behalf of the family of an unarmed Native American man shot and killed by New Jersey Parks Police. And in 2009, Emma won back-to-back trials in two separate wrongful conviction cases, obtaining a difficult-to-prove Monell verdict against the City of Houston for egregious systemic failures at its crime lab (with Barry Scheck and co-counsel at Susman Godfrey LLP), followed by one of the highest damages settlements per-year under New York’s Unjust Imprisonment Act.

Emma has lectured about litigating civil wrongful conviction cases at various institutions including Columbia Law School, Yale Law School, and as a guest lecturer at Cardozo Law School. Since 2001, Emma has worked on behalf of individuals impacted by law enforcement, including helping acquit a man charged with murder as a legal intern with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and working to implement sentencing and policing reforms at the Vera Institute of Justice and the Committee for the Administration of Justice in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

  • Columbia University School of Law, J.D.
    • Editor-in-Chief, A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual
    • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
    • Valentin J.T. Wertheimer Prize (for labor and employment law)
  • Wesleyan University, B.A., with honors
Selected Recent Honors & Awards
  • New York Super Lawyers “Rising Star” (multiple years)
  • Mentor-in-Residence, Yale Law School (2013)
  • New York State Bar Association 2007 Law Student Legal Ethics Award
  • A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, Editor-In-Chief (7th ed. 2007)
  • Linking Mobilization to Institutional Power: The Faculty-Led Diversity Initiative at Columbia (with Susan P. Sturm, Jean E. Howard, and Eddie Jauregui) in Doing Diversity in Higher Education, Rutgers University Press, Mary Hartman, Cheryl Wall and Winnifred Brown-Glaude, eds. 2008

Phone: (212) 965-9081
Fax: (212) 965-9084

Hon. Virginia A. Long, Supreme Court of New Jersey (death penalty clerk)
New York
E.D.N.Y., S.D.N.Y., W.D.N.Y, E.D. Mich.
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th Circuits

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