Rick Sawyer / Associate

As a Cochran Fellow, Rick helped partners Nick Brustin and Emma Freudenberger win NSB client Scott Lewis a stunning $9.5 million settlement from the City of New Haven before taking even a single deposition. A corrupt New Haven cop framed Mr. Lewis for a double-murder he did not commit and caused him to spend more than 19 years in prison. Rick’s contributions to the opposition to the motion to dismiss helped tip the scales in Mr. Lewis’s favor. Rick also helped partners Nick Brustin and Emma Freudenberger win NSB client Tiffany Wilson a $13 million settlement from the City of New York for the wrongful incarceration and death of her brother Sharrif Wilson. Rick’s briefing of a tricky discovery issue gave Ms. Wilson a tactical victory shortly before settlement.

Before joining NSB, Rick worked for the Second Circuit Staff Attorney’s Office, where his caseload consisted mostly of pro se civil rights appeals. In law school, as a clinical intern for the NYCLU, Rick represented a group of Nassau County detainees in their successful lawsuit to force the County to provide much-needed oversight of its jail. Rick also co-authored a comprehensive proposal for curtailing solitary confinement on Rikers Island, which, along with sustained advocacy by the New York Jails Action Coalition, led to systematic reform. Rick gained experience in all stages of civil rights litigation through internships with the ACLU, Prisoners’ Rights Project, Children’s Rights, and Urban Justice Center. As a research assistant, Rick contributed to scholarship on the foreclosure crisis’s impact on low-income homeowners and renters.

  • NYU Law School, J.D., cum laude
    • Executive Editor, Journal of Legislation and Public Policy
    • Fellow, Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program
  • Rice University, B.A., cum laude
  • Joseph M. McLaughlin, Judges of the Second Circuit (2016)
  • Henry J. Friendly, Judges of the Second Circuit (2016)
  • John Marshall Harlan, Judges of the Second Circuit (2016)
  • Henry Wade Rogers, Judges of the Second Circuit (2016)
  • Prisoner Free Exercise Claims: RFRA, RLUIPA, and the First Amendment (CLE) (June 2015)

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

Hon. Sarah Netburn, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Hon. Jenny Rivera, New York Court of Appeals
New York
S.D.N.Y., E.D.N.Y.
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 5th, and 9th Circuits
U.S. Supreme Court

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