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A responsive, client-centric approach

We don’t sit on the sidelines. We work closely with our clients to understand their business and build long-term relationships in pursuit of their goals. We’re known for being highly responsive and for providing exceptional legal guidance. When unique or complex challenges arise, we draw on the strengths of our colleagues to find innovative solutions. Collaboration is central to our pragmatic, business-oriented approach, and our clients benefit from decades of experience across a range of specialized practices. We value people for who they are and the unique insights and perspectives they bring to our work. 

Fried Frank was founded by German-Jewish lawyers who faced discrimination at a time when few established law firms would employ them, and we continue to foster the welcoming, inclusive culture that sets us apart. That’s why we say there are no typical Fried Frank lawyers. Instead, we are a collection of individuals working together to achieve success for our clients.

Our history

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    Headshot of Walter Fried

    1890s and early 20th century

    A group of German-Jewish lawyers in New York begin practicing together at a time when few top firms would employ Jewish lawyers. Charles Riegelman is the lead partner and the firm changes its name from Riegelman, Hess, Strasser & Hirsch to Riegelman & Bach. In the late 1920s and 1930s, Walter Fried (pictured), Arthur Strasser, and Leslie Jacobson join the firm, which is renamed Riegelman, Hess & Strasser. By 1939, the firm has seven partners.

    A group of German-Jewish lawyers in New York begin practicing together at a time when few top firms would employ Jewish lawyers. Charles Riegelman is the lead partner and the firm changes its name from Riegelman, Hess, Strasser & Hirsch to Riegelman & Bach. In the late 1920s and 1930s, Walter Fried (pictured), Arthur Strasser, and Leslie Jacobson join the firm, which is renamed Riegelman, Hess & Strasser. By 1939, the firm has seven partners.

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    Headshot of Hans Frank

    1940s: Postwar expansion

    During and after World War II, several exceptional individuals lead a period of growth and innovation, including Hans J. Frank (pictured), whose practice focuses on international taxation; George Spiegelberg, a well-known litigator who was on General Eisenhower’s staff; and Sam Harris, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials who represents the financier Joseph Hirshhorn. After Walter Fried’s return from Army service, his real estate practice significantly increases the firm’s billing and by 1949, Riegelman, Strasser, Schwartz & Spiegelberg has 12 partners.

    During and after World War II, several exceptional individuals lead a period of growth and innovation, including Hans J. Frank (pictured), whose practice focuses on international taxation; George Spiegelberg, a well-known litigator who was on General Eisenhower’s staff; and Sam Harris, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials who represents the financier Joseph Hirshhorn. After Walter Fried’s return from Army service, his real estate practice significantly increases the firm’s billing and by 1949, Riegelman, Strasser, Schwartz & Spiegelberg has 12 partners.

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    1950s: Washington, DC and Native American rights

    The firm opens a Washington, DC, office in 1949. Led by Felix Cohen, the leading expert on Indian law, the firm pursues important pro bono cases that establish the right to vote and to receive Social Security benefits for Native Americans in states which had denied them these rights. In a lengthy and well-known pro bono effort, George Spiegelberg wins the reversal of a treason conviction for John David Provoo, an Army staff sergeant. By 1959 the firm has 16 partners and 18 associates.

    The firm opens a Washington, DC, office in 1949. Led by Felix Cohen, the leading expert on Indian law, the firm pursues important pro bono cases that establish the right to vote and to receive Social Security benefits for Native Americans in states which had denied them these rights. In a lengthy and well-known pro bono effort, George Spiegelberg wins the reversal of a treason conviction for John David Provoo, an Army staff sergeant. By 1959 the firm has 16 partners and 18 associates.

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    Headshot of Sam Harris

    1960s: A growing Wall Street practice

    In the 1960s, Sam Harris (pictured) handles a number of substantial underwriting deals that become the foundation of the firm’s Wall Street practice. He also helps recruit other Jewish lawyers who are excluded from most of the nation’s top law firms. In the same era, Arthur Fleischer, Jr., joins from the SEC and becomes a leading securities lawyer.

    In the 1960s, Sam Harris (pictured) handles a number of substantial underwriting deals that become the foundation of the firm’s Wall Street practice. He also helps recruit other Jewish lawyers who are excluded from most of the nation’s top law firms. In the same era, Arthur Fleischer, Jr., joins from the SEC and becomes a leading securities lawyer.

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    Headshot of Sargent Shriver

    1970s: Helping to build the Great Society

    In the early 1970s, Sargent Shriver (pictured) joins the firm, which is renamed Fried Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. He had helped to establish the Peace Corps, Job Corps, Head Start, VISTA, Upward Bound, and other programs launched as part of the War on Poverty. The firm opens a London office in 1971, one of the first European offices for a US law firm. There are 44 partners and 63 associates, more than double the number of lawyers of the previous decade.

    In the early 1970s, Sargent Shriver (pictured) joins the firm, which is renamed Fried Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. He had helped to establish the Peace Corps, Job Corps, Head Start, VISTA, Upward Bound, and other programs launched as part of the War on Poverty. The firm opens a London office in 1971, one of the first European offices for a US law firm. There are 44 partners and 63 associates, more than double the number of lawyers of the previous decade.

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    1980s: Expansion and “merger mania”

    During the 1980s bull market, Arthur Fleischer, Jr., leads a team of lawyers in building a strong mergers and acquisitions practice, expanding the firm and establishing its premier reputation for transactional business. Fried Frank becomes the go-to M&A firm, advising on 87 transactions in 1985, compared with only five a decade earlier. The following year, Fried Frank works on one-third of all M&A transactions larger than $1 billion, and in the late 80s, the firm grows to 93 partners and 325 associates.

    During the 1980s bull market, Arthur Fleischer, Jr., leads a team of lawyers in building a strong mergers and acquisitions practice, expanding the firm and establishing its premier reputation for transactional business. Fried Frank becomes the go-to M&A firm, advising on 87 transactions in 1985, compared with only five a decade earlier. The following year, Fried Frank works on one-third of all M&A transactions larger than $1 billion, and in the late 80s, the firm grows to 93 partners and 325 associates.

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    1990s–2000s: A broadly diversified firm

    The firm broadens its focus to include antitrust, bankruptcy and restructuring, benefits and compensation, environmental, intellectual property, real estate, tax, and trust and estate work. The bankruptcy practice alone advises on more than 100 engagements in the 1990s and early 2000s. The real estate practice represents major clients including Tishman Speyer, Berkshire Hathaway, and Condé Nast, while the private equity practice gains prominence with clients like Forstmann Little & Co., AEA Investors Inc., and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs, advising on Republic Services' $1.5 billion initial public offering. The firm is also active in capital markets work, representing both issuers and underwriters. By 2005, the firm has five offices with 550 attorneys.

    The firm broadens its focus to include antitrust, bankruptcy and restructuring, benefits and compensation, environmental, intellectual property, real estate, tax, and trust and estate work. The bankruptcy practice alone advises on more than 100 engagements in the 1990s and early 2000s. The real estate practice represents major clients including Tishman Speyer, Berkshire Hathaway, and Condé Nast, while the private equity practice gains prominence with clients like Forstmann Little & Co., AEA Investors Inc., and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs, advising on Republic Services' $1.5 billion initial public offering. The firm is also active in capital markets work, representing both issuers and underwriters. By 2005, the firm has five offices with 550 attorneys.

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    21st century: Commercial advice that gets things done

    The firm advises BellSouth Corporation on the largest all-cash transaction in US history, the Cingular Wireless $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless Services. Combining the skills of its corporate, real estate, and tax practices, the firm handles complex transactions for substantial clients like Rouse, GS Capital Partners, Brascan Corporation, Kimco Realty Corporation, and Goldman Sachs. In early 2022, Fried Frank opened an office in Brussels. The move positions the firm to continue to effectively and seamlessly counsel clients on their most complex mandates, including international competition and antitrust activity, across continental Europe by capitalizing on the firm's locations in key financial and regulatory centers in New York, Washington, DC, London, Frankfurt, and Brussels. The firm has over 650 partners and associates worldwide to advise our clients.

    The firm advises BellSouth Corporation on the largest all-cash transaction in US history, the Cingular Wireless $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless Services. Combining the skills of its corporate, real estate, and tax practices, the firm handles complex transactions for substantial clients like Rouse, GS Capital Partners, Brascan Corporation, Kimco Realty Corporation, and Goldman Sachs. In early 2022, Fried Frank opened an office in Brussels. The move positions the firm to continue to effectively and seamlessly counsel clients on their most complex mandates, including international competition and antitrust activity, across continental Europe by capitalizing on the firm's locations in key financial and regulatory centers in New York, Washington, DC, London, Frankfurt, and Brussels. The firm has over 650 partners and associates worldwide to advise our clients.