Attorney Howard Friedman has been representing plaintiffs in civil rights litigation for over thirty years. Howard is committed to enforcing the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution by bringing cases on behalf of people who were injured as a result of illegal conduct by police officers. He has managed complex class actions on behalf of thousands of class members. Howard’s practice works to compensate people who have been injured and to change the policies or practices that caused the injury.
U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young wrote that Howard Friedman is “one of the foremost practitioners” in the police misconduct field. In another opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner (retired) said that Attorney Friedman is “an acknowledged expert in civil rights litigation.”
Howard has tried and settled many civil rights cases in state and federal courts. He was part of the “Dream Team” which won a combined verdict of $101 million for four men who were wrongfully convicted and their families. Howard has won multimillion dollar settlements for other clients who were wrongfully convicted. He obtained a $10 million settlement in a class action for women who were illegally strip searched at the Nashua Street Jail in Boston. The firm won a $3 million settlement for the family of a man who died from force used by Boston police during his arrest.
Howard frequently speaks on the subject of civil rights and police misconduct. He has recently spoken at continuing legal education seminars on drafting a civil rights complaint, witness preparation and the state wrongful conviction statute. Howard was a Givelber Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Public Interest Law at Northeastern University School of Law during the Fall quarter of 2009. He taught a course on civil rights litigation against law enforcement officers and local government entities. Howard spoke at a workshop for advocates on prisoner’s rights litigation at Yale Law School in March 2010. He was invited to speak at a hearing before the Massachusetts Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on civil rights issues in the Lawrence, Massachusetts Police Department. In 2009 Howard spoke about the constitutionality of strip searches at two continuing legal education seminars, one at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan and another at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. He also spoke on litigating wrongful conviction claims to lawyers at Suffolk University School of Law. Howard spoke on providing services to people who were convicted and later exonerated at the Innocence Network Conference at Harvard Law School in March 2007, and he spoke to lawyers and judges about the qualified immunity defense at the 2007 U.S. District Court of Massachusetts Judicial Conference.
Howard has lectured to police groups including the Boston Police Academy, FBI National Academy Associates of New England, and International Association of Chiefs of Police. He also spoke at the International Criminal Justice Expo & Conference. He has trained lawyers in civil rights law at continuing legal education seminars for various groups including the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, Massachusetts Bar Association, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Maine Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the National Lawyers Guild. He has been a speaker at events at many law schools including Boston University School of Law, George Washington University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard Law School, Northeastern University School of Law, Suffolk University School of Law, University of Washington Law School, Vermont Law School, and Yale Law School.
Howard is active in community groups concerned with civil rights. Howard was the President of the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild from 2003 to 2010. He has also participated in the Police Practices Coalition in Boston, the Greater Boston Civil Rights Coalition, and the ACLU of Massachusetts. He served on the police committee of Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger's Civil Rights Task Force. In 2013, he joined the board of the Human Rights Defense Center, the parent organization of Prison Legal News.
Howard has also written articles for lawyers on civil rights litigation. He is the author of a chapter on intentional torts for “ATLA's Litigating Tort Cases,” published by Thomson West.
Howard is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the Supreme Court of Illinois (inactive status). He received his J.D. from Northeastern University Law School in 1977 and a B.A. from Goddard College in 1974.
Howard was selected as a Massachusetts “super lawyer” in each Massachusetts Super Lawyers poll published in Boston Magazine since 2004. Only 5% of lawyers in Massachusetts are selected as a “Super Lawyer” based on a poll of practicing lawyers. Howard was also selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2010-2016 in the field of civil rights law and is listed in Boston's Best Lawyers®. He was selected as Best Lawyers in New England 2013 in the area of civil rights law. Howard was Best Lawyers’ 2014 Boston Civil Rights Law “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of civil rights law. Howard is rated "AV Preeminent" by Martindale-Hubbell.