In Chambers With… Judge Daniel A. Friedman


Judge FriedmanJudge Friedman began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable John Carroll Byrnes, and then to the Honorable Robert L. Karwacki. Both of these esteemed jurists had a tremendous impact on Judge Friedman’s life, and taught him invaluable lessons that he draws upon as a Judge of the Court of Special Appeals.

 Judge Byrnes, a consummate gentleman, taught him that an attorney’s overly aggressive behavior gets in the way of a just result. During his years of practice, Judge Friedman applied this lesson by calling opposing counsel at the beginning of a case and saying “if I seem like a jerk tell me, it is an accident, and we can work through our problems together.  There will be plenty of time for us to fight at the end, in front of the judge.”

 As a jurist, Judge Friedman remembers a lesson he was taught by Judge Karwacki: “a judge is a lawyer who knows a governor.” This simple and comedic statement reminds Judge Friedman not to get caught up in the trappings of his position, and to simply do his job.

 Immediately before taking the bench, Judge Friedman worked for the Office of the Attorney General as counsel to the General Assembly. During the legislative session Judge Friedman would advise the General Assembly regarding the constitutionality and application of the laws that they were passing. After the legislative session ended, he would litigate the newly passed laws to prove, hopefully, that the advice he gave was accurate.

 During his time representing the General Assembly, Judge Friedman defended re-drawn Congressional and State voting districts, which at one time even resembled members of the animal kingdom. We are all likely familiar with the most famous animal-voting district hybrid, the gerrymander, which was coined when a Massachusetts Congressional district was drawn in the shape of a salamander. Always a fan of history, Judge Friedman took on the task of defending a state legislative district that was drawn in the shape of a barking dog. Judge Friedman’s arguments on behalf of the barking dog district proved persuasive, as the Special Master found in favor of the doggymandered district, which decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals.

 When not working, Judge Friedman enjoys attending his three sons’ lacrosse, soccer and basketball games, and going to lunch with his wife Laure Ruth, the Legal Director of the Women’s Law Center.