Agnieszka Fryszman is a Partner at Cohen Milstein, and is Chair of the firm’s Human Rights practice group. She has been recognized as leading one of the best private international human rights practices in the world.
Ms. Fryszman represents individuals who have been victims of torture, human trafficking, forced and slave labor and other violations of international law. A recognized expert and leader in the field of human rights law, Ms. Fryszman regularly litigates cases against corporate giants. She was a member of the legal team that successfully represented survivors of Nazi-era forced and slave labor against the German and Austrian companies that allegedly profited from their labor. These cases were resolved by international negotiations that resulted in multi-billion dollar settlements. She also represented, pro bono, Holocaust survivors suing Swiss banks that collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War II. This litigation led academics to revise their assessment of Switzerland’s relationship with Nazi Germany and exposed the extent of business participation in the Holocaust.
Ms. Fryszman earned the National Law Journal Pro Bono Award for efforts on behalf of Nepali laborers injured or killed at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her team obtained several judgments and significant settlements on behalf of the families.
In addition, she currently represents victims of a human trafficking ring that allegedly lured men from Nepal with the promise of employment at luxury hotels, but instead took them against their will to work for U.S. military contractors in Iraq. Ms. Fryszman investigated and initiated suit against military contractor KBR, filing one of the first complaints under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. She has also represented men and women who were trafficked by diplomats, in the fishing industry, and to work cleaning houses in Northern Virginia. In one recent case, after Ms. Fryszman obtained a full recovery for her client in a civil suit, the Department of Justice brought criminal charges, resulting in guilty pleas by the perpetrators. Her work on behalf of the former “comfort women,” women and girls trafficked into sexual slavery by the government of Japan during World War II, was recognized with the “Fierce Sister” award from the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
Ms. Fryszman represented, pro bono, victims of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon and obtained one of the highest awards for an injured survivor from the Victim’s Compensation Fund. Ms. Fryszman also represented, pro bono, two individuals detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay who were ultimately cleared without charge.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein in 1998, Ms. Fryszman served as counsel to the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, and before that counsel to Representative Henry Waxman, Ranking Member on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Earlier in her career, she was legislative director to U.S. Representative Jack Reed.
Ms. Fryszman has received some of the legal profession’s highest honors. Since 2009, LawDragon 500 has named her perennially to its list of Leading Lawyers in America. Benchmark Plaintiff has named her a Leading Star Plaintiffs’ Litigator and one of the Top 150 Women in Litigation. For her pro bono work, she was awarded the Beacon of Justice Award by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and the Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights. She was also a finalist for the Public Justice Foundation's Trial Lawyer of the Year Award for her work on Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell. Ms. Fryszman joined the legal team in that case to prepare it for trial, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement on the morning of jury selection.
Ms. Fryszman graduated from Brown University with an A.B. in International Relations, and earned her law degree from Georgetown University, graduating magna cum laude, Order of the Coif. At law school, she was a Public Interest Law Scholar.
- Counsel, Representative Henry Waxman, Ranking Member, House Government Reform & Oversight Committee, 1997-1998
- Counsel, Subcommittee on Commericial & Administrative Law, U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on the Judiciary, 1995-1997
- Legislative Director, U.S. Representative (now Senator) Jack Reed, 1991-1995