Robert A. Friedman



Robert Friedman is an experienced international lawyer and former official with the U.S. Department of State.

Mr. Friedman helps clients address a range of complex legal, regulatory and policy issues that involve international trade and investment, government regulation of cross-border transactions, and compliance with U.S. laws based on foreign policy and national security.  He advises businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, and trade associations on matters related to economic sanctions, export controls, foreign direct investment, customs laws, data privacy and cyber security, market access, anti-money laundering, and national security regulations.

Mr. Friedman leverages his extensive experience as an Executive Branch legal counselor to senior officials at the U.S. Department of State, and as a senior policy adviser to a Cabinet-level, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, to deliver practical and strategic results for clients facing a range of challenges that often entail domestic and international dimensions and may require engagement with multiple branches of government and call for global solutions.

Mr. Friedman has advised clients in diverse industries including defense, aerospace, telecommunications, finance, private equity, infrastructure, technology, and manufacturing, and he has significant experience obtaining national security-related regulatory approvals for foreign investments from interests around the world.  He regularly represents clients before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS); the Defense Security Service (DSS) in proceedings related to the mitigation of foreign ownership, control, or influence (FOCI) under national industrial security regulations, and he works with service providers and infrastructure owners in negotiating network security agreements with the Team Telecom agencies.

Mr. Friedman partners with his clients to conduct regulatory and national security-related due diligence pre-and post-acquisition, risk assessments on behalf of investors, assists in implementing CFIUS and Team Telecom mitigation, and proactively develops tailored compliance programs for businesses of all sizes.

Mr. Friedman counsels clients on export controls (ITAR and EAR), economic sanctions, foreign investment transactions, and customs laws and regulations, and represents them before the departments of State (DDTC), Treasury (OFAC and CFIUS), Commerce (BIS), Homeland Security (CBP), Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.  He leads internal investigations for clients and represents them before U.S. government agencies in connection with license requests, government inquiries, enforcement matters, and in disclosures regarding violations of OFAC regulations, the ITAR, and the EAR.

As a legal adviser at the Department of State, Mr. Friedman participated in high-stakes bilateral and multilateral negotiations in over 20 countries across five continents and handled diverse legal issues related to treaty negotiation and interpretation, U.S. and multilateral economic sanctions, trade controls, weapons of mass destruction, outer space, and cyber security.

Mr. Friedman was the lead State Department attorney in negotiations with the Cuban government on re-establishing diplomatic relations.  He served as key legal adviser on the interpretation and implementation of several international arms control and nonproliferation treaties, including developing the legal architecture to address the threats posed by chemical weapons in Syria.  Mr. Friedman was also a senior policy advisor to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations managing participation in the White House-led interagency policymaking process on a range of issues related to China, Russia, North Korea, Europe, cyber security, nonproliferation and arms control.

Prior to his executive branch service, Mr. Friedman worked as a litigator at a major national law firm, as a non-resident Fellow at the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law, a law clerk on the Senate Judiciary Committee staff of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and an Aide to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Mr. Friedman is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service’s Center for Security Studies.  He serves as a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project and on the Board of Governors of the Washington Foreign Law Society.

Mr. Friedman graduated cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center, has a Master’s in Government, with honors, from Johns Hopkins University, and received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Emory University.


Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., cum laude

Johns Hopkins University, M.A., with honors

Emory University, B.A.

Bar and Court Admissions

District of Columbia

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and District of Columbia Circuits

U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and District of Maryland



At HWG, we’re always looking for smart, talented people to add to our team.


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