Robert Freedman’s clients depend on the deep knowledge and compassion he brings to his trusts and estates practice. Robert concentrates his practice on elder law and special needs planning. He has extensive experience in addressing the legal and financial issues of the elderly, and focuses much of his work on elderly clients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS and other debilitating illnesses.

Planning for family members with special needs is also an important part of Robert’s practice. Beyond the intricacies of the legal issues that arise, he appreciates and understands the daunting circumstances these clients face. Robert is nationally recognized for advising clients on planning for family members with disabilities, especially Autism and other developmental disabilities, mental illness and physical disabilities.

Robert and his team also provide other services, including advising and applying for government benefits, assisting in nursing home admissions and obtaining homecare services for the elderly, and in obtaining programs and residential placements for individuals with disabilities.

Robert brings more than 35 years of experience to his work for Schiff Hardin clients. He is a founder of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and was elected as one of its first fellows. He was also one of the creators of the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and served as its Chair.

Previous Experience

Prior to joining Schiff Hardin, Robert was a partner at Mazur Carp & Rubin in New York. In July 2013, Mazur Carp & Rubin combined with Schiff Hardin. In 1985, Robert founded the Elder Law firm Freedman and Fish, which was one of the preeminent firms in the field of Elder Law for 23 years.

Robert began working in Elder Law as a law student and then as a staff attorney at the Institute on Law and Rights of Older Adults of the Brookdale Center on Aging in 1978. He was a staff attorney at Legal Services for the Elderly until he left to assist in starting the Bet Tzedek Legal Clinic at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, which provides legal services to indigent elderly and disabled clients.
  • Experience

    • Represented a couple with a 50-year-old disabled son who had $600,000 in accounts in his name funded by his parents when he was a child. Qualified the son for Medicaid, which was required for placement in the best community residence. Prepared an estate plan for the parents that provided for them for the rest of their lives, and for their disabled son and other children. The planning documents were drafted so as not to jeopardize their son’s government benefits, ensuring he would be cared for even after their deaths.
    • Advised and assisted a client whose husband was being admitted to a nursing home for long-term care. Qualified the husband for Medicaid, thereby protecting their home, retirement accounts, and her income and assets.  She was able to preserve their assets for future generations, rather than spending it during her lifetime on her husband’s long-term care.
    • Counseled a client with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease on long-term care planning. Advised him of his options for his care, including nursing home and home care. Guided him about the planning options that would allow him to preserve his assets for the rest of his life, and protect his assets in case he needed to go into a nursing home. The planning also provided for distribution of his assets upon his death, giving him comfort in knowing that his wishes would be respected and carried out.
    • Drafted a prenuptial agreement for a client who wanted to protect her assets for the benefit of her disabled sibling. Worked with her matrimonial attorney and her financial advisers to be sure that the team protected her assets in the best way possible.
    • Advised a bank regarding whether, and how, to make distributions from a Supplemental Needs Trust for a disabled beneficiary without jeopardizing the beneficiary’s eligibility for Medicaid and for a New York State benefit that was paying for her day program and job placement assistance.
    • Developed and implemented a planning strategy for a 35-year-old client with multiple sclerosis to meet her medical and financial needs as the disease progressed.
  • Credentials


    • New York University School of Law, J.D., 1980
      Fiorello LaGuardia Award for Distinction in Urban Law
    • Tufts University, B.A., 1976

    Bar Admissions

    • New York
      • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
      • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

          Professional Memberships

          • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc., Founder, Fellow
          • New York State Bar Association, Elder Law Section, Founder, Past Chair Executive Committee; Trusts and Estates Section, Executive Committee
        • Insights

          News Release

          2020 Best Lawyers in America Lists Recognizes 63 Attorneys, Three “Lawyers of the Year”

          Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 63 attorneys have been included in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, with three attorneys also being named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

          News Release

          Thirteen Attorneys Named New York Metro Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

          Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 11 attorneys have been recognized on the 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers list and two have been named Rising Stars.

          News Release

          61 Schiff Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers in America List and Six Recognized as “Lawyer of the Year”

          Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that 61 attorneys have been included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, as well as six who were named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.


          10 Estate Planning Tips for Families with Beneficiaries with Special Needs

          If your family includes a person with special needs, here are 10 tips to get you started on the right track to developing an estate plan that works for your family.

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Attorneys Named 2017 New York Metro Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

          Thirteen Schiff Hardin attorneys have been named 2017 New York Metro Super Lawyers and two have been named Rising Stars.

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 The Best Lawyers in America

          Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that five attorneys have been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.

          News Release

          Fourteen Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 New York Metro Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

          The Super Lawyers selection methodology includes a statewide nomination process, peer review by practice area, and independent research on candidates.

          News Release

          53 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017

          Three Schiff Hardin attorneys also received the prestigious Best Lawyers’ 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” award.

          News Release

          NYSBA Awards Robert M. Freedman with Lifetime Achievement Award

          The New York Bar Foundation’s Committee of the Section on Elder Law and Special Needs honored partner Robert M. Freedman with its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.

          Speeches & Presentations

          Robert is a frequent presenter to consumer and professional groups involving the elderly and persons with disabilities. Recent presentations include:

          • “Unspoken Risks to Family Preservation,” Morgan Stanley, New York, N.Y. (May 26, 2015)
          • “Drafting Prenuptial and Spousal Settlement Agreement: From Routine to Complex Issues and Clauses,” New York County Lawyers’ Association CLE Course, New York, N.Y. (Jun. 13, 2014)
          • “What Every Attorney Should Know about Elder Law and Special Needs Planning,” Hudson Valley Bank & CUNY Law School CLE Seminar, New York, N.Y. (Feb. 12, 2014)
          • “Clients with Diminished Capacity – What Attorneys Need to Know,” Annual CLE Event, UJA-Federation of New York Lawyers Division Trusts & Estates Group, New York, N.Y. (Nov. 20, 2013)
          • “Advising the Trustee of a SNT,” 2013 Fall Meeting, New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section, Albany, N.Y. (Oct. 31, 2013)
          • “Elder Law and Special Needs Planning,” 44th Annual New York Estate, Tax & Financial Planning Conference, New York, N.Y. (Oct. 9, 2013)
        • Citizenship

          Civic and Charitable Memberships

          • Alzheimer’s Association, Board of Directors emeritus
          • Arthritis Foundation, Planned Giving Committee
          • Calvary Hospice Services, Professional Advisory Committee
          • Carter Burden Center on Aging, Board of Directors