Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.

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Frederick August Otto Schwarz Jr.
Born April 20, 1935
New York City
Occupation Lawyer
Employer Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Brennan Center for Justice
Spouse(s) Marian
Children Eric, Adair, Eliza

Frederick August Otto "Fritz" Schwarz Jr. is an American lawyer born in New York City.[1]

Family and early life[edit]

Schwarz is the great-grandson of Frederick August Otto Schwarz, the founder of the Fifth Avenue toy store, F.A.O. Schwarz. His family sold majority interest in the toy store in 1963.[2]

He graduated from Harvard University in 1957 and received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1960. In 1960, he organized picketing at a Woolworth store in sympathy with black demonstrators in Greensboro, N.C.

He married Marian in 1959. She has served as New York city's Coordinator of Youth Services. They have three children, Eric, a reporter for The Patriot-Ledger in Quincy, MA; Adair and Eliza.


In 1960 he worked as a law clerk for Chief Judge J. Edward Lumbard, Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals. In 1961 he went to Nigeria helping organize the laws of the newly independent country. His experiences were the basis of his 1966 book, Nigeria: The Tribes, The Nation or the Race.

In 1963 he joined Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP becoming a partner in 1969.[3] In 1975-76, he was chief counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Intelligence, known as the Church Committee. This work among other things, uncovered Central Intelligence Agency plots against foreign leaders and other illegal activities of American intelligence agencies at home and abroad.

The Senate committee work led to a post as an unpaid consultant to Vice President Walter F. Mondale. In 1977 he was named by President Jimmy Carter to a committee that helped select William H. Webster as the new Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Schwarz became NYC Corporation Counsel and head of the Law Department of the City of New York in 1982. "At the time, his law firm, which takes on considerable public-interest litigation, was suing the Federal Census Bureau on the city's behalf, challenging a loss of aid based on undercounted minorities."(NYT)

In his City Hall tenure, he defended victims of bias against homosexuals and minority hiring programs, advocated inclusion of AIDS victims in city classrooms, pressed the Reagan Administration to account for illegal cuts in disability benefits for New Yorkers and, amid scandals, helped reshape ethics and lobbying laws.(NYT) He served as Corporation Counsel for four years, on leave from his law firm.

Schwarz retired from Cravath at the end of 2001, and was named Senior Counsel in 2002. He is also currently Chief Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.[3] On April 30, 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Ridenhour Courage Prize by The Nation Institute, which cited his life-long pursuit of just and accountable government, including "his call for a full, wide, and no-holds-barred investigation of the abuses by the NSA and other intelligence agencies."[4]


  1. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (April 25, 1989). "Man in the News". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-12. Frederick August Otto Schwarz, Jr. was born in New York City on April 20, 1935. He is the great-grandson of the founder ... 
  2. ^ "FAO Schwarz - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on FAO Schwarz". 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Ridenhour website. viewed 2004-05-02  Check date values in: |date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)