DAVID H. HOFFMAN is a former Inspector General, federal prosecutor, and Supreme Court clerk. He has tried over a dozen federal jury cases, argued and briefed multiple appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals, directed hundreds of investigations, and advised numerous public and private entities on ethics and compliance matters. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, internal investigations, and corporate counseling.
Litigation: Mr. Hoffman is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer, having tried 14 federal jury trials, most as first chair, and acted as lead counsel in over 100 evidentiary hearings and other contested proceedings. His recent representations in private practice for large publicly-traded companies have ranged from intellectual property litigation to commodities fraud litigation to False Claims Act matters. For instance, he recently served as co-lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a Fortune 50 company in a computer software trade secret case involving eleven claimed trade secrets and the company’s hiring of one of the plaintiff’s employees. Shortly before the scheduled trial, summary judgment was granted for the company on all claims.
Internal investigations: Mr. Hoffman has conducted and directed hundreds of internal investigations, many of which involved serious allegations of fraud and corruption, most under intense media scrutiny. His investigative experience in the public and private sectors has ranged from long-term, multi-national federal criminal investigations involving large teams of investigators and many wiretaps, to internal investigations involving senior corporate and political officials, lower-level employees, corporate entities, and others. His understanding of compliance, audit, and internal control issues gives him additional depth in conducting investigations involving fraud or financial improprieties. He is experienced in understanding the causes of corrupt behavior within institutions, and teaches Public Corruption and the Law at the University of Chicago Law School. Among other recent internal investigations, he has led investigations for a Fortune 50 company and for the Audit Committee of an Australian public company relating to bribery and other corruption allegations against company executives and employees, public officials, and third-party vendors.
Compliance, governance, and ethics counseling: As Inspector General of the City of Chicago, Mr. Hoffman established, hired, and supervised an external audit team that examined internal controls and compliance procedures throughout a $7-billion-per-year, 36,000-employee entity. At Sidley, as Inspector General, and as a member of the Illinois Reform Commission, he has helped design compliance systems and procedures for a large number of entities, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to large government divisions to publicly traded companies. He is highly experienced in designing systems to deter corruption and misconduct and encourage ethical behavior. In 2011, he was appointed to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Legal Services Corporation (LSC), after helping design governance, compliance, and ethics systems and procedures for LSC as a member of the Fiscal Oversight Task Force.
Full Professional Biography: Mr. Hoffman graduated from Yale University with a B.A. cum laude in History in 1988, where he was captain of the rugby team. He subsequently served as press secretary and foreign policy legislative assistant to U.S. Senator David L. Boren (D-OK). Mr. Hoffman graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1995 with High Honors, Order of the Coif, and served as Articles Editor of the Law Review. He was a Tony Patino Fellow, received the University President’s Award for Volunteer Service, and founded the community service group Neighbors that partners with the adjacent Woodlawn community.
Mr. Hoffman served as a law clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in October Term 1996, and for Judge Dennis G. Jacobs of the U.S. Court Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1995 to 1996.
From 1998 to 2005, Mr. Hoffman served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago. Mr. Hoffman led investigations and prosecutions involving health care fraud, bank fraud, and other types of fraud, civil rights violations, organized gang conspiracies, and interstate weapons trafficking, among other matters. Mr. Hoffman tried over a dozen jury trials, most as first chair, and briefed and argued multiple appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In 2002, U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald promoted Mr. Hoffman to be a Deputy Chief to supervise a newly-created gang unit. Mr. Hoffman also served as co-head of the office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods anti-gun-violence program and was a recipient of the Justice Department’s Director’s Award. In editorials, the Chicago Tribune praised Mr. Hoffman as “an uncommonly accomplished crime-fighter” who was an “architect of strategies that have slashed this city’s murder rate” from 2002 to 2005.
From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Hoffman served as the Inspector General for the City of Chicago, following appointment by the Mayor and confirmation by the City Council. Mr. Hoffman transformed the office into a strong, independent anti-corruption agency that conducted investigations, audits, and analyses involving all operations of the City of Chicago, a $7-billion-per-year municipal corporation with 36,000 employees. Under Mr. Hoffman’s leadership, the office for the first time conducted high-level criminal investigations, including large joint investigations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Antitrust Section of DOJ, and federal Inspector General offices. He also moved the office away from being a purely investigative office, and hired a team of auditors which, for the first time, began conducting independent audits relating to compliance, efficiency, and other issues.
In 2009, while Inspector General, Mr. Hoffman was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to serve as a Commissioner on the Illinois Reform Commission, the independent body created after the arrest of Governor Blagojevich to recommend anti-corruption and ethics reforms for Illinois. The Commission issued its report in April 2009, recommending sweeping legislative changes, some of which were enacted by the state legislature.
Mr. Hoffman was a candidate for the United States Senate in 2010, placing second in the Democratic primary by a margin of 39% to 34%. Mr. Hoffman was endorsed by all the major daily newspapers in Illinois, with the Chicago Tribune calling him “an incorruptible man who tells truth to power,” and Crain’s Chicago Business praising his “independence and integrity.”
Since Spring 2010, Mr. Hoffman has been a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he teaches Public Corruption and the Law. He has been a guest lecturer at Northwestern University Law School, Notre Dame Law School, and the Department of Justice training academy.
Mr. Hoffman was appointed in 2011 to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Legal Services Corporation. From 2010 to 2011, he served as a member of the LSC’s Fiscal Oversight Task Force, which issued a report in August 2011 recommending new governance, compliance, and ethics systems and procedures for LSC.
In July 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Mr. Hoffman to serve as one of five Board members of the newly-created Chicago Infrastructure Trust, a not-for-profit entity designed to assess the wisdom and feasibility of private financing for public infrastructure projects, and to provide a vehicle for such financing when it is consistent with the public interest.
Mr. Hoffman co-chairs the Civil Rights Executive Committee of the Anti-Defamation League (Midwest Chapter), is a member of the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society’s Chicago Lawyer Chapter (Advisory Board), the Better Government Association, the John Howard Association (Advisory Board), Providence St-Mel School, and SGA Youth & Family Services.
Mr. Hoffman received the John Gardner Public Service Award in 2012 from Common Cause, the Champion of the Public Interest award in 2010 from BPI (Business and Professional People for the Public Interest), and was chosen for Crain’s 40 Under 40 in 2006.
Selected Speeches, Presentations, and News
- “Safety, Security, & Privacy After Boston,” Panel Presentation, Chicago Union League Club (May 15, 2013)
- “Redflex Outlines Bribe Probe in Chicago Contract,” Chicago Tribune (March 4, 2013)
- “Anti-Corruption Developments in the BRICS,” Panel presentation, American Bar Association’s National Institute on the FCPA (Oct. 18, 2012).
- “Post Dodd-Frank: The Rise and Focus of Commodities Enforcement,” Panel presentation, American Bar Association annual meeting, Criminal Justice Section (Aug. 3, 2012).
- “How to Get More Ethics and Less Corruption In Government,” Keynote address, Illinois City/County Management Association (June 29, 2012).
- Speech at Common Cause Good Government Awards, Chicago, IL (May 10, 2012).
- Sidley Hosts Illinois Supreme Court Forum (February 27, 2012).
- “Enforcement Trends and Their Impact on Compliance Programs,” Presentation to the National Forensic Accounting Conference, American Institute of CPA’s (Sept. 21, 2011).
- David Hoffman Moderates Investigative Journalism Panel (July 28, 2011).
- The Federal Bar Association's Second Annual Members-Only Ethics Program (May 3, 2011).
- David Hoffman to Join Sidley Austin LLP (February 15, 2011).