DAVID HOFFMAN, a former Inspector General, federal prosecutor, and Supreme Court clerk, is global co-leader of Sidley’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice. 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 commercial litigation and disputes at both the trial and appellate levels, DOJ, SEC, and other government investigations, internal investigations, and work relating to data breaches and cybersecurity. David is ranked in the 2021–2023 edition of Chambers USA (2021–2023), which recommends him for Litigation: White Collar Investigations and highlights his experience in internal investigations and matters involving fraud and bribery. The 2020 edition of Chambers quotes one client as stating, “he’s very, very smart, very thoughtful and deliberate in his approach, and he handles large, multijurisdictional cases excellently.”
Litigation: David 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 in federal and state court. 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 has served as lead or co-lead trial counsel for Sidley teams that won recent litigation victories for two Fortune 50 companies. In one, he served as lead counsel for a Fortune 50 financial services and risk management company that was sued for fraud in relation to large renewable-energy-credit transactions, winning a summary judgment motion after extensive discovery but before any depositions were taken. In another, he served as co-lead counsel in the successful defense of a Fortune 50 retailer in a computer software trade secret case involving 11 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 and white collar matters: David’s white collar work focuses on internal investigations and the representation of corporations in government investigations by DOJ, the SEC, state Attorneys General, and other agencies involving allegations of corruption, fraud, False Claims Act violations, and trade secret theft. He has conducted and directed many internal investigations involving serious allegations of fraud and corruption, frequently under intense media scrutiny, and he has experience working closely with crisis communications firms. His investigative experience in the public and private sectors has ranged from long-term, multinational 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 as a former Inspector General gives him additional depth in handling investigative matters involving fraud or financial improprieties. He is especially experienced in corruption and bribery issues, and has taught Public Corruption and the Law at the University of Chicago Law School for the past five years. Among other recent internal investigations, he has led investigations for two Fortune 50 companies, one Fortune 500 company, a prominent family investment fund, and the Audit Committee of an Australian public company on topics including fraud, embezzlement, bribery and other corruption allegations against company executives and employees, public officials, and third-party vendors. In November 2014, the American Psychological Association announced that it had selected David to lead an independent investigation into allegations that the APA colluded with government officials after 9/11 to change its ethics code and take other actions to make it easier for psychologists to participate in abusive interrogations of foreign detainees.
Compliance, governance, and ethics counseling: As Inspector General of the City of Chicago, David established, hired, and supervised an external audit team that examined internal controls and compliance procedures throughout a US$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.
Data breaches and cybersecurity: David has led a multidisciplinary team of Sidley lawyers who have represented Neiman Marcus in relation to the cybersecurity attack it experienced and the resulting class-action litigation and governmental investigations and inquiries. Among other work, David led the Sidley team representing Neiman Marcus in congressional hearings and inquiries, has led forensic investigations relating to the cybersecurity attack, has worked closely with forensic experts on all related issues regarding PCI compliance, and serves as lead counsel in the consolidated class-action litigation. In the consolidated class action litigation, the district court granted Neiman Marcus’ motion to dismiss.
Full Professional Biography: David 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). David 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.
David 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, David served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago. David led investigations and prosecutions involving healthcare fraud, bank fraud, and other types of fraud, civil rights violations, organized gang conspiracies, and interstate weapons trafficking, among other matters. David 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 David to be a Deputy Chief to supervise a newly-created gang unit. David 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 David 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, David served as the Inspector General for the City of Chicago, following appointment by the Mayor and confirmation by the City Council. David 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 US$7-billion-per-year municipal corporation with 36,000 employees. Under David’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, David 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.
David was a candidate for the United States Senate in 2010, placing second in the Democratic primary by a margin of 39% to 34%. David 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, David 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.
David 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 David 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. David served as a Director on the Trust from 2012 through 2014.
David 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.
David was honored by the American Friends of Hebrew University with the Jerold S. Solovy Torch of Learning Award in September 2016. David also 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. David was also recently recognized in the 2016–2019 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Appellate law and was recommended in The Legal 500 U.S. in 2015 for data protection and privacy.
Selected Speeches, Presentations, and News
- “Psychologists to Review Role in Detainee Interrogations,” New York Times (Nov. 13, 2014)
- “SEC and DOJ Hot Topics 2014,” Panel Presentation, The Metropolitan Club, Chicago (Feb. 11, 2014)
- “Law Firm Cyber Risk Conference,” Panel Presentation, The Metropolitan Club, Chicago (Dec. 10, 2013)
- “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).