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Podcast with Dave Hoffman, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

In this episode of the "City of Contracts" podcast, Ken Adams speaks with Dave Hoffman, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He teaches contracts--of course!--so he and Ken discuss the function of the contracts class, how it relates to what practicing lawyers do, and how best to teach contract drafting, among other subjects. Our thanks to Dave for taking the time to talk with Ken.


Dave Hoffman, an expert in contracts, law and psychology, and empirical legal studies joined the faculty in January 2017. From 2004 through 2016, he was a professor at Temple University's Beasley School of Law, where he was, most recently, the Murray H. Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law. Professor Hoffman won the Harvey Levin Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018.

Hoffman's scholarship uses observational and experimental data to explore individuals' behavior relating to legal rules. His recent work on contract, for example, investigated whether millennials have developed a distinctive set of views about promising which relate to their experiences with online commercial transactions. In other papers--written jointly with a multidisciplinary team based at Yale Law School-- he has shown how the perceived benefits and risks of political demonstrations are contingent on people's values and such deeply rooted perceptions influence judgments of fact in civil rights cases.

In current work, Hoffman is exploring the frontiers of contracting -- how firms use form contracts as brands to better engage users with exchange platforms, whether (and how) to regulate nondisclosure agreements about sexual harassment, and the contractual documents governing Initial Coin Offerings.

Before joining the legal academy, Hoffman was a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York City and a law clerk for Judge Norma L. Shapiro of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He earned his JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in archeology and history from Yale University.

Hoffman was born and raised in Philadelphia area, where he currently lives with his wife and two young children.

Thank you, Dave, for joining us for this conversation.


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