Dave Hoffman specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and private dispute resolution. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics. Hoffman writes for the popular legal blog, Concurring Opinions, and is a member of the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School.

With other investigators at the Cultural Cognition Project, Professor Hoffman has co-authored a number of papers on citizens’ risk perceptions and the law. For example, one recent paper illustrated how the perceived benefits and risks of political demonstrations are contingent on our values. Other projects in the same vein include an experimental paper on how individuals’ values influence their perceptions of fact in civil rights cases and their attitudes about wrongdoing more generally.

In other work, Professor Hoffman has explored the dispute resolution system using quantitative analysis. Focusing on court dockets, he has co-authored the first comprehensive study of litigation in which plaintiffs seek to “pierce the corporate veil,” a paper on privacy litigation in federal court, an analysis of the relationship between motion practice and settlement, a paper on why judges write opinions, an analysis of the meaning of materiality under the securities law, and a study on how Wikipedians resolve their disputes. The most recent work in this quantitative vein focused on the organization of causes of action in federal court complaints.

Finally, Professor Hoffman writes in the area of moral psychology, with a focus on contract law. He has written about the manner in which corporate managers may “self-handicap” and how consumers react to puffery. More recent experimental work explores why individuals dislike breach of contract, when they will take precautions against breach, and how damages will be awarded.

Prior to joining academia, Professor Hoffman practiced law with Cravath, Swaine, & Moore, LLP.  He clerked for Judge Norma L. Shapiro, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude, and his B.A. in archaeology and history from Yale College, cum laude.

In 2012, Professor Hoffman was the subject of a Faculty Focus video, which can be viewed here.


J.D. (cum laude), Harvard Law School
B.A. (cum laude), Yale University

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