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David Hoffman

David Hoffman

William A. Schnader Professor of Law

Dave Hoffman is a widely cited scholar who focuses his research and teaching on contract law. 

His work is typically interdisciplinary, built through collaboration with co-authors from a variety of fields. Hoffman writes about all aspects of contracting theory and practice, informed by empirical evidence. In the last few years, his work includes:

- An application of generative AI to contract interpretation.

- Several papers on form contracts–those of both consumers and residential tenants–exploring the relationship between falling transaction costs and the proliferation of aversive written agreements. His scholarship on leases led to additional work on evictions, which in turn sparked a project with multiple Penn Carey Law students: a short, fair, legal and free model lease for Philadelphia.

- Deep dives into the technical and legal aspects of transactions occurring on and through blockchains.

- COVID-linked work on the effect of disruptive social changes on how courts consider contracts’ third-party interests

- A paper with a (then) Penn Carey Law student arguing that nondisclosure clauses in employment contracts violate public policy.

- Qualitative and quantitative scholarship on how individuals experience contracting online, and what extra-legal goals firms might seek to accomplish using the “terms and conditions.” His latest paper in this area highlights expectations about contract remedies.

Before joining the legal academy, Hoffman was a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York City and a law clerk for the Honorable 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. He joined the Penn Carey Law faculty in 2017 after spending the first 12 years of his career at Temple Law School.

At Penn, Hoffman was honored with the Harvey Levin teaching award in 2018, and he previously won Temple’s George P. Williams Memorial Award for the Outstanding Professor of the Year (2013).

Hoffman was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, where he currently lives with his wife and two children. He comments, consults and testifies about contract law in a variety of settings, and is an active user of Twitter. In 2020, he was appointed a Special Master in MDL-2323: In Re: National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation (EDPa). Some of his recent work in that case can be found here.