Paul Hoffman

Lecturer on Law

Fall 2017


Paul Hoffman is a civil and human rights lawyer based in Los Angeles, California. He is a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Schonbrun Seplow Harris and Hoffman LLP where he handles a wide range of cases, including police misconduct, wrongful conviction, freedom of speech and assembly and international human rights.

Professor Hoffman is one of the leading litigators of cases brought under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) and argued Sosa v Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692 (2004) and Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 113 S. Ct. 1659 (2013), before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has argued in the Supreme Court six times and has been involved in dozens of other cases before the Court. He has also argued ATS appeals in the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh and D.C. Circuits.

Professor Hoffman has taught at several law schools including Stanford, UCLA, and USC. Since 2010, he has taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of California at Irvine School of Law where he has been the Director of the International Human Rights Litigation Clinic. He also teaches in UCI’s Appellate Litigation Clinic.

Professor Hoffman was the Legal Director of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California from 1984 to 1994. In that role he supervised all of the ACLU’s litigation in Southern California and litigated a full range of civil rights and civil liberties cases.

He also served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International-USA for many years and was the Chair of the Board from 1988 to 1989 and 1997 to 1999. He was a member of Amnesty International’s International Board from 1999 to 2005 and served as its Chair from 2002 to 2004. He has served on the Board of several other human rights organizations, including EarthRights International.

Professor Hoffman has written extensively on civil and human rights issues and has spoken at dozens of conferences and other public events. He is the co-author of Human Rights Lawyering, Cases and Materials (West 2009) and International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts (2d ed Martinus Nijhoff 2007).

Professor Hoffman has received numerous awards for his work. Most recently, he was awarded the Alexander Prize by the University of Santa Clara Law School “For Using Your Legal Expertise to Help Alleviate Injustice and Inequity.”

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