David A. Hoffman is the founding member of Boston Law Collaborative, LLC, and teaches the Mediation course at Harvard Law School, where he is the John H. Watson, Jr. Lecturer on Law.
David’s practice is focused on resolving conflict in business, family, and employment cases. He has served as mediator and/or arbitrator in more than a thousand commercial, family, employment, construction, personal injury, insurance, and other business cases.
David has published two books on the subject of dispute resolution: Massachusetts Alternative Dispute Resolution (with Prof. David Matz) (Butterworth Legal Publishers 1994, 2d ed. 1996) and Bringing Peace into the Room: How the Personal Qualities of the Mediator Impact the Process of Conflict Resolution (with Daniel Bowling) (Jossey-Bass 2003).
David is the past chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and a founding member of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council. In November 2004, David was chosen as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers" in Massachusetts in Boston Magazine's SuperLawyers Directory and has been consistently named a Massachusetts SuperLawyer since the listing began. David is also listed in the book “The Best Lawyers in America” – he is one of only 19 lawyers in Massachusetts who is listed in five or more categories: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Family Mediation, Collaborative Law (Family), and Collaborative Law (Civil). David is the former president of Kerem Shalom Congregation in Concord, Massachusetts, and a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators.
Before founding BLC, David was a litigation partner at Hill & Barlow where he practiced for seventeen years. Before that (in reverse chronological order), David clerked for then-Judge Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, graduated from Harvard Law School (while serving as a teaching assistant and an editor on the Harvard Law Review), worked as a consultant for the U.S. Small Business Administration, established a woodworking business in upstate New York, and pursued American Studies as a graduate student at Cornell. David and his wife of thirty-three years live in a co-housing community in Acton, Massachusetts, and have three children.
David's publications and articles
David's audio and video links
Law firms that have hired David for mediation and/or arbitration.
Hear What Others Are Saying About David
“David is a pioneer in our field. While he has never lost his ability to represent individual clients effectively, humanely and well, he has pursued his vision for alternative dispute resolution practice with vigor, eschewing 'big firm' life to create a leading-edge mediation and arbitration boutique. David's approach to conflict management serves clients across a broad spectrum, as they would want to be served. I am delighted to recommend David.” – Mediator Colleague
"David Hoffman is an extraordinary attorney. He was able to help me navigate all the issues of my legal separation agreement with integrity and pragmatism. David grasped and retained all details of my case even as my ex-wife went through multiple lawyers and did everything possible to obstruct and delay finalization of the divorce. David was at one masterful with all legal aspects of the case while offering me constant options for how to proceed with clearly articulated pros/cons. He took the time to not just get to know my case, but what was important to me in coming through this challenging experience: namely, I valued being a father to my children and we did not relent until David secured my equal time with them (despite my ex-wife's attempt to skew the time my children spent with her). David seeks mediation and win/win compromise, but is also able to be tough appropriately against other lawyers who are in a zero-sum game mentality against his clients. Divorce is awful. But having David as my counsel and my ally was indispensable. Without any reservation, and with gratitude and admiration for David as a professional, I would recommend him (and have) to anyone seeking a top-notch divorce attorney of the utmost integrity (and in my experience that is a rare combination)." – Former Divorce Client
“David represented us in mediation 13 years ago. He showed genuine concern for both parties and helped complete our agreement without acrimony. He took the time to understand us. I still maintain a relationship with David.” – Former Mediation Client
“David Hoffman is a brilliant and dedicated lawyer whose skills are matched only by his integrity. An early adopter of collaborative law, David put his formidable political and organizational skills to work beginning in the late 1990's in ways pivotal to the growth of the Collaborative Practice movement. With a few pioneering colleagues, he hosted the first collaborative law training on the East Coast (which I had the great privilege of presenting), in the conference room of his Boston law firm, Hill and Barlow. From the energy and determination sparked by that event, the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council quickly took shape under David's leadership. In his position as chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section, David was able to provide the credibility and gravitas that our nascent movement needed. David had a significant leadership role in creating the ABA "Lawyer as Problem Solver" award, and in bestowing the first of those awards on Stu Webb and me for our work in building the Collaborative Practice movement. When an unfavorable state ethics opinion created a flurry of anxiety on the part of American collaborative lawyers, David was in a position to build vital support within the ABA that led to strong favorable opinions from the Dispute Resolution and Ethics sections. These are only a few David's vital contributions, without which Collaborative Practice could not have become the global movement it is today.” – Collaborative Law Attorney Colleague
“Oh my god; I was getting divorced again. The first time I went to a mediator and got killed. In both marriages I had been dumped, and the first time my former best friend felt enormously victimized by having married such a dysfunctional human. I just wanted to get away, and I paid her to go away. This was expensive, and hard on my children, who were punished via money issues. When I worked with David Hoffman I needed someone who was smart, fair, but aware of my potential for settling instead of negotiating. David is not only brilliant, but he can see the field emotionally and make the right play under the particular circumstances of both partners and the other collaborating attorney. Given the amount of money at stake, his fees are worth it. When you add in the priceless issue of your children living under whatever rules come out of the divorce negotiation, there is no one else you would want to entrust with a process that will powerfully impact yourself and your children.” – Former Divorce Client
“I met David at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School lecturing on Mediation. He provided me a summer internship. I assisted him in several mediations and arbitrations. David blends superb lawyering skills with deep compassion and an ability to help people find meaningful solutions. He is also very respectful of the lawyer-client relationship. David blends his impartiality with a commitment to the parties with a humility that instills far more than confidence--he instills trust. I hope my endorsement helps both sophisticated and unsophisticated consumers to appreciate that in choosing David as a Mediator or Arbitrator or Collaborative Lawyer or as Counsel, what they get is a thoughtful, compassionate lawyer who demonstrates an extraordinary gift of wisdom. In my 30 years of practice as a tax consultant, before I retired, I found that the few gifted lawyers like David, are capable of expanding possibilities and achieving enduring solutions.” – Lawyer/Account Transitioning to ADR
"David is an excellent attorney and mediator. I worked with him when a divorce involving substantial assets was close to settling, but my client could not reach an agreement with the spouse. The parties did not want to go to court. David's input in the case was very valuable and helped bring the case to a conclusion.” – Lawyer Colleague Representing a Client in Mediation
"I have told many people that I think of David Hoffman as a holy man who calmed the storms of our divorce. I believe that we could have ended up with a very contentious and expensive process and instead it was relatively painless and inexpensive. Most importantly, David's emotional awareness and care helped soothe and comfort both of us. I remember at one heated junction he suggested that he talk to each of us individually. Somehow in those few moments he was able to allow the anger to diffuse and move to sadness. The process he led us through was healing and laid a foundation for a more positive, mindful relationship as we continue to co-parent our young child together." – Former Mediation Client
“David was a tremendous lead trainer, motivator, and host. For attorneys and other professionals looking for mediation training, David and his staff are excellent instructors. The materials provided are clear, concise, and user friendly. I definitely recommend David as a mediation trainer.” – Mediation Trainee
"Divorce is painful, but David Hoffman guided me through the legal process with compassion and sensitivity. He was thorough and well organized, and masterful in mediation. I felt supported and respected. He understood the legal and emotional complexities of ending a long marriage and gave equal weight to both. He listened and cared about all of my concerns. I can highly recommend his services." – Former Divorce Client
Born: January 3, 1947 in Baltimore, MD
Work experience: Member, The New Law Center, LLC (2002-03); Hill & Barlow, P.C. (Associate 1985-92, Member 1992-2002); Owner, Danby Hardwoods, Inc. (1974-81)
Education: B.A., Princeton, 1970 (summa cum laude); M.A., Cornell, 1974; J.D., Harvard, 1984 (magna cum laude)
Honors: AV-rated attorney (Martindale-Hubbell - highest rating); Harvard Law Review editor; listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Who's Who in American Law”; top 5% of Massachusetts lawyers, as listed in 2004 ‘SuperLawyers’ directory published in Boston Magazine; Community Peacemaker Award from Community Dispute Settlement Center; John Adams Fiske Award for Excellence in Mediation, Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation; Distinguished Fellow, International Academy of Mediators.