Richard D. Hoffman practices in the area of litigation with a focus on fiduciary litigation and insurance coverage advice and litigation. With respect to fiduciary litigation, Mr. Hoffman represents attorneys, directors and officers, corporate management and brokers in litigation asserting claims against them. As a counsel to the insurance industry, Mr. Hoffman has a national practice specializing in advising insurance companies on their duties and obligations to insureds, counseling them on how to fulfill those duties and representing them in litigation when the need arises with a focus on specialty lines (lawyers, directors and officers and architects and engineers). Mr. Hoffman has represented clients in trials and arbitrations involving legal fees, coverage under specialty lines of insurance, bad-faith cases and legal malpractice actions.
Mr. Hoffman is a frequent speaker at seminars focusing on lawyer liability and insurance coverage for lawyers.
Mr. Hoffman is a 1977 graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was editor of Constitutional Law Quarterly and elected to the Order of the Coif, and a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Represented New York City law firm in legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary actions in California state and federal court seeking in excess of $50 million stemming from a series of underlying patent infringement actions in California and Texas.
- Represented New York law firm in legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary action in California arising from representation of closely held corporation (in which certain law firm members were principals).
- Represented New York law firm in legal malpractice and malicious prosecution action in California arising from representation of New York corporation in dispute with former executive.
- Representation of national law firm in legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary action in California arising from employment advice provided to corporate executive.
- Representation of California law firm in dispute with former partners.
- Representation of client of law firm in binding arbitration against claims by law firm for $15 million in fees premised on purported sliding scale contingent fee agreement.
- Representation of California law firm in structuring risk management program and evaluating insurance needs.
- Representation of directors and officers of Fortune 500 corporation in securities litigation stemming from the acquisition of the assets and liabilities of another Fortune 500 corporation.
- Representation of corporate management in alleged sexual discrimination claim.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in California asserting that coverage did not exist because of law firm's prior knowledge of a potential claim.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in California asserting that coverage did not exist because the claims against the firm sought return of fees.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in Nevada action defending alleged bad faith claims stemming from the failure of the insurer to settle claims within policy limits.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in Nevada action defending bad faith claims by law firm stemming from insurer's denial of defense and indemnity based upon misrepresentations in the application.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer as coverage counsel in connection with claims by law client in which firm knew or should have known of the potential for the claim before the policy incepted.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in coverage dispute with attorney resulting in partial policy buy back.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in Washington in disputes over coverage for asserted claims, right to independent counsel and allocation of settlement.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in California in connection with claims against law firm involving ancillary business of law firm.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in connection with insured's refusal to consent to settlement.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurer in California in disputes with other insurers over coverage obligations involving lawyers who worked at several firms.
- Representation of lawyers professional liability insurers in coverage disputes in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Texas, Florida, New York, Virginia.
- Representation of architects and engineers liability insurer in litigation in California over coverage for an $8 million judgment against architect and engineer.
- Representation of architects and engineers liability insurer in multi-state litigations which threatened to exceed $25 million policy limits.
- Representation of third party administrator sued for bad faith in California.
- Coverage counsel for professional liability insurer overseeing coverage for title agents claim on a national basis.
- Coverage counsel for healthcare professional liability insurer on coverage involving health care claims on a national basis.
Insurance Coverage Litigation
Areas of Practice
- Commercial and Fiduciary Litigation (representation of lawyers, directors & officers and corporate management)
- Insurance Litigation and Coverage (focusing on specialty lines of professional liability, directors & officers, architects & engineers, and errors and omissions)
- Corporate Advice on Directors and Officers Duties and Insurance Coverage
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- Supreme Court of California
- Court of Appeals of California
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D., 1977
- Editor, Constitutional Law Quarterly
- Order of the Coif; Thurston Honor Society
- University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., with honors, 1973
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2010-present
- Nixon Peabody LLP
- Partner, 2001-2010
- Managing Partner San Francisco and Los Angeles Offices, 2001-2007
- Lillick & Charles
- Partner, 1984-2001
- Co-Head of Litigation, 1998-2001
- Risk Management Partner, 1995-2001
- Associate, 1980-1984
- American Bar Association
- Associate, National Legal Malpractice Data Center (Division of Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability)
- State Bar of California
- Former Member, Professional Liability Insurance Committee
- San Francisco Bar Association
Selected Speaking Engagements
Speaker, "Defending Legal Malpractice Claims: Initial Strategies and Considerations," Attorney’s Insurance Mutual Risk Retention Group, Los Angeles, January 18, 2018
- Speaker, "Bad Faith: The Noxious Fumes of Legal Malpractice Cases," ABA's National Legal Malpractice Conference, September 16-18, 2015
- Presenter, "Litigating the Complex Legal Malpractice Claim: Walking Through the Minefield from the Perspective of the Insured, Insurer and Defense Counsel," Spring 2013
- Presenter, "Prior Knowledge: What You Know Matters," Fall 2012
- Presenter, "California Fair Claims Practices Act," Winter 2012
- Presenter, "Defending and Settling Claims: The Insured's Duties to Assist and Cooperate; The Ability of Insurers to Settle Cases or Solicit Offers," Summer 2010
- Panelist, "The Mortgage Crisis and Real Estate Lawyer Liability," American Bar Association Lawyers Malpractice Meeting, San Francisco, 2008
- Panelist, "Fiduciary Liability of Attorneys," American Bar Association Lawyers Malpractice Meeting, New York City, 2006
- Speaker, "Significant Coverage Decisions 2005-2006," Legal Malpractice & Risk Management Conference, Chicago, 2006