Jack Hoffinger, a longtime criminal defense lawyer whose gifts funded NYU Law’s Hoffinger Colloquium on Criminal Justice, passed away on September 7, 2021 at age 95. His legal career spanned more than six decades, during which he served as president of the New York Criminal Bar Association and successfully defended a wide range of clients in many high-profile criminal cases, including New York State Senate minority leader Manfred Ohrenstein and artist Carl Andre. Formerly a partner at Hoffinger, Stern & Ross, he and his two daughters founded a litigation boutique, the Hoffinger Firm, where he practiced law until recent years.
Beginning in 2001, Hoffinger helped fund the Law School’s Hoffinger Colloquium, a monthly lecture and conversation about current issues in criminal law, including judicial activism, reducing the US prison population, and policing reform. The Colloquium became a beloved fixture in the criminal justice community of the New York metropolitan area, and was regularly attended by scholars, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and prominent policymakers and practitioners. Speaking to NYU Law Magazine about the series in 2004, Hoffinger said: “What the colloquium offers is a fascinating synergy of lecturers who are consistently interesting and provocative, and listeners who are staggeringly knowledgeable and engaged.… It’s not enough to be lawyers serving our clients. We should be helping make our criminal justice system and our society a better place, and the colloquium is an integral part of that endeavor.” Hoffinger also chaired the advisory board for NYU Law’s Criminal Justice Research Center from 1987 to 1999.
In addition to his work as a trial attorney, Hoffinger taught courses at Fordham Law School, Columbia Law School, and the New School for Social Research. He received a BS from the City College of New York in 1948 and an LLB from Yale Law School in 1951, where he served as managing editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Posted September 14, 2021.