Civil Rights Firm Grows by Two

California Law Business
November 22, 1999

Paul L. Hoffman, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California from 1984 to 1994, has joined the Venice-based civil rights firm of Schonbrun & De Simone. With the addition of Hoffman - who was previously in partnership with First Amendment attorney Gary Bostwick - Schonbrun will have five lawyers. It will change its name to Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes, LLP.

The seeds of the transition for Hoffman were planted in September, when he approached Schonbrun to be co-counsel in a discrimination suit against Orange County Lucky Stores. When Bostwick left the now-defunct Bostwick & Hoffman for Davis Wright Tremaine, Hoffman joined Schonbrun .

"I wanted to continue to practice in the civil rights area," Hoffman says. "It seemed like a natural fit. They do a lot of the same kind of work that I do. And they were open to expanding their practice to other areas I work in: defamation, privacy, international human rights."

Hoffman is a former chair of the board of Amnesty International-U.S.A. and currently serves on Amnesty International's executive committee. He is also an adjunct professor at both the University of Southern California School of Law and Loyola Law School.

Also signing on with Schonbrun is USC law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, who will work with the firm on constitutional law cases.

"I've been of counsel to Paul ever since he left as legal director of the ACLU," says Chemerinsky, who worked with Hoffman at Bostwick & Hoffman. "I said, 'Of course I'd be glad to continue to be of counsel.'"

By expanding, the firm hopes to increase in prominence, according to Hoffman. "I think we'd like to be a place where bright young law students who want to work in the civil rights and human rights area would want to come to," he says.