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Released on Aug 29, 2023
New Professor Profile: Visiting Professor Deborah Hoffman
Photo of Professor Deborah Hoffman

Deborah Hoffman joins the Cleveland State University College of Law faculty for the 2023-24 academic year as a Visiting Assistant Professor.  Professor Hoffman has experience as an executive leader, board member and professor who has built and led companies, as well as taught in the areas of financial services, legal, compliance and technology innovation.  This year at CSU|LAW, her focuses will include focus business law, entrepreneurship, and legal technology, including blockchain.

“I teach my students that the most important factors of a job consist of three main things: what you do, who you work with and who you work for,” explained Professor Hoffman. “For me, the opportunity to teach at CSU|LAW is exciting with each factor. First, the opportunity to teach business law, to train the next generation of legal minds in legal business topics is incredibly exciting.  Second, I had the opportunity to meet with many faculty members in my interviews for CSU|LAW and the collegial nature, receptiveness, and manner in which they approached me as a potential new member of their team was incredible and evident.  Lastly, this kind of environment can only be fostered by a leader who exhibits the same characteristics, and I am looking forward to being a faculty member on a team led by Dean Fisher.”

Professor Hoffman has an array of experience as an instructor at Albany Law School, Barry University School of Law, Florida A&M Law and the University of Central Florida College of Business. At the Albany Law School she taught Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and the Law, and served as Co-Director of the Financial Compliance & Risk Management Program.

Professor Hoffman is the founder of Symmetry Blockchain Advisors, Inc. advising on cryptocurrency and blockchain endeavors with a focus on the mortgage industry. She was the Managing Associate General Counsel at Western Union, overseeing Legal Mergers & Acquisitions, Procurement, Real Estate and Corporate Governance, and also served as Head of Legal, North America and Chief Legal Officer of Digital Risk for Mphasis. After graduating from Albany Law SchoolProfessor Hoffman spent the early portion of her career as a real estate finance attorney at the law firm Thacher Proffitt & Wood, representing lenders in the origination of commercial mortgage loans. 

“I became the lead attorney of large due diligence teams at Thacher Proffitt & Wood and that involved training junior attorneys and summer associates, reviewing their work and providing professional and personal advice while coordinating the team’s work product,” explained Professor Hoffman.  “In that role, I realized that I really enjoyed teaching, training and mentoring, and started to explore legal teaching opportunities. When I started teaching at UCF, I pretty much knew immediately teaching was a passion.  The enthusiasm from students to learn about legal and business topics I enjoyed was contagious.”

Spending a large portion of her career as a lawyer in real estate finance representing businesses who lend in both the commercial and residential space, Professor Hoffman experienced an industry where significant amounts of data points must be provided by potential real estate purchasers to lenders and related parties in a manner that is not standardized and can be quite antiquated.  When she first discovered blockchain, she envisioned a streamlined approach to the mortgage lending supply chain and quickly understood that blockchain can transform a wide variety of supply chains.  Her interest only grew, expanding into cryptocurrency, tokenization and the liquidity benefits afforded by both.

Watch Professor Hoffman explain her vision for the future of blockchain technology in this video presentation.

Professor Hoffman has spoken at several conferences and events on blockchain technology with a focus on how it can be implemented in real estate mortgage lending.  She recently appeared on episodes of the Web3 Disruptors podcast discussing blockchain in real estate, as well as the Protiviti Legal Perspectives podcast, where she discussed efficiencies in legal operations. 

While teaching at Albany Law School, Professor Hoffman developed a Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and the Law course in 2020.  She believes there is a tremendous need for legal talent that understands blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. 

“Initially, while there was an interest in the topic, students seemed to have little background or experience with it,” said Professor Hoffman. “In the past couple of years, I have seen exponential growth in the understanding by students of the potential for growth of the technology and the need to develop legal frameworks pertaining to it.  It’s likely due to a combination of students who are interested in the topic enrolling in the course and the topic of blockchain and cryptocurrency becoming more mainstream.”

Professor Hoffman will also be teaching business law courses including Corporations, and working on planning residency weekends for the J.D. online program.  She is hopes to generate interest from entrepreneurial focused students and wants to explore starting an entrepreneurial law center. 

Professor Hoffman serves as an Advisory Board member of DomiDocs, a company building a homeowner enablement platform to allow homeowners to have better access to information about their houses, Elphi, a company building a loan origination system, and Women of ALICE, a non-profit organization that champions women in the mortgage finance industry.  She also sits on the Cyber Security Advisory Board of ECPI University.

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