Laura Hoffman joins the CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law faculty this Fall as a Visiting Professor and Acting Director of the school’s Center for Health Law and Policy.
Most recently, Professor Hoffman worked as a Senior Research Fellow at Yale Law School’s Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy and an Assistant Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law. Hoffman, who has her J.D. from the Ave Maria School of Law, an LL.M. in Law and Government with a concentration in Civil and Constitutional Rights from American University Washington College of Law, an LL.M. in Child and Family Law from Loyola University Chicago School of LAW, and an S.J.D. in Health Law and Policy also from Loyola, got her first experience working in academia as a Dean’s Fellow for Academic Support at American University. In that role she provided academic support to Master’s students who had attended law school in another country and needed help working through language barriers in understanding the American form of legal education. She found the experience incredibly rewarding and it planted a seed for the prospect of teaching law as a career.
“I discovered that I was really good at working with students, which likewise brought me immense joy,” Hoffman explained. “I also loved both research and writing. Putting all of that together, teaching seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
Professor Hoffman also feels a responsibility as a woman with a disability – she has been visually impaired since birth due to a genetic eye disorder – to ensure people with disabilities are part of the diversity and representation, including the faculty, of legal education. This year, Hoffman was part of a drive that led to the Association of American Law Schools to approving a group specifically for law professors with disabilities and their allies.
“I want to have a role in paving the way for change so that we are not missing the talents and gifts of individuals with disabilities from the legal profession,” said Professor Hoffman. “That starts in the environment and culture we create in legal education. We need those with disabilities who are interested in law to see they belong here in legal education and the legal profession.”
Professor Hoffman’s legal research has centered primarily around children’s rights, disability law, and health law. Her scholarship includes an article, Access to Health Care and the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled: Anti-Discrimination Law, Health Law, and Quality of Life, published in University of Iowa College of Law’s Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice, investigating access to organ transplants for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Professor Hoffman’s passion for disability law was an excellent complement to broadening her focus to health law, including children’s rights. She believes health law is a vital legal discipline as everyone is directly impacted by health issues, and legal issues surrounding healthcare touch many other disciplines of law.
Health law has taken even greater importance the past two years as the world deals with the fallout of a global pandemic. Hoffman believes the reform has been long overdue in several areas of health law and the pandemic has brought issues to light. She points to regulation of nursing homes and long-term care as an example of an area long due for reform that has been illuminated by the pandemic. Another example is telehealth, an ongoing area of research and scholarship for Hoffman. Telehealth has made significantly leaps during the pandemic but needs policies to appropriately address the digital divide to ensure groups with already known existing healthcare disparities are not further disadvantaged.
As the Acting Director of CSU C|M|LAW’s Center for Health Law and Policy, Professor Hoffman will be looking for opportunities to align the talents of Center students with the area’s health care industry.
“When you look at Northeast Ohio, we have extraordinary Health Law opportunities that we are already looking to grow for the Center for Health Law and Policy,” said Hoffman. “Particularly, the relationships we are building with our Cleveland-Marshall Health Law Advisory Council, which includes council members from a variety of incredibly respected and well-established entities from law firms to major health care systems in this area.”
A native of Parma, Ohio who has worked as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and worked locally as an Attorney Advisor at Data Federal Corporation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, Hoffman is well acquainted with Cleveland and its health care and legal industries. She was drawn to the Visiting Professor opportunity at CSU Cleveland-Marshall because of the school’s strong commitment to social justice.
“Being a native of Northeast Ohio, it is incredibly important to me that the law students here have the best opportunity to succeed and are able to do so through a social justice lens,” said Hoffman.
The CSU campus is special to Hoffman for personal reasons, as well. In high school she was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, which held its practices at CSU. Hoffman, who still loves to sing, holds a place in her heart for CSU in gratitude for those experiences.