On behalf of the people of Colorado, I extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to Dan’s family, friends and colleagues. He was a remarkable attorney, a courageous leader, and a dear friend. Colorado is a better place because of his countless contributions. He will be missed by many.
Dan earned his law degree from University of Denver (DU) College of Law in 1958. He began his career in 1963 as the youngest person to be appointed Denver’s Manager of Safety. In 1965, while manager of safety, Hoffman participated with a delegation from Colorado on the last leg of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. He served as Dean of the DU College of Law from 1978 to 1984.
Dan had more than forty years of courtroom experience and was the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Jewish Committee Judge Learned Hand Award and the DU College of Law Outstanding Alumni Award. In 2008, Dan was honored with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado State Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He also was the only person to have served as President of the CBA and the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and as state chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
—Submitted by Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.
Like most legendary figures, Dan was complicated, multi-talented, and accomplished well beyond other lawyers. Trial lawyer, public servant, civil rights crusader, educator, Dean, and mentor, he was a true and continuing inspiration to generations of lawyers. He also never forgot what matters most: his beloved wife Bev, his lovely and talented daughters, and his adored grandchildren. They centered him and sustained him with their love. Also, somehow, amidst his devotion to them and his tireless work for clients, rich and poor, he also found time for us, his many grieving friends. Being with Dan was always a time full of fun and laughter but also was rich in meaning.
Dan cannot be easily captured—his complexity and talent were much like the jazz he loved and knew so well. Perhaps art captures at least one constant in the man. Hanging in his home, above his living room fireplace, was a modernist depiction of Robert Kennedy—classic profile and signature forelock, face to the future, frozen forever in his last campaign. It gives powerful witness to both RFK and Dan Hoffman: two great men who were friends, united in a singular but eternal ideal—passion for justice without regard to personal risk. This passion was the work and meaning of Dan’s life and is the challenge he leaves to us with his death.
—Submitted by James M. Lyons