After joining People’s Law Office in 1984, Ms. Hoft had the honor and privilege of trying her first jury trial that same year, resulting in an acquittal of all charges against activists protesting at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. She has continued to advocate for progressive activists, representing members of the Pledge of Resistance, anti-apartheid organizations, the Shadow Project, the Sanctuary Movement, ACT-UP, and Queer Nation.
Attorney Hoft also proudly and passionately represents survivors of false arrest, police brutality, illegal strip searches and families with loved ones who have died in law enforcement custody. She is in awe of her clients’ courage to take a stand against institutional violence. She also represents survivors of sexual abuse in civil suits against their perpetrators. Over the course of practicing civil rights law for more than 20 years, she has secured seven figure verdicts and settlements.
Beginning in 1994, she took a three year sabbatical and was a law professor directing the Public Interest Law Firm, a clinical program of the Syracuse University College of Law. She currently resides on the Northwest side of Chicago with her partner, Linda, along with Siamese cats Adam and Steve, although their house is always open to various adult children, relatives and especially grandchildren.
Macalester College, St Paul MN B/A 1981 magna cum laude
IIT/Chicago Kent College of Law, JD 1984 with honors
Illinois Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
United States District Court for Northern District of New York
United States Supreme Court
Awards & Honors:
Jurisprudence Award for Evidence
Arrested at Dirksen Federal Building Collecting Signatures Against Persian Gulf War
Lawyers Committee for Better Housing Pro Bono Award
Arthur Kinoy People’s Law Award
National Lawyers Guild
National Police Accountability Board
Publications and Invited Presentations:
Saving Lives: Taking a Jail Suicide Case to Court,” with Jan Susler, Civil Rights Litigation and Attorney Fees Annual Handbook, by National Police Accountability Project, a project of the National Lawyers Guild, ed., Steven Saltzman (Thomson/West, Eagan, MN, 2007).
Attorney Hoft has delivered invited presentations on a variety of civil rights issues to professional, academic and community organizations over the past two decades, including the Chicago Bar Association (“Liability for Conspiracies to Commit Torts in Civil Rights Cases”), National Lawyers Guild (“The Necessity Defense, Civil Disobedience and Direct Action;” “Arrest and Court Expectations for Activists”), National Conference on Women and the Law (“Fighting Discrimination in the Legal Setting”), Northeastern Illinois University (“Gender Discrimination and the Law”), Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago Kent College of Law (“Pornography: Should it be Regulated” ), Chicago Tonight, WTTW Channel 11 Public Television (“Liability and Implications of Rash of Recent Police Shootings”), Coalition for Positive Sexuality (“Legal Liability of Activists Distributing Explicit Sex Education Material to Chicago High School Students”), and the Mental Health Committee of the Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers (“Confidentiality, Student Rights, and Mental Health Care Providers”).