Personal Background on Adonis Hoffman

  • Summary.  Adonis Hoffman is an attorney, advisory counsel, media expert, and independent corporate director based in Washington, DC. His work focuses on corporate advisory, public policy, regulatory, communications, mergers, corporate responsibility, and global matters.  He has been a trusted advisor to countries, corporations, capital markets, Congress and consumers throughout his career and helps companies to overcome challenges with the press, policymakers, and the consuming public. 


  • Origins. Hoffman was born in a segregated hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana to a single Mom of African-American, Native American and Creole ancestry. His family later moved to central Los Angeles, California in the early 1960s, where he attended public elementary school and Loyola Jesuit High School, competing in football and track.  He received a scholarship to Princeton University, and studied politics and philosophy, earning an A.B. degree in 1976. He returned to California to work briefly with Bank of America, and later with the Lieutenant Governor and members of the California Legislature.   


  • Early Career on Capitol Hill  Hoffman moved to Washington DC in 1980 to work as legislative director for newly-elected U.S. Representative Mervyn M. Dymally (D-CA), focusing on foreign affairs and international trade.  He traveled throughout Asia and the Middle East as a member of Congressional staff delegations, and was selected co-chair of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegation to Japan to meet with Diet Members on international trade and defense.


  • Advising Foreign Governments After four years on Capitol Hill, Hoffman was recruited to work as a lobbyist, account executive and communications counselor by Robert Keith Gray, the chairman of the first Ronald Reagan Inaugural Committee, and founder of Gray and Company Public Communications International. Gray & Company was the premier lobbying and public relations firm in Washington during the 1980s, representing Fortune corporations and several foreign governments, including Japan, Korea, Turkey, Haiti, Cayman Islands and Saudi Arabia. Hoffman worked with numerous clients as a lobbyist and communications advisor. 


  • Private Law Practice. In 1986, Hoffman, completed legal studies at Georgetown University Law Center, earning a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) in corporate and international law.  He became a managing director at Capitol Exchange Corporation in Washington and New York, and later joined the Washington office of Hopkins & Sutter, a national law firm, focusing on legislative and regulatory matters, in addition to international trade and corporate transactions.  


  • Foreign Policy and International Affairs. In 1991, Hoffman  returned to Capitol Hill to serve as Subcommittee Staff Director and Committee Counsel at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, focusing on Africa, the Middle East and economic policy and trade. During his tenure on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Hoffman traveled to 38 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In 1993, Hoffman returned to Capitol Exchange Corporation, and later was appointed senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  At Carnegie, Hoffman emerged as a recognized media commentator on international law and foreign policy, appearing regularly on CNN, FOX, NBC and Canadian television.  He led several delegations of lawyers, judges, and journalists to observe elections in Nigeria, and other developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and became an advisor to developing countries on constitutional reform and democracy development. Hoffman subsequently was appointed senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and a Distinguished Visitor at the New School in New York. He published regularly in The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and Foreign Policy.  


  • International Telecom and the FCC Act 1. In 1998, Mr. Hoffman was appointed to the position of international communications counsel by FCC Chairman Bill Kennard, to assist on global telecom policy.  Hoffman was a member of the FCC team which provided technical assistance to developing countries in a new initiative to help those countries build independent and transparent regulatory regimes during a wave of privatization and market liberalization. 


  • Broadband and Cable.In 1999, Hoffman moved to the FCC's Cable Television Bureau to serve as the Deputy Bureau Chief. There, he was responsible for co-managing over 100 attorneys, economists, engineers, and support staff, and assisting the Bureau's regulatory review of several large cable and broadband mergers, including ATT - Media One, and AOL-Time Warner. 


  • Representing Madison Avenue and the Advertising Industry. In 2000, Mr. Hoffman was appointed senior vice president and counsel at the American Association of Advertising Agencies ("the 4As"), which is the national trade association for the advertising agency and media buying industry.  As the chief in-house attorney for nearly 450 member agencies, Hoffman provided legal, legislative and regulatory counsel on a wide range of issues affecting the advertising industry, and appeared before the U.S. Congress, Federal Trade Commission, FCC and federal courts. Hoffman was highly involved in the advertising and marketing industry's self-regulatory initiatives, including food marketing and advertising to children, data privacy, diversity, and direct marketing reforms. He later established the American Business Leadership Institute and was selected to serve on the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), and the First Amendment Advisory Council of The Media Institute.   


  • Academic Appointment -- Georgetown University In 2008, Adonis Hoffman received an appointment to the faculty of Georgetown University, serving as an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Arts & Science in the Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) Program.  Hoffman designed and teaches graduate courses on "Marketing, Advertising & Public Policy"; "Corporate Communications"; and "Corporate Responsibility and Technology". 


  • FCC Act 2 - Chief of Staff and Senior Legal Advisor to the Commissioner From 2013 to April 2015, Mr. Hoffman served as chief of staff and senior legal advisor to FCC Commissioner and Acting Chairman, Mignon Clyburn. Hoffman worked with the Commissioner and senior staff on major communications policy matters, including the Open Internet / Net Neutrality ruling; media ownership rules; broadcast and wireless spectrum; incentive auctions; privacy enforcement; consumer protection; the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)m and several mega mergers in the media, broadband and broadcast sectors, including Comcast-Time Warner Cable, and  AT&T - DirecTV,  


  • Business in the Public Interest and Corporate Advisory Counsel Upon leaving the FCC in April 2015, Mr. Hoffman founded Business in the Public Interest, a strategic research, analysis and advisory organization focused on restoring the public trust in business, and advancing corporate responsibility on matters of public policy. Mr. Hoffman also resumed his role as advisory counsel to boards, directors, business leaders, trade associations, private equity, institutional investors, and international organizations on corporate, policy and regulatory affairs, mergers, strategic alliances and communications, and corporate responsibility. 


  • Education and Bar Admission. Adonis Hoffman received an A.B. from Princeton University (1976) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center (1986).  He is admitted to practice law before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Supreme Court; the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; the U.S. Bankruptcy Court; the U.S. Court of International Trade, and the United States Supreme Court. 


  • Honors. In 2016, Adonis Hoffman was honored by his alma mater, Loyola High School, with the Cahalan Award, given to distinguished alumni.  See Video 


  • Family Matters Adonis and his amazing wife Karla Ellison Hoffman have been married for 26 years.  Together they are the proud parents of a son, AD, who is a graduate of Georgetown University and a daughter, Amani, who is a graduate of Villanova University, both of whom are pursuing graduate and professional education.