Get to Know: Dustin C. Hoff


by Jo Mathis
Legal News

Dustin C. Hoff is an associate attorney at Christensen Law, practicing out of both the Southfield and Ann Arbor offices. A member of the team since 2015, he specializes in personal injury cases with a focus on trial law.  In 2018, Lawyers of Distinction recognized Hoff for his excellence in personal injury law.

Hoff has been a contributor to the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and he is a member of the Michigan Association for Justice and American Association of Justice. A resident of Clawson, Hoff attended Saginaw Valley State University and Edge Hill University for his undergraduate degree. He went to Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor in 2013 and was admitted to the Michigan State Bar in 2014, then worked for a personal injury firm in Sandusky.

Why trial law? First, I didn’t know there was any other kind of law prior to becoming a lawyer. I thought that all attorneys were trial lawyers and tried cases every week like they did on TV. Second, I love listening to stories and wanted—still want—to be Denny Crane (fictional lawyer on “Boston Legal” portrayed by William Shatner). Being a trial lawyer is the closest I will probably ever come to being a writer, actor, or doing improv. The preparation is extremely stressful but the actual trial is exhilarating. 

What would surprise people about your job? The amount of cases I handle.

What has been your favorite year so far? Personally, 2017 when I finally convinced my beautiful wife to be my better 99 percent. Professionally, each year has progressively gotten better.

If you could have witnessed any event in history, what would it be?
I wouldn’t say any single event, but I love the 1960s. I think that decade held so many historically significant events that would impact society and culture. Plus, the music, cinema, art, and cars from that decade were fantastic.

What book has most impacted your life?
As an attorney, Damages by David Ball,  Trial by Human by Nicholas Rowley and Steven Halteman, and Words that Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by Frank L. Luntz.  My favorite book of all time is The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. As a kid it inspired a lot of the music I listened to and how I dressed. I wasn’t a socs.

Can you think of a failure that ultimately became a positive? Not being very good at my job after graduating from college. I think had I been successful at that job I would have never quit and gone to law school.

What’s something you changed your mind about recently?
Tabouli. I just re-tried it at Jerusalem Garden the other day and it was fantastic. 

What is one thing you would like to learn to do?
Speak German and Arabic.

What is the best advice you ever received? I don’t know if he is the author of it, but my high school math teacher, George Lasecki, said: “What you do everyday is how you spend your life.” Words to live by.

What purchase of $50 or less has most positively affected your life?
Tickets to Joshua Hedley.  Great singer, songwriter, and story teller.

What was your most stressful day at work?
The Wednesday before my first jury trial. I had been working at Christensen Law for about two months. The week before trial I was the only attorney in the office. I had no idea what I was doing. On the Wednesday before trial I had to take the trial deposition of the insurance companies’ doctor at 6 a.m. in St. Clair Shores. From there, I went to cover a hearing in Detroit for Dave Christensen, as he was on vacation. I lost the motion. Then I had to be in Ann Arbor by 1:30 p.m. for more motions and hearings. On my way there, a 5-gallon bucket flew out of the back of a construction truck on M-14, and tore and dislodged the panel protecting the under carriage of my car. I finished court around 3:30 and had to be in Warren by 5:30 to take the trial deposition of my doctor. During the whole drive I could hear the panel dragging and people looking at me like, “Buddy you need to do something about that.” I arrived about 30 minutes early and as I bent over to look under my car, the whole back side of my suit pants ripped out. I must say I have looked better. The deposition ended around 7 and I made my journey home with the panel still dragging. When I got home I grabbed the mail, exhausted. I just wanted to eat, change my clothes, and get some rest. In the mail I had a letter from the IRS. I tore that letter open to find that I was being audited. Most stressful day ever. But on a bright note, I won the trial.