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Scheinman Institute Advisory Board Spotlight: Nancy E. Hoffman

Name: Nancy E. Hoffman
Current professional position: Arbitrator, Mediator, Neutral
Cornell University, B.S. (ILR); New York University, M.A. (History); St. John’s University School of Law, J.D.; Harvard Law School Program of Instruction for Lawyers, summer 1997; Alliance for Education in Dispute Resolution/Cornell University Employment Mediator Training Program, 2000, Basic Mediation Training (30 hrs. Mediation Matters/NYS-UCS) 2013.
Professional experience:

  • American Arbitration Association Labor Arbitrator Panel; American Arbitration Association Education Law 3020A Panel; Federal Mediation &Conciliation Services Panel; New York State/CSEA Time and Attendance Disciplinary Permanent Umpire Panel; New York City Office of Collective Bargaining Arbitrator Panel; Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution Roster of Neutrals; Chautauqua County/CSEA Arbitrator Panels (contract; discipline); Rochester City School District Panels; New York State Lemon Law Arbitration Panel; Albany Citizens' Police Review Board Mediation Panel.


  • January 1989- December 2011: General Counsel for the Civil Service Employees Association; represented Employer in labor relations and employment law matters involving two unions. Negotiated collective bargaining agreements, appeared before NLRB and in arbitrations on behalf of the Employer. Advised Employer in all aspects of its business. Managed department of 28, including 12 attorneys, plus a network of 25 retained attorneys. Designed and managed a separate program covering Workers Compensation; Personal Injury; Personal Services; Elder Law. Designed and presented advocacy skill training to lawyers and other professional staff in substantive areas of labor and employment law. July 1986-January 1989: First Assistant Counsel for Fair Hearings, Office of Administrative Hearings, NYS Department of Social Services. Managed administrative law judges and support staff in conduct of fair hearings; generated approximately 80,000 decisions per annum. Responsibilities included all personnel, labor relations and budget matters, resolution of substantive policy and program issues raised by hearing decisions, decision quality control, training of new and existing professional staff, and program information flow to professional staff. June 1985-July 1986: Deputy Counsel, Division of Legal Affairs, NYS Department of Social Services. Managed department's regulatory commentary and drafting process. August 1984-June 1985: NYS Assistant Attorney General. October 1978 – August 1979: Associate with the firm of Plunkett & Jaffee, representing public employers, mostly Boards of Education, in litigation, labor relations and collective bargaining negotiations. September 1973 – October 1975: Assistant Corporation Counsel, New York City Department of Law. June-August 1972: United States Attorney Generals Office for the Southern District of New York, Intern.


  • January 1989 – December 2011: Director of Legal Services for the Civil Service Employees Association, Local 1000 AFSCME, AFL-CIO, representing over 265,000 state, local government and private sector employees in labor relations and employment law, in state and federal court litigation, grievance arbitrations and disciplines, before administrative agencies. September 1979 – August 1984; October 1975 – September 1978: Associate Counsel in the Office of General Counsel of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. Represented teachers and school-related personnel in employment-related litigation, in state and federal trial and appellate courts, before administrative agencies, and in arbitration. Had supervisory and administrative responsibilities; design and presentation of workshop instruction in advocacy skills and in substantive areas. NYSUT Instructor in Arbitration Advocacy Skills for Labor Relations staff in NYS and for AFT nationally1981-1984.


  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow '96 (Inaugural Class); American Bar Association: Section of Labor and Employment Law (State and Local Government Bargaining Committee; ABA Commission on Women; ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity; Section Council); New York State Bar Association: Labor and Employment Law Section (Future Directions Committee; Government Employees Labor Relations Law Committee; Ethics Committee); NYS Women’s Bar Association Capital District Chapter; Labor and Employment Relations Association [LERA]; New York State Dispute Resolution Association.


  • Cornell University Council; Dean’s Advisory Council, Cornell University ILR School; Advisory Board, Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution; Advisory Board, Government Law Center/Albany Law School; Advisory Board, St. John’s University Law School/Center for Labor and Employment Law; Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region [Past Chair]; Girls Inc. Foundation Trust [PastTrustee]; Community Foundation of the Greater Capital Region [Board]; Albany Institute of History and Art [Board]; Capital Repertory Theater (Board); Mediation Matters (Board).
  • 1997 Recipient of the American Arbitration Association Distinguished Service Award in Labor-Management Arbitration; 2009 Third Age Senior Services of Albany Award in Government.

Career highlights:
My 23 years as CSEA General Counsel embodied all that I hoped to achieve career-wise when I wrote my entrance essay for the ILR School back in the fall of my senior year in high school.  That essay talks of unions, of workers rights, of equal and fair treatment; of civil rights and so forth.... it was (unknowingly then) a life plan that manifested itself over my career post law school.  I still have the essay!
What motivates me to be involved with the Scheinman Institute?
First and foremost, a long and multi-dimensional relationship with Marty Scheinman, dating back to 1975 when I was a "new" hire in NYSUT's NYC Office of General Counsel and was given the opportunity to take a multi session arbitration training class with the NYSUT lay field staff.  Marty was an “instructor’ in that course. Ever since, Marty and I have professionally and personally been aligned on many things...I am an "original" Advisory Board member...probably in more ways than just among the first seated Board.
A personal experience working with the Institute/ILR:
While CSEA G.C., I was a "guest" lecturer for Harry Katz and Lee Adler a couple of times in their classes, worked with Rocco Stanza on a couple of his early student -intercollege mediation competitions, participated as CSEA in Social Justice Fairs, and on a panel of women in the profession talking with ILR students...interested in "how we got to our then current" positions.... CSEA used ILR both faculty (Lee Adler) and facility (King Hall) for several training sessions for our then activists and elected officials... and I have been on the Dean's Advisory Committee both as CSEA G.C. going back to Rick Hurd days and thereafter.
Advice I would give to students: 
That is a very long list of possibilities I would offer in a personal conversation with a young person.... depending on a lot of factors...but the three most loud themes in whatever I would say are:    "Stand out; Stand up; and Be passionate ...stand out as in distinguish yourself in what you bring to the table, particularly in this very competitive global world...stand up as in come from a place of personal commitment, ethics, values in what you choose for your life's passionate as in every job has good/bad (tasks, days, colleagues, times, challenges, etc.)...and the way to not get lost in that minutia (i.e., some emotional intelligence) is to have a personal "rudder"- anchor your work and at times...yourself...  My personal rudder was/is "what do I need to do/ who do I need to be here to 'make a difference’.” I asked myself this question every day of my CSEA GC well as during all my volunteer and or professional Board work.... and continuing as a Neutral, sometimes it was/is an hourly question even!