Working as an FBI agent in some of Los Angeles’ worst neighborhoods is all about long stretches of monotony punctuated by brief adrenalin rushes. When it’s exciting, it’s really exciting, says Daniel Hoffer, a 38-year-old partner in the employment department at Greenberg Glusker.
From 1996 to 1998, Hoffer worked on an FBI task force that prosecuted some of Los Angeles’ most violent criminal enterprises. In his third week on the job, he helped serve search and arrest warrants to a notorious street gang at Nickerson Gardens, the state’s largest public housing project.
“I was always interested in the FBI because of reports I’d see on TV or read in the paper, but I never knew if I fit their mold. I just started taking tests and going to the next level, and before I knew it I received my letter of acceptance.” He liked the work from the start. “You just know you’re doing the right thing,” he says.
With marriage on the horizon and, eventually, a family to raise (he now has one son), Hoffer left the FBI in 1998, returning to a safer and more lucrative law practice at Loeb & Loeb. “I had one too many fistfights with a gang member,” he says.
Hoffer says he mostly misses the certainty that his work makes the community better, and the camaraderie of the FBI, which was akin to that of a sports team. He feels the interviewing skills he honed while investigating cases still serve him today in employment law, where oftentimes it comes down to “he said, she said” accusations.
“Interviewing is all about knowing how to elicit information in the right way,” he says. “In both jobs, it’s important that you know how to meet and talk with witnesses. Employment law is a lot about emotions.”