Professor Troy McKenzie wins NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award

NYU has recognized Professor of Law Troy McKenzie ’00 with a Distinguished Teaching Award. McKenzie was one of six NYU professors to receive this year’s award, which was established in 1987 to honor “selected outstanding members of the faculty.”

Troy McKenzie '00
Troy McKenzie '00

“I was thrilled,” McKenzie says. “It was wonderful news to get and I’m grateful to the Law School for nominating me, and obviously grateful to the university for selecting me.”

“Troy has been called the most gifted teacher students have had, not only at NYU, but in their entire academic careers. Others have noted that his teaching sets the standard for how all law courses should be taught,” wrote Dean Trevor Morrison in a letter supporting McKenzie’s nomination. “He is able to impart on his students not only deep knowledge about the subjects he teaches, but a genuine curiosity that inspires them to probe further.”

McKenzie, who joined the NYU Law faculty in 2007, teaches courses that include Bankruptcy, Complex Litigation, Procedure, and Supreme Court Seminars. In 2008, after just a year at the Law School, he received the Albert Podell Distinguished Teaching Award, an honor established by Albert Podell ’76 to recognize outstanding achievements of NYU Law faculty. He serves as faculty co-director of two centers at NYU Law, the Center on Civil Justice and the Institute of Judicial Administration.

Prior to his arrival at NYU Law as a professor, he clerked for Judge Pierre Leval of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice John Paul Stevens of the US Supreme Court. He also worked for the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton as an associate. In 2015, he took a public service leave from NYU Law to join the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel as a deputy assistant attorney general, then returned to the Law School in 2017.

McKenzie’s former student Matthew Shahabian ’11, now a senior associate with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe provided a letter in support of McKenzie’s award nomination. He recalls McKenzie’s Procedure class fondly, and lauds his former professor’s pedagogy and mentorship. 

“Troy just has this incredible ability to pull apart these concepts and make something as dry-sounding as ‘civil procedure’ interesting, important, fun, and funny,” Shahabian says. “The other thing he did that was truly remarkable was just take the time to get to know everybody in the class.… He really took his role as a mentor of new law students seriously.” 

In the classroom, McKenzie says he finds great benefit in using the Socratic method not as “an instrument of terror, but a means of opening up materials to careful, thoughtful, lawyerly investigation.” 

Posted June 8, 2020