The Law School Magazine The New York University School of Law

Faculty Focus

Kudos to a Dynamic Teacher

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Twice this past year, NYU honored Professor of Clinical Law Anthony Thompson for his teaching and positive influence on the community.

Thompson earned the student-, faculty-, and alumni-nominated Distinguished Teaching Award last April, given to faculty members across the University who have made significant contributions to NYU’s intellectual life through teaching. He received a medal and a $5,000 grant. Last January, Thompson was presented with the student-nominated Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award, for exemplifying King’s spirit by making a favorable contribution in the classroom and the greater University community. The prize carried $2,500 for research funding.

A 14-year veteran of the NYU Law faculty, Thompson teaches the Criminal and Community Defense and the Offender Reentry clinics and explores the effect of race, power, and politics on individuals and communities as they come into contact with our justice system. Current and former students laud his dedication and insight, especially when teaching courtroom skills, and his engagement with ideas about crime and communities. “He is an amazing trial lawyer,” says Shanti Hubbard ’09, E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Vanessa Pai-Thompson ’08, a trial attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, praises Thompson as a teacher and mentor who instills confidence in students. “He’s very good about trying to approach his students not just as students but also as professionals,” she says, “giving you the opportunity to rise to the occasion.” Eli Northrup ’11 agrees: “I’d never given any sort of oral argument. He makes you get up without any notes…it gave me a lot of confidence.”

In addition to producing influential scholarship, including his 2008 book, Releasing Prisoners, Redeeming Communities: Reentry, Race, and Politics, Thompson has served as faculty director of the Root-Tilden-Kern and the Bickel & Brewer Scholarship programs, undertaking administrative responsibilities at the Law School “with remarkable skill and effectiveness and a generous spirit,” says Dean Richard Revesz.

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