Lee recognized with Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Lee recognized with Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

"Her high expectations inspired me to become the best version of myself as a soon-to-be attorney.”

Katrina Lee, the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Professor in Law and director of the nationally ranked Program on Dispute Resolution at the Moritz College of Law, has been selected for The Ohio State University’s 2024 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Established during the 1959-1960 academic year, it is one of the university's most prestigious teaching awards.

“As the first person in my family to attend law school, I had no idea what to expect,” wrote a graduate in their nomination. “Professor Lee found unique ways to transform her classroom into a law firm setting. But most notably, Professor Lee set high expectations for her students. We understood, from the very beginning of the semester, the importance of producing quality work — not just for her but for our future clients and colleagues as well. Her high expectations inspired me to become the best version of myself as a soon-to-be attorney.”

Katrina Lee
Katrina Lee reacts with surprise upon learning of her award.

Whether teaching foundational courses like Law 1 and Law 2 or advanced seminars and specialized classes such as Legal Negotiations and Business of Law, Lee delivers top-level teaching with remarkable skill and dedication across a range of modalities and contexts, noted her nominators.

What distinguishes Lee is not just her extensive investment of time, energy and dedication to teaching, including personalized feedback and practical workshops, but also her unwavering commitment to inspiring students to make a real impact in law and beyond. Whether incorporating ethics into first-year legal writing or urging students to view research papers as agents for change, Lee’s holistic teaching approach imparts essential legal skills and fosters an environment where students are empowered to effect meaningful societal transformation.

"Katrina's talent for creating a vibrant law firm atmosphere in the classroom and her commitment to setting high standards serve as catalysts for alumni to pursue excellence in their legal careers," said President and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association Molly Ranz Calhoun. "She instills in graduates the drive to excel, not just as lawyers but also as drivers for good across our communities and world.”

Lee joined the faculty at Moritz in 2011 after a career in complex litigation spanning more than 12 years. An accomplished scholar, she is the author of the first-of-its-kind business of law coursebook, The Legal Career: Knowing the Business, Thriving in Practice and co-author of the third edition of the legal writing coursebook, The U.S. Guide to Legal Analysis and Writing. Her work has appeared in numerous journals. She received the Morgan E. Shipman Outstanding Professor Award from the Class of 2022.

Lee serves on the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and the competitions committee (negotiations subcommittee) of the American Bar Association. She is a former president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. She is a board member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Central Ohio and chair of its mentorship committee. In addition, she serves as the chair-elect of the President and Provost’s Council on Women at Ohio State and is a member of the steering committee of the college’s Divided Community Project

"When students reflect on their experience with Katrina, their admiration is unanimous,” said Acting Dean and Robert J. Lynn Chair in Law L. Camille Hébert. “They express profound appreciation not only for her expertise but also for her genuine care and passion for teaching. In peer reviews, her colleagues consistently recognize her as the epitome of excellence in teaching, setting the gold standard for instructional quality at the College of Law."

Lee’s selection was announced by senior leadership during a surprise classroom visit on March 25. Calhoun, Hébert, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Leadership Kay Wolf and Associate Dean for Faculty and Intellectual Life and Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law Ric Simmons offered their congratulations at the celebration.

Senior leadership with Katrina Lee
Molly Ranz Calhoun, Camille Hébert and Kay Wolf congratulate Katrina Lee (third from left) on her award.

"As one student aptly expressed, 'Lee's classes are not just about learning, they're about discovering our potential,'” said Wolf. “Congratulations on this well-deserved teaching award. Your influence extends far beyond the classroom, shaping the future of graduates and their long-lasting impact."

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching recipients are recognized with a $5,000 honorarium made possible by gifts from The Ohio State University Alumni Association, University Advancement and the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA). In addition, OAA awards an increase of $1,200 to each recipient’s base salary. Members are also inducted into Ohio State’s Academy of Teaching.

Annually, a maximum of 10 faculty members are selected for the award in recognition of teaching excellence. Full-time Ohio State faculty members on all campuses with the rank of instructor through full professor in the clinical or tenure track who, in the past three years, have taught undergraduate and/or graduate/professional students are eligible for this award.

Lee and other 2024 faculty award winners will be recognized on April 30 during the annual Faculty Awards Celebration.

Jay LaPrete Photography

Surprise classroom visit photos

Katrina Lee and Kay Wolf during the surprise visit.

Family members congratulate Katrina Lee on her award.

Molly Ranz Calhoun presents Katrina Lee with a memento Buckeye pin.