Hon. Mary Kay Vyskocil ’83 is Confirmed as a U.S. District Judge

Mary Kay Vyskocil '83 becomes a federal judge
December 19, 2019

Hon. Mar Kay Vyskocil, who currently presides as a federal bankruptcy judge in New York, has been confirmed to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

After graduating from St. John’s Law, Judge Vyskocil, practiced commercial litigation at the leading international law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP for more than 30 years. In that time, she earned wide recognition as a stellar trial attorney handling complex insurance and reinsurance cases involving domestic and foreign insurers, including numerous arbitrations, jury trials, and appellate arguments. She brought that courtroom experience and legal insight into public service when she was sworn in as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the SDNY in 2016. 

Outside of her distinguished law practice and service on the bench, Judge Vyskocil has contributed to the profession in a range of roles. She is president of the Federal Bar Council and was chair of its Second Circuit Court Committee. She is a founding member and officer of the New York Inn of Court and a trustee of the Historical Society of the New York Courts.

Among her earlier federal judicial appointments, Judge Vyskocil was involved in the Second Circuit Study on Racial, Ethnic & Gender Fairness, served on the SDNY Judicial Improvement Committee Advisory Group, and was a Departmental Disciplinary Committee hearing referee and a member of the SDNY Judicial Merits Selection Panel for Magistrate Judges. She also worked to support and sustain the profession at the state level as a member of the Advisory Council on the New York State Commercial Division

With a deep commitment to helping others, Judge Vyskocil has been a member of the board of directors of the Judges & Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert, a trustee of St. Joseph’s Seminary, a member of the executive committee of the Lawyers Committee of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, and a trustee of Dominican College of Blauvelt, among other current and past volunteer work. She is also a tireless supporter of St. John’s Law, serving as past president of its Alumni Association Board of Directors and on its Center for Law and Religion’s advisory board.

“Every year, when I address our graduates at commencement, I encourage them to use their law degree to give back to their communities and uplift others,” says Dean Michael A. Simons. “As a lawyer, as a judge, and as a person who follows the Vincentian call to selfless service, Mary Kay provides an excellent example for our graduates and students to follow. Her confirmation to the District Court is a well-deserved honor, and I know she will thrive in her newest role.”

As Judge Vyskocil takes this next step on her professional path, the perspective she shared several years ago in the Law School’s alumni magazine is evergreen: “I feel very strongly that being a lawyer is an honored and privileged profession and that each of us is entrusted with the responsibility to see that justice is afforded to everyone, most particularly those most in need,” she said, adding, “With our privileged position comes a responsibility to give back to the community, to strive to make a difference in the lives of people in need of assistance, and to make a meaningful contribution to our community.”