In November 2020, Professor Chapin Cimino was appointed co-president of the Mindfulness in Law Society (MILS), a non-profit organization established in 2016 serving and supporting U.S. legal professionals interested in learning about and practicing mindfulness.
Cimino leads MILS with Scott Rogers, a longtime mindfulness practitioner and lecturer at the University of Miami School of Law. One of their main goals is to continue providing “social-emotional” support to anyone who is practicing both mindfulness and the law, as they will be doing at the upcoming National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) annual convention.
Beginning in 2021, MILS and NBLSA are partnering to facilitate a year of anti-racism programming. For Cimino, the connection between mindfulness and anti-racism is especially germane. The practice of mindfulness, according to Cimino, is the practice of seeing things clearly. This perspective leads to an understanding of how people are all connected, which provides one important impetus for anti-racism. The events, which are open to anyone in the U.S. legal community, begin on February 11. More than 470 people registered for the first event in the series.
As co-president, Cimino also plans to continue supporting students interested in mindfulness. From Cimino’s mindfulness work at Kline Law, which began with coordinating a book discussion group (“Conscious Lawyering”) and now includes a credit-bearing course (“Contemplative Lawyering”), she saw how vital mindfulness practices are in helping students navigate the challenges of studying and practicing law. Mindfulness practices, she said, strengthen inner resources, like clear-seeing, compassion, equanimity, and concentration.
“In my experience, people say they come to law school wanting to do some good, help people, and change the world,” said Cimino. “But soon after arriving, they start worrying about being at the top of the grading curve, getting onto Law Review, winning trial team, etc. They internalize the objective markers of success. They begin to build a dichotomy between objective success and the internal drive for meaning that brought them here. The study of mindfulness and contemplative practice helps remove these sort of false barriers.”
Breaking down perceived barriers is something Cimino encourages her students to do in the mindfulness practices she hosts at Kline Law. For more information on these mindfulness events, click here.
Cimino is also participating in a Kline Law event on mindfulness on Friday, February 19 at 12 p.m.