Chapin Cimino’s research challenges a fundamental paradigm of most modern legal theory, which is that law either is or should be based on some single, substantive normative value. Cimino’s work, by contrast, reconsiders the foundational principles of both public and private law through the lens of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics, when applied to law, imagines that the role of law is to promote human flourishing. Professor Cimino enjoys finding support for the virtue ethics approach to law in surprising places, including in student notes taken during eighteenth-century moral philosopher Adam Smith’s course on jurisprudence at the University of Glasgow (published as Lectures on Jurisprudence).
Her interest in virtue ethics finds additional expression in Professor Cimino’s commitment to contemplative lawyering. A longtime mindfulness practitioner, Professor Cimino has been trained to teach mindfulness to lawyers by Warrior One, LLC, in San Francisco. She shares what she has learned with Kline Law students in her casebook classes, including Contracts, First Amendment, and Media Law, and also in a course she developed called Contemplative Lawyering. Professor Cimino also leads weekly drop-in mindfulness sessions for the law school community. A member of the Mindfulness in Law Society, she was chosen to serve as the organization’s Co-President in late 2020.
After receiving her JD with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she served on the Law Review, Professor Cimino clerked for Judge Edmund V. Ludwig of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. After working in law school for Cravath, Swaine and Moore in New York City, she joined Pepper Hamilton LLP in Philadelphia as a commercial litigator. She began teaching at Villanova Law School in 2004. In 2006, she joined the Kline School of Law as an inaugural faculty member.
Professor Cimino’s publications have appeared in the University of Chicago Law Review, the Oregon Law Review, and the Brigham Young Law Review, among other places. She also wrote the Virtue Jurisprudence chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Virtue.
She continues to bring her legal skills to bear on issues of public concern. She represented a journalist in a high-profile freedom of information lawsuit involving the 2016 Democratic Convention, out of which she wrote an article called “Freeing Speech,” published in Thurgood Marshall Law Review, and published an op-ed in US News exploring dangers to a free press. She also serves on the Wallingford – Swarthmore Board of School Directors. She is currently giving pro bono legal assistance to a homeless person who approached her at the local county library in November, 2019. The representation concerns a contract.