Lecturer on Law
Denny Chin is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was sworn in on April 26, 2010. He had previously served, from September 13, 1994, through April 23, 2010, as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
In the District Court, Judge Chin presided over a number of important matters, including cases involving Megan's Law, the Million Youth March, Al Franken's use of the phrase "Fair and Balanced" in the title of a book, the Naked Cowboy, and the Google Books project. He also presided over two criminal trials arising out of the United Nations Oil for Food Program, as well as the trial of an Afghan warlord charged with conspiring to import heroin and the guilty plea and sentencing of financier Bernard L. Madoff.
In the Circuit Court, Judge Chin has authored opinions or dissents in cases involving the enforceability of arbitration clauses in on-line agreements, the General Motors bankruptcy, environmental regulations governing the discharge of ballast water from ships, the constitutionality of the government's seizure and retention of computer hard drives, barriers to access for voters with disabilities, and the streaming of copyrighted television broadcasts over the Internet.
Judge Chin graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude and received his law degree from Fordham Law School, where he was managing editor of the Law Review. He clerked for the Honorable Henry F. Werker, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He was associated with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Thereafter, he and two of his colleagues from the U.S. Attorney's Office started a law firm, Campbell, Patrick & Chin. In 1990, he joined Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where he specialized in labor and employment law.
Judge Chin has taught legal writing at Fordham Law School since 1986. In the Spring 2017, he also co-taught a seminar on Asian Americans and the Law at Fordham. While in private practice, he provided extensive pro bono representation to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. He is active in the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court. He has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program, Princeton University, Hartley House, Care for the Homeless, the Clinton Housing Association, the Prospect Park Environmental Center, and the Fordham Law School Alumni Association.
Judge Chin and his wife Kathy Hirata Chin have been the principal authors of a number of scripts of reenactments of historic cases, including This Land Is Our Land: Oyama v. California; Constance Baker Motley, James Meredith, and the University of Mississippi; Justice Denied: Wards Cove v. Atonio; The Heart Mountain Draft Resisters: Conscience, Loyalty, and the Constitution; and 22 Lewd Chinese Women: Chy Lung v. Freeman. These programs have been presented all around the country, including at numerous law schools and universities.
Judge Chin has received numerous awards and honors, including the Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University, the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Judicial Friends, the Abely Award for Leading Women and Children to Safety from Sanctuary for Families, and the Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. He has received honorary doctorates from Fordham University and CUNY Law School and has given commencement addresses at Cardozo Law School, Fordham Law School, Boston University Law School, St. John's Law School, the University of Miami Law School, and Packer Collegiate Institute.