Lara Schwartz joined ACS in 2013 and serves as Director of Strategic Engagement. In this role, she focuses on judicial nominations, preserving Americans’ access to our civil justice system, and constitutional interpretation. She coordinates projects and campaigns on a variety of legal and constitutional issues.
She comes to ACS from Media Matters, where she was Senior Counsel and Director of the Courts Matter project, which debunks right-wing media misinformation about the courts. She also previously served as Vice President of External Affairs at the American Association of People with Disabilities and as the Legal Director at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization advocating for LGBT equality.
Lara began her work advocating for a fair judiciary in 2002 as HRC’s counsel for judicial nominations. There, she led the organization’s efforts to block anti-LGBT appeals court nominees and developed HRC’s public education initiative on the importance of a fair and independent judiciary to LGBT rights. Her civil rights work also included advocating for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, federal benefits and protections for same-sex couples, health care issues including mental health parity and services and supports for Americans with disabilities, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and defeating the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment.
An experienced organizational spokesperson, Lara has appeared on national and local television and radio programs including CNN, C-Span’s Washington Journal, the Diane Rehm Show, and the Kojo Nnamdi Show. She has given speeches at universities across the country, participated in panels hosted by the Brookings Institution, the Federalist Society, Concerned Women For America, ACS, and others.
As a ghost writer, Lara wrote and placed op-eds in national publications and local papers of record throughout the country. Her work has been quoted by editorial boards and on broadcast and cable news.
Lara graduated from Brown University in 1993. At Harvard Law School she served as co-editor-in-chief of the Harvard Negotiation Law Review and graduated in 1998.