Lawyer Chapters

About

The American Constitution Society is the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with Lawyer Chapters in nearly 50 cities and active organizing efforts in a number of other locations. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, judges, scholars and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. Our chapters hold public programs across the country each year, generating “intellectual capital” for ready use by progressive allies and shaping debates on key legal and public policy issues. A list of all ACS Lawyer Chapters is available here. If you are interested in helping to organize a Lawyer Chapter, please contact us at LCEmails@acslaw.org or 202-393-6181.

ACS also works to cultivate the next generation of progressive leaders. We use our extensive national network to assist our members with career development, mentorship, and job assistance. Our members get access to job banks, special conference calls, and the opportunity to network with progressive leaders throughout the country. Access our member job bank here.

Not yet an ACS member? Join our network today, or click here to have your membership auto-renew each year.

Lawyers of ACS

November 2021

Loren Kieve (He/Him)
Member, ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors

As a founding member of the San Francisco Bay Area Lawyer Chapter, it has been my privilege to support the ACS in its great work, first under Caroline Frederickson (whose father, the esteemed late Professor George Frederickson, I knew from serving on a Stanford board with him), and now under Russ Feingold.

I have also been blessed to be able to spend a fair amount of my time over the last 27 years helping build the Institute of American Indian Arts (“IAIA”), literally from the ground up, and then expanding its footprint and reach to become the nation’s preeminent educational institution for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

I suspect most of ACS’s readership has never heard of the IAIA, but it is a unique institution in Indian Country and our nation’s educational pantheon. The IAIA’s official name is the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development. In its latest iteration, it was chartered by Congress in 1987. Its roots go back to 1960 when it was founded as a groundbreaking high school for Native Americans to study art and the arts at the Santa Fe Indian School.

In 1994, President Clinton appointed (and the Senate confirmed) me as an IAIA trustee. I was practicing law in Washington, D.C. at the time, and I thought I had gone to heaven. As a Cherokee and an officer of the United States, I got to work with Native Americans, education and art – all passions of mine – in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I had grown up. At that point, the IAIA was housed in leased, substandard space at the College of Santa Fe, including temporary WWII Quonset huts that should have been torn down long ago.

1994 was also the year of the 105th Congress. Under Newt Gingrich’s speakership, Congress started slashing the IAIA’s federal appropriation. Two years later, Congress reduced it to a third of what it had been stating that it would be the last year of federal funding. The IAIA president resigned and, unknown to the board, sent out letters saying that the Institute was going to close. Many of our students left.

I was then elected by my fellow trustees to chair the board. Most people said that we should close up shop, but I had another idea. We had a small $12 million endowment, and a local developer had given us 40 acres ten miles south of town, but there was nothing else there, not even a road. We would take half of the endowment and start building a new campus; reduce our curriculum to its bare bones; and use the remaining money to keep us going as a college.

Read more from Marie and previous Lawyers of ACS here.

At-Large Chapter

Although ACS Chapters can be found in almost every major metropolitan area, there are many who are unable to join one of our existing, location-based chapters due to a variety of circumstances such as a disability, physical location, or work schedule. That is why we launched our At-Large Chapter in 2019: to provide access to progressive programming on critical issues and create avenues to engage with the entire ACS network through an innovative and online-based platform.

Learn more about the At-Large Chapter here.

Membership

Join ACS or renew now and your membership will be current through the end of 2021, a critical year of growth and impact for ACS. Help us invest in ACS chapters, chapter programs, networking, pipeline development, and mentorship work. Thank you for your support!

Programming

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

CLE Credits are a great way to attract new members to an ACS Lawyer Chapter event as well as encourage and incentivize programming attendance for busy ACS lawyers. More on how to apply for CLE here.

Program Guides

If you need ideas for an event, try checking out one of our program guides!

Resources

2021 Model Calendar
ACS’s Tax Exemption Federal Letter
Event Checklist
Lawyer Chapter Handbook
Membership Form (One Pager)
Reimbursement Form
Sample Event Sign-in Sheet
Sample Lawyer Chapter Constitution
Social Media Guidelines
Speaker Release Form
Zoom Guidance

Staff

Meghan Paulas, Vice-President of Network Advancement, mpaulas@acslaw.org
Peggy Li, Director of Chapters, pli@acslaw.org
Jordan Blisk, Associate Director of Chapters, jblisk@acslaw.org
Michelle Herd, Associate Director of Chapters, mherd@acslaw.org
Christopher Lin, Assistant Director of Chapters, clin@acslaw.org
Bridget Lawson, Assistant Director of Chapters, blawson@acslaw.org
Jampa Lhasawa, Chapters Associate, jlhasawa@acslaw.org

Who do I contact to:

Get an RSVP list?
Jampa Lhasawa
Get an email sent to my list?
Jampa Lhasawa
​Change my city/contact information?
Jampa Lhasawa
​Request event funding? Get help with programming and/or speaker ideas?
LCEmails@acslaw.org or your National contact
​Get involved with pro bono or volunteer opportunities?
Ashley Erickson
​Seek media advice or guidance?
LCEmails@acslaw.org
Find my local chapter?
All of our Lawyer Chapters are listed here.