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

September 2021

Marie E. Masson (she/her)
Co-Chair, ACS Central Florida Lawyer Chapter

I was born and raised in the beautiful island and U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Back home, we are taught that our culture is an amalgamation of the Spanish, indigenous (taíno), and African cultures. However, when I moved to Florida to attend law school, I quickly learned that, outside of the Puerto Rican community, there was little understanding of the unique, intricate culture I grew up cherishing. I am no stranger to discrimination, which is often paired with a lack of knowledge of history and the U.S. Constitution. These personal experiences led me to volunteer early in my career with the Florida Supreme Court’s Justice Teaching program, through which I visited middle schools and high schools to enhance Civics lessons each school year. When young students saw someone who looked like me, talked like me, and came from my island, they too could aspire to love the law and become lawyers or judges one day.

I have had the privilege to represent Fortune 500 companies through my entire career, and in the last 5 years, I have also been able to represent individuals in all matters involving employment and workplace accidents. For all of the mental and physical demands of a legal job, it seldom provides the satisfaction that volunteer work has given me. I will always be proud of my work over many years with the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida, my contributions to the founding of the Legal Services Clinic of the Puerto Rican Community in Orlando after hurricane Maria, and the continuing efforts to bring light into the constitutionality of Puerto Rico’s political status.

After the grueling 2020 election cycle ended, I reflected on my roles as private sector lawyer, volunteer election observer, and Hispanic community activist. Like so many of my colleagues, I felt the need for change when I saw our democracy imperiled by steady blows to the rule of law and Constitutional precedents. This day and age invariably points us toward social media when we search for news, sources of hope, and opportunities. While browsing LinkedIn, the American Constitution Society popped up on my feed through a post by a law school connection, who also happens to work for ACS. I immediately recalled ACS’s mission and purpose, and thus, my search for other ways to make an impactful contribution considering all my former roles and experience was over.

Central Florida has been my home for the last decade and I am proud to be a co-chair of the ACS Central Florida Lawyer Chapter. Our community is one of the most diverse in the entire State of Florida and its resilience in the wake of adversity has been historic. Our chapter aims at creating change in small and steady steps, with the goal to be a significant source of progressive legal policies and a beacon to fair-minded judicial aspirants of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. I am looking forward to working with the national ACS office and other Lawyer Chapters, and seeing the organization become the best it can be for the future of our country.

Read more from Marie and previous Lawyers of ACS here.

2021 National Convention

This year’s 2021 ACS National Convention took place virtually from June 7 to June 11. This year’s convention focused on the Constitution’s “founding failures” when it comes to race and equality in this country, and reckoning with our past to create a more just future. Thank you to all who attended and made this event such a success!

To view the recordings of this year’s 2021 programming click here.

Supreme Court

Over the last four years, the U.S. Senate has engaged in an unprecedented power grab, placing the Court and our democracy in a new and perilous state. But the ACS lawyers and law students are not going to sit quietly by as the Right takes away their future. We must, and will, respond swiftly and forcefully to make clear that this fantasy of minority rule enforced by captured courts is just that. Courts that are in need of reform will be reformed. See ACS President Russ Feingold’s interview with Bloomberg describing our work with the new administration on federal courts here.
You can also read Russ’s letter to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States here.

ACS Stands With the Civil Rights Community, Condemning Racism and Violence

As ACS President Russ Feingold and ACS Executive Vice President Zinelle October said in their joint statement last summer, we at ACS are grieving over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others at the hands of police. These murders and acts of violence are rooted in systemic racism and we stand with our Black and Brown communities who feel this pain most acutely.

ACS is committed to be a part of the change that’s so desperately needed. While we revere the Constitution, defend democracy, and work toward a more just union, we cannot ignore the racist history of our nation’s founding documents. We must continue to work to uphold and insist that our leaders 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—including the lives of Black and Brown people.

Read the Statement.

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.

Impeachment Resources

Keep up-to-date with all of ACS’s impeachment resources 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
Election 2020 Checklist

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.