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.
Lawyers of ACS
Quyen Tu (she/her/ella)
Co-Chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee, ACS Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter
Last summer, as we began to see the disparate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities, KQED published an article on how many children in non-English speaking households are serving as the de facto translators for their family. Boy, did the article resonate with me! As a newly arrived seven-year-old refugee, I did not speak or understand English. By ten, I was the language bridge for my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents as we built our lives in the US.
Like the kids in the article, I still translate for my family. Nine months into a global pandemic, Kaiser Permanente still only had one page of medical information about COVID-19 in Vietnamese. This is appalling because Kaiser is a large, multi-state institution with access to resources. It has numerous locations in Orange County, home of the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. Yet, Kaiser didn’t offer adequate in-language support to the community it serves. Thankfully, I was able to translate for my family members. But what about those who don’t have someone like me? If you don’t speak or read English, how do you let Kaiser and other societal institutions know that your needs aren’t being met?
I was drawn to ACS because of its mission and commitment to diversity, recognizing that we all fundamentally bring value and contribute to American society because of who we are. Working with and representing people who don’t speak English reminds me of my own family’s struggle to communicate. It’s why I continue to learn different languages. I want to lessen the barrier for me to understand and empathize with others. Those moments when I introduce myself as an attorney representing my clients are little capstones in my legal career.
I have wondered where my life would have led me to if I had arrived in an America that was more inclusive of other voices, different voices. In my current role at Alliance for Justice, I help people and organizations find their own voices and speak in whatever language they are most comfortable expressing themselves in to advocate for change. We are cheerleaders for bold advocacy. Whether individually or as a group, I hope that my work and involvement with ACS brings the vision of a more inclusive America closer to fruition.
Read more from Quyen and previous Lawyers of ACS here.
2021 National Convention
This year’s 2021 ACS National Convention, will take place virtually from June 7 to June 11. More details to follow soon.
To view the recordings of last year’s 2020 programming click 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.
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.
COVID-19 and ACS Reimbursement Policy
We are advising that chapter events be planned virtually through the spring. Given the uncertainty and the lack of safety surrounding in-person events at this time, we are also halting funding and reimbursements for event and travel costs. As you are organizing events, if there are anticipated costs, please reach out to your ACS national liaison to further discuss.
If you need help planning a virtual event, please reach out to your ACS national liaison or email LCEmails@acslaw.org.
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!
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.
Keep up-to-date with all of ACS’s impeachment resources here.
If you need ideas for an event, try checking out one of our program guides!
2021 Model Calendar
ACS’s Tax Exemption Federal Letter
Lawyer Chapter Handbook
Membership Form (One Pager)
Sample Event Sign-in Sheet
Sample Lawyer Chapter Constitution
Social Media Guidelines
Speaker Release Form
Election 2020 Checklist
Meghan Paulas, Vice-President of Network Advancement, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peggy Li, Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Jordan Blisk, Associate Director of Chapters, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Herd, Associate Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Christopher Lin, Assistant Director of Chapters, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridget Lawson, Assistant Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Olu Adeosun, Chapters Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Fouad, Assistant Director of Network Communications, email@example.com
Princess Jefferson, Chapters Fellow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do I contact to:
Get an RSVP list?
Get an email sent to my list?
Change my city/contact information?
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?
Seek media advice or guidance?
Find my local chapter?
All of our Lawyer Chapters are listed here.