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 earlier this week, 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.
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.
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 fall. 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.
2020 National Convention
Thank you for joining us for the 2020 ACS Virtual National Convention, an unprecedented event for unprecedented times. We were honored to present an impressive lineup of national legal leaders, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Michele Goodwin, Pam Karlan, Ron Klain, and Vanita Gupta. You can review the videos of our invigorating week of programming and networking here!
Join ACS or renew now and your membership will be current through the end of 2020, 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.
2019 ACS National Lawyer Convening
Progressive lawyers and advocates from around the country gathered in Atlanta in October for the 2019 ACS National Lawyer Convening. The Convening program centered around the belief that the law can and should be a force to improve the lives of all people and empowered ACS leaders to help lead the charge! From strengthening leadership skills to developing a creative litigation strategy to becoming a judge, attendees heard about tangible ways to further this goal as progressive attorneys and advocates.
Check our convening page for photos and videos from the Convening.
2019 Program Guide: Progressive Federalism
2018 Program Guide: Safeguarding the Rule of Law
2017 Program Guide: Fighting For Our First Freedoms
2016 Program Guide: Are All Voters Created Equal?
Lawyers in Action
ACS Michigan: Policing and Police Reform (June 19, 2020)
On June 19, 2020, the ACS Michigan, Austin, Chicago, Columbus, Houston, Los Angeles, Madison, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Northeast Ohio, Oregon, Puget Sound, Washington, DC, and Western New York Chapters hosted a timely discussion on policing and police reform with Professor Jelani Jefferson Exum, a leading expert in sentencing law, sentencing procedure, and the impact of race on criminal justice.
Jelani Jefferson Exum is the Philip J. McElroy Professor of Law and ACS Faculty Advisor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Thank you to Professor Exum and to Matt Monahan, President of the ACS Michigan Chapter, for participating in this vital discussion.
ACS New York: People Over Profits: Using Law and Policy to Ensure Coronavirus Vaccine Equity (May 28, 2020)
On Thursday, May 28, the ACS New York, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Northeast Ohio, Puget Sound, San Diego, and Washington, DC Chapters, along with a panel of legal, policy, and medical experts, explored existing legal tools and proposed legislation to protect the American people from attempts to charge unaffordable prices for coronavirus treatments and vaccines. The panel discussed various tools that could be used to promote equitable access, including overriding drug patents for public use, government march-in rights to counteract high prices for taxpayer-funded drugs, and public manufacturing of coronavirus-related treatments and products.
Thank you to the ACS New York Lawyer Chapter for organizing this discussion, to Joel Dodge of the ACS New York Lawyer Chapter for moderating, and to our speakers, Kathryn Ardizzone, Abdul El-Sayed, Osaremen Fortune Okolo, and Zain Rizvi, for joining.
View past Lawyers in Action events here.
Lawyers of ACS
Ariel Levinson-Waldman (he/him/his)
Member, ACS Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter; Author, A New Frontier for Civil Rights: Ending Discriminatory Driver’s License Suspension Schemes (ACS Issue Brief 2019)
At each of my professional stops before founding Tzedek DC – as a law clerk, as a Fellow at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, in private practice, and during my eight years serving in the DC and federal governments – ACS and its national convention, issue briefs, individual events, and informal gatherings have all been a highly valued resource for both ideas and meeting terrific people. I have also been honored to be an ACS mentor at a series of events over the years and to have the opportunity to give back.
Read more from Ariel and previous Lawyers of ACS here.
2020 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
Zinelle October, Executive Vice-President & Vice-President of Network Advancement, email@example.com
Meghan Paulas, Senior Director of Chapters, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peggy Li, Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Molly Greene, Associate Director of Chapters, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jordan Blisk, Assistant Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Michelle Herd, Assistant Director of Chapters, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Lin, Assistant Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Sam Fouad, Assistant Director of Network Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jake Mazeitis, Lawyer Chapters Fellow, email@example.com
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All of our Lawyer Chapters are listed here.