Lawyer Chapters in Action
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.
New York Lawyer Chapter
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.
On February 4, the ACS Michigan Chapter, in partnership with the ACS University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Student Chapter and the University of Detroit Mercy Black Student Union, hosted a panel discussion on progressive prosecution and criminal justice. The panel included Hon. Aramis Ayala, the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Valerie Newman, the Director of the Conviction Integrity Unit at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and a former member of the ACS Michigan Chapter Board of Directors, and speaker & exoneree Aaron Salter. The event was moderated by Matt Monahan, the Chair of the ACS Michigan Chapter.
The panelists talked about a wide number of topics, including the implications of progressive prosecution and potential struggles associated with progressive prosecution and what it means to engage in prosecutorial work with an eye towards equity. Members of the audience also contributed to the dialogue, asking questions of the panelists and offering their own insights and experiences.
Our thanks to the various event hosts, our exceptional panelists, and the audience for an engaging and informative event!
Kentucky Lawyer Chapter
On August 21, the ACS Kentucky Lawyer Chapter, in partnership with the Louisville Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church & State and the ACLU of Kentucky, hosted a discussion at Monnik Beer Company about the role of religion in public schools, a conversation inspired by a recent state law mandating the placement of “In God We Trust” in all Kentucky public schools. The panelists included Jason Crosby, a legal fellow at the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Heather Gatnarek, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Kentucky, and Colin McNamara, a minister at Crescent Hill Baptist Church.
The panelists talked about a wide number of topics, including the acceptability of starting board meetings, athletic events, graduations, etc. with prayer, the limits of publicly-funded bible literacy classes, and the legality of choirs and bands at public schools performing religious songs. Members of the 60+ person audience also contributed to the dialogue, asking questions of the panelists and offering their own insights and experiences.
Our thanks to ACS Kentucky Lawyer Chapter Co-Chair Kate Crosby, our exceptional panelists, and the ACS Kentucky Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for organizing such a successful and timely event!
Bay Area Lawyer Chapter
On July 1, the ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter hosted its 10th Annual Gala, entitled “Truth in the Trump Era,” and invited speakers and elected officials from across the Bay Area and the state of California to discuss their work combatting the current administration’s attacks on the rule of law.
Following some networking and conversation, attendees heard from several distinguished panelists, including Ann O’Leary, Chief of Staff to California Governor Gavin Newsom; Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary for Environmental Protection at CalEPA; and Julie Su, Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Carla Marinucci, a Senior Writer for POLITCO California Playbook moderated the discussion. In addition, the Honorable Dennis Herrera, the City Attorney of San Francisco, member of ACS’s National Board of Advisors and the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors delivered a powerful keynote address. This year’s Fearless Advocate Award was given to the Honorable Jessica Jackson, National Director and Co-Founder, #cut50, member of ACS’s Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors, and Next Generation Leader (NGL).
Our thanks to our sponsors for their generous support of the Chapter's work and to the ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for organizing this incredibly successful event.
Philadelphia Lawyer Chapter
On June 3, the Chapter partnered with the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia and the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania to host a panel on a novel reentry court program for helping formerly incarcerated individuals reenter society. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has placed the city at the center of progressive criminal justice efforts nationwide, and this program helped to further the conversation. The discussion featured Eddie Cardona, a reentry court graduate; Jana Law, Deputy Chief Probation Officer for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Rob Reed, Executive Deputy Pennsylvania Attorney General; Jacqueline Romero, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and a member of the ACS Chapter’s Board of Directors; and Ross Thompson, Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit moderated the insightful discussion. Our thanks to White and Williams LLP for hosting and to the ACS Philadelphia Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for organizing this impactful event.
Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter
On May 15, 2019, the ACS Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter hosted four state judges for a roundtable lunch discussion about their time serving as a judge and their unique paths to the bench. The Chapter’s hard work advertising paid off with a packed room. Attendees heard from Judges Philip C. Carruthers and Charlene W. Hatcher of the Minnesota Fourth Judicial District Court, Judge Peter M. Reyes, Jr., of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and Associate Justice David L. Lillehaug of the Minnesota Supreme Court. The judges led an insightful hour of conversation, moderated by Assistant Ramsey County Attorney and Co-President of the ACS Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter Saraswati Singh. Our thanks to the event’s host, Robins Kaplan LLP; to its cosponsors, the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, and the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association; and to the ACS Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for all its hard work.
Chicago Lawyer Chapter
On May 20, 2019, the ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter hosted Emory University Professor of African-American Studies Carol Anderson for a discussion on her critically acclaimed book, One Person No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying our Democracy. Professor Anderson shared her expertise on the history and current tactics of voter suppression – as well as her famed sense of humor – in conversation with ACS member Jerry Brown, a tax attorney at Siegel & Callahan, P.C. The lunchtime program quickly reached capacity, with attendees from the Chapter and the event’s cosponsor, the Cook County Bar Association, eager to hear from Professor Anderson and her extensive knowledge of the legal obstacles faced by the black community in America. We are grateful to the program's host, Carpenter, Lipps & Leland, LLP, for providing the space and lunch, and to the ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for its efforts in planning a fantastic program.
Boston Lawyer Chapter
On April 11, 2019, the ACS Boston Lawyer Chapter hosted a night of networking and discussion led by ACS Founder and Massachusetts Appeals Court Associate Justice Peter J. Rubin and ACS Vice President of Strategic Engagement Jill Dash. The spirited and well-attended talk – entitled, “Liberty, Equality, Democracy, and the Rule of Law: Restoring Our Constitutional Values” – focused on Justice Rubin’s initial vision for ACS and how that vision has changed in light of recent attacks to the rule of law and the Constitution under the current administration. ACS Boston Lawyer Chapter President Robert Whitney provided closing remarks on behalf of the Chapter. A networking reception for attending law students and lawyers followed. The program was cosponsored by the ACS Student Chapters at Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts School of Law, New England Law | Boston, Northeastern University School of Law, and Suffolk University School of Law. Our thanks to our generous hosts at Mintz Levin, and to the ACS Boston Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for their efforts in planning a fantastic evening.
Oregon Lawyer Chapter
On March 13, 2019, the ACS Oregon Lawyer Chapter held its Annual Dinner honoring three progressive champions on the West Coast. A lively networking reception gave way to dinner and a welcome from both the Chapter and ACS National to kick off the evening’s events. The night’s keynote speaker, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha L. Walters, roused the audience with a poignant reflection on the need for state court funding. The 2019 Hans A. Linde Award went to the Honorable Rocky Barilla, former Representative in the Oregon Legislative Assembly, whose long career defending the rights of immigrants includes his pioneering of Oregon’s 1987 Sanctuary Law. The Chapter also awarded ACLU Staff Attorney Leland Baxter-Neal and Stoll Berne Attorney Nadia Dahab its inaugural Rising Star award for their efforts in the immigrant rights space. The evening proved to be a moving testament to the past and ongoing work done by attorneys and judges around the state to make Oregon a welcome place for immigrants and a national leader in the fight for their fair legal treatment. We are grateful to Portland City Grill for hosting another memorable Annual Dinner, and owe a huge thank you to Chapter Chair Bradley Krupicka and Board Members Erin Roycroft and Shelby Smith for all their hard work in planning a wonderful event.
Georgia Lawyer Chapter
On February 6, 2019, the Georgia Lawyer Chapter honored three heroes in the local – and national – progressive legal community at its annual Legal Legends Awards Reception. The event, hosted at Atlanta law firm Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP, sold out weeks in advance thanks to hard work of the Chapter and this year’s high-profile honorees. After a lively reception and a welcome from both the Chapter and ACS National, the evening advanced to celebrating the three honorees of the Chapter’s 2019 Legal Legends Awards: the Honorable Leah Ward Sears, Partner at Smith Gambrell and former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, and member of the Chapter’s Board of Advisors; Monica Modi Khant, Executive Director of the Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network (GAIN); and the Honorable Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight and also a member of the Chapter’s Board of Advisors. Justice Sears’ storied career and Khant’s groundbreaking work and warm humor were deserving companions to the inspiring remarks from Abrams – a true highlight, as she had just given the response to the State of the Union address the prior evening. We are grateful to the Georgia Lawyer Chapter Executive Committee, especially Director of Awards Reception and Fundraiser Katherine Dunn and Co-Chairs Meredith Kincaid and Megan Pulsts, for their hard work in executing such an uplifting evening for the honorees, their guests, and everyone in attendance.
Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter
On January 22, 2019, the Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter, the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC), and the DC Abortion Fund hosted a panel of experts for a discussion entitled “Roe Revisited? The Future of Reproductive Justice.” Recent threats to reproductive health and expert panelists drew a huge crowd with standing-room only. After ACS introductions by Associate Director of Chapters Brian William Kaufman and Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter Board Member Susan Wilker, the evening’s moderator, Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, led the panel through a spirited discussion. The experts explained how Roe v. Wade has become a socio-legal platform for other civil liberties within the reproductive justice space and discussed its future under the new makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court. They outlined existing barriers to accessing quality health care, including abortion care, and emphasized both the intersectionality of reproductive rights and the need to diversify public interest efforts in this space, whether via changes in leadership or an increased focus on community-based action. Our panelists – board-certified obstetrician gynecologist and advocate Sara Imershein, CAC Director of policy Kristine A. Kippins, and DC Abortion Fund Policy Director Jennifer C. Wang – kept the audience’s rapt attention throughout the complex and detailed discussion.
Our thanks to CAC for generously hosting over 100 attendees, to the DC Abortion fund for their successful partnership, and to the Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for planning and executing an incredibly successful program.
Houston Lawyer Chapter
On December 17, 2018, the Houston Lawyer Chapter hosted six newly elected Texas state court judges and justices and one existing Texas state court judge for a Gavel Gap Holiday Party titled, “Diversity in State Court Judiciaries.” The event, moderated by Vinson & Elkins Associate and ACS Houston Lawyer Chapter Board Member Robert Landicho, kicked off with fiery testimony from each panelist regarding their reason for running: a visible lack of diversity on the bench, a calling to enforce the rule of law, or the simple conviction that “I could do this job better.” The panelists challenged our attendees to see themselves as future judges and noted that access, mentorship, and a transparent process are key to increasing diversity in state court judiciaries. They spoke to the remarkable energy in this class of elected state judges, whose historic success is already inspiring not only local attorneys and law students, but people all around the country. The panel featured Justice-Elect Frances Bourliot, Fourteenth Court of Appeals, Place 5; Judge Mike Engelhart, 151st Civil District Court; Justice-Elect Sarah Beth Landau, Texas Court of Appeals, First District, Place 6; Judge Elect Beau Miller, 190th Civil District Court; Judge-Elect Latosha Lewis Payne, 55th Civil District Court; Judge-Elect Lauren Reeder, 234th Civil District Court; and Judge-Elect Raul Rodriguez, Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 13.
Our thanks to Vinson & Elkins, LLP for generously hosting this spectacular event, and to the Houston Lawyer Chapter Board of Directors for their efforts in planning and execution.
Arizona Lawyer Chapter
On November 15th, 2018, the Arizona Lawyer Chapter ACS held a highly anticipated “#MeToo: Law and Ethics” panel discussion at Arizona State University Law School in downtown Phoenix, moderated by Scottsdale employment attorney Denise Blommel. The 1.5-hour event drew a diverse legal crowd of over 50 audience members ranging from law partners to law students and encouraged a lively discussion regarding gender relations in the legal community. Professor Allison Gabriel kicked off the conversation by explaining the psychology behind workplace incivility and competition as it relates between and within the genders. EEOC Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill addressed the reality of sex-based harassment in the workplace, stressing that it is woefully underreported. Kelly Dermody, attorney and women’s rights advocate, further examined some of the reasons harassment goes unreported, and both Dermody and O’Neill shared that coming forward is imperative, regardless of title, as perpetrators rarely only harass a single person. Lynda Shely, a well-known authority on legal ethics in Arizona, outlined the ethical rules of conduct and sparked discussion with several “What would you do?” questions. This event concluded with a discussion of practical solutions, including investigations being conducted by neutral third parties and swifter actions being taken, and the need for each of us to act in our communities, as the law can only support but not ensure justice.
Maryland Lawyer Chapter
On October 23, the Maryland Lawyer Chapter joined the University of Maryland School of Law and University of Baltimore School of Law Student Chapters for a panel and networking discussion on the Baltimore consent decree and local police reform measures. The discussion was led by a panel of experts who all deal with police reform from various perspectives: attorney Puneet Cheema from the U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division, Baltimore City Solicitor Andre Davis, Director of Special Litigation Deborah Katz-Levi from the Baltimore Office of the Public Defender, CEO Ray Kelly of the No Boundaries Coalition, and Deputy Monitor Seth Rosenthal from the Baltimore Police Department Monitoring Team. We’re grateful to Chapter Co-Chairs Melissa Rothstein and Matthew Schroll, as well as to our ACS Student Chapters in Baltimore, for their efforts in executing such a successful and important discussion!
Columbus Lawyer Chapter
On September 13, the Columbus Lawyer Chapter held a discussion entitled “The Future of the U.S. Supreme Court with Erwin Chemerinsky” at Jones Day. The two-hour program featured Erwin Chemerinsky with an introduction by Carly Edelstein and Ben Menker. Professor Chemerinsky led the at-capacity crowd through a lively talk on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Court’s future in a post-Kennedy era. We are grateful to Professor Chemerinsky for his leadership in this important national conversation and to Jones Day for their generosity in hosting the event.
Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter
On September 20, 2018, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter hosted their 2018 Progressive Law Benefit, a record-breaking fundraiser. A gathering of members from the local progressive community, the star-studded evening started with a welcome video from U.S. Senators for Minnesota Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. The Theater of Public Policy kept the fun going as they quizzed a host of distinguished panelists: the Honorable John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney; the Honorable Melisa Franzen, Minnesota State Senator for District 49; John Gordon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Minnesota; Professor Heidi Kitrosser from the University of Minnesota School of Law; the Honorable Erin Maye Quade, Minnesota State Rep. for District 57A; and the Honorable Ryan Winkler, former Minnesota State Rep. for District 46A.
Our gratitude to Chapter Co-Presidents Chris Henjum and Saraswati Singh and the entire Board of Directors for their leadership in planning this memorable evening.
Northeast Ohio Chapter
On September 24, 2018, the Northeast Ohio Chapter celebrated its Annual Luncheon, with over 160 individuals in attendance. Lee Fisher, Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, provided the keynote address focused on the importance of public service through all areas of the legal profession. Dean Fisher was also the recipient of this year’s Stephanie Tubbs Jones Award for Community Service. The Honorable Ronald B. Adrine, former Administrative and Presiding Judge, Cleveland Municipal Court, received the Northeast Ohio Chapter’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. Judge Adrine emphasized access to justice through a robust judiciary that addressed implicit bias and racial inequalities. After receiving their respective awards, Marquettes Robinson of the Northeast Ohio Chapter’s Executive Board moderated a fireside conversation between Dean Fisher and Judge Adrine, who highlighted why they chose to dedicate their careers to public service and the power of progressive advocacy while also taking questions from the audience.
Our gratitude to Ryan Babiuch, President of the Northeast Ohio Chapter, and the entire Executive Board for their hard work and energy in executing such a fantastic event!
Connecticut Lawyer Chapter
Our featured event for August 2018 comes from ACS’s newly revitalized Connecticut Lawyer Chapter. On August 9, the chapter held its kickoff event entitled “Townhall Discussion with Senator Blumenthal” at the Hartford Public Library, where the chapter discussed the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The one-hour program featured U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) as he answered questions from members of the chapter and the local community. Strong attendance quickly pushed the space to standing room only. The audience asked questions on a variety of topics, from what Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would mean for the Court to Senator Blumenthal’s legislative work. We eagerly await the promising future for progressive legal events in Connecticut!
Arizona Lawyer Chapter
Our featured event for March 2018 comes from our brand-new Arizona Lawyer Chapter. On March 6, the chapter held its inaugural event entitled “A Year of Decision: Prospects for Progressive Change in Voting Rights and Election Law in 2018” at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The program featured Roopali Desai, Partner, Coppersmith Brockelman PLC; Joel Edman, Executive Director, Arizona Advocacy Network; Nina Perales, Vice President of Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); Josh Sellers, Associate Professor of Law, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; and Bruce Spiva, Partner, Perkins Coie LLP. The event got the Arizona Lawyer Chapter off to a great start. Special thanks to the new Arizona Lawyer Chapter Board, and especially Chapter President Andrew Jacobs, for all of their hard work in getting the Chapter off the ground. We are looking forward to more amazing events in the Phoenix area!
Bay Area Lawyer Chapter
Our first featured event for February 2018 is the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter’s program “Sexual Harassment & The Judiciary: What's Next After Kozinski?” The program featured Heidi Bond, New York Times bestselling author and former clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski; Kelly Dermody, Managing Partner, Lieff Cabraser's San Francisco Office; Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor, Slate Magazine; and Emily Murphy, Associate Professor of Law, University of California Hastings. The discussion centered around the root of the sexual harassment issues currently facing the judiciary and the legal world, as well as potential solutions for institutional change. Over 50 people attended the event, with an even larger audience tuning in via a live stream on Facebook. Congratulations to the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter for hosting such a timely and poignant discussion.
Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter
The second February 2018 event of the month was the Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter’s event entitled “Getting Involved in State and Local Government: A Conversation About Careers in Offices of Attorneys General in the DC Area.” The event featured Loren AliKhan, Acting Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia; Carly Rush, Deputy General Counsel, Minority Staff of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; and Leah Tulin, Special Assistant to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. The panelists discussed their experiences working in the offices of the Attorney General for DC, Virginia, and Maryland, respectively, and provided advice to attendees on how to get involved in such work. The panel discussion was followed by questions from the crowd and time for networking. Thanks to the Executive Board of the Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter for putting on such an informative event!
Austin Lawyer Chapter
The November 2017 event of the month was the Austin Lawyer Chapter’s program entitled “The Extent of, and Limitations on, Presidential Power.” Held on November 29 at the Austin Bar Association, the event featured a panel discussion with Emily Berman, Assistant Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, and Stephen I. Vladeck, A. Dalton Cross Professor in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. The session explored the contours of the executive branch’s powers, touching on presidential pardons, emoluments, special counsel investigations, and surveillance. ACS would like to thank the Austin Lawyer Chapter Board for setting up such timely and informative events throughout 2017.
ACS National Lawyer Convening
From October 19 to October 21, 2017, progressive legal minds from around the country gathered in beautiful Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the first ever ACS National Lawyer Convening! There were more than 120 people in attendance with representatives from 16 states and the District of Columbia, including 19 ACS Lawyer Chapters, and what a time we had together! From networking events at the Milwaukee City Hall Rotunda to the Milwaukee Public Market, attendees got to spend quality time discussing important progressive legal issues and making invaluable connections. With panels and presentations on topics like voting rights, the state of the judiciary, criminal justice, and tips and tricks for progressive leadership, our ACS attendees left with renewed energy and insight on the most pressing legal issues of our time!
Nashville Lawyer Chapter
The September 2017 Lawyer Chapter event of the month was Nashville’s annual Supreme Court Preview, held on September 7th at the offices of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC. More than 100 people attended the event. The hour-long session was headlined by Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor at Slate Magazine, who has won multiple awards for her writings on law and the courts, and also hosts the podcast Amicus. Dahlia discussed the recent protests and violence in Charlottesville, as well as key cases and themes from the previous U.S. Supreme Court term. The event concluded after a Q&A session with the audience. Thank you all who attended and our hard-working Nashville Chapter Board and Board of Advisors, particularly president Hunter Branstetter and Supreme Court Preview Chair Nicholas Alexiou. We want to extend special thanks to photographer Ross Jaynes for donating his services. To view a recording of the event, click here.
Northeast Ohio Chapter
Our August 2017 event of the month is the Northeast Ohio Chapter’s 2017 Annual Luncheon. The event brought together the progressive legal community to honor former U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon with the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Service Award for her longstanding service to the Ohio community, her leadership on the Cleveland Consent Decree, voting rights issues, the opioid epidemic, and much more. The event featured remarks from Steve Dettelbach, former U.S. Attorney; the Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr., United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Ohio; and Dave Rowan, Chief Legal Officer of the Cleveland Clinic. Attendees included two members of the Cleveland City Council, as well as numerous other elected officials and judges. The program culminated with a conversation between Ms. Rendon and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Connie Schultz. Our congratulations to chapter chair Ryan Babiuch, past chair Michael Meuti, and the entire Northeast Ohio board on an inspiring and meaningful event.
Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter
On July 10, 2017, the Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter hosted an exciting and in-depth program reviewing the U.S. Supreme Court's most recent term, with over 80 attendees! This event featured, Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and moderated by Catherine M.A. Carroll, Partner at WilmerHale. Both parties shared their thoughts and insights on this year’s most significant and high-profile decisions. Dean Chemerinsky has authored more than 200 law review articles, is the author of ten books, and was named the most influential person in legal education in the United States by the National Jurist magazine. Ms. Carroll's practice focuses on appellate litigation in the US Supreme Court and the federal courts of appeals and was named a "Rising Star" by Law360 as one of the top appellate attorneys under 40 years old. Thanks to the chapters leadership, the Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter has had an amazing year holding programs on topics such as, the future of digital free speech, private prisons being unconstitutional, defending civil liberties, mixers, and happy hours, just to name a few of their great events! Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter on a wonderful event!
ACS 2018 National Convention
From June 8 – 10, 2017, ACS held the National Convention in Washington, D.C. and nearly 800 of the nation’s leading progressive lawyers, law professors, policy advocates, judges, law students, and elected officials made the event one to remember. This year’s event featured a truly amazing lineup of speakers, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Attorney General of Massachusetts Maura Healey, Southern Center for Human Rights President Steve Brights, and Constitutional Rights Advocate Khizr Khan. Topics presented included constitutional governance, immigration, voting rights, reproductive rights, housing segregation, and government transparency. Outside of the classroom, attendees got to network with like-minded colleagues during speed networking, a welcome reception, various happy hours, and leadership sessions. We are looking forward to another great National Convention in Washington D.C from June 2018!
Boston Lawyer Chapter
On May 8, 2017, the Boston Lawyer Chapter organized a brown bag lunch program featuring Jim Tierney, former Maine Attorney General, Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, the Director of StateAG.org, an educational resource on state attorneys general, and a member of the advisory committee for the ACS State Attorneys General project. For this event, Mr. Tierney led a discussion on the role of state attorneys general in the American legal system, which examined the multifaceted responsibilities of this office by analyzing the emerging issues and areas of jurisdiction in which state attorneys general play an increasingly important role. The conversation also explored ways in state attorneys general can work to safeguard the civil liberties of marginalized communities facing new threats under President Trump’s administration. This event was one of many programs featuring Mr. Tierney and ACS’s lawyer chapters across the country during the spring and summer months of 2017.
Columbus Lawyer Chapter
On April 28, 2017, the Columbus Lawyer Chapter held its annual reception. The event honored several leaders of the local progressive legal community, including Rachel Bloomekatz, Principal at Gupta Wessler PLLC, who received the Progressive Young Leadership Award, bestowed “in honor of outstanding contributions made by an individual whose early commitment to upholding the fundamental values of the constitution is an example to all that follow.” The event also honored Professor Daniel P. Tokaji from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, who received the Excellence in Mentorship Award, given “in honor of exemplary work in inspiring and developing progressive lawyers through mentorship, advisement, and support.” The program’s keynote speaker was Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and recipient of the John Robert M. Duncan Award, bestowed “in honor of making invaluable contributions to democracy, fostering legal education, ensuring access to justice, and preserving individual rights and the rule of law.” The honorees addressed numerous timely topics, including voting rights, the First Amendment, and gender equality, particularly the value placed on women as they age. Sponsors included Bricker & Eckler LLP at the gold level, and bronze sponsors Georgeann Corey, Maryline and John Kulewicz, and an anonymous sponsor. Congratulations to the entire Columbus Lawyer Chapter, particularly co-chairs Nikki Trautman Baszynski and Dylan Borchers, and event chair Michael Corey, for a fantastic event.
San Diego Lawyer Chapter
On March 15, 2017, the San Diego Lawyer Chapter held its annual reception with a new fundraising record and a full house of attendees to celebrate the event. This year’s theme was “The Supreme Court in the Trump Years,” and featured Linda Greenhouse, Yale Law School Senior Research Scholar in Law, Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence, and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law; and member of the ACS Board of Advisors. Also featured and honored with the Roberto Alvarez Award was Judy Clarke, noted criminal defense attorney and member of the San Diego Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors. The event was held at the University of San Diego-Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. Sponsors included Latham & Watkins LLP at the diamond level, platinum sponsors Gayle M. Blatt and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, gold sponsors William and Michelle Lerach, silver sponsors Iredale and Yoo, APC and the University of San Diego School of Law, and bronze sponsors Progressive Law Group, Shari Lawson, Mary Lundberg, and Michael Pancer. Congratulations to the entire San Diego Lawyer Chapter, particularly chair Kaley Lichtman and event chair Maya Uffenheimer, for a wonderful event.
Love Our Constitution
The February 2017 Lawyer Chapter event of the month is Love Our Constitution. So many chapters participated in this nationwide initiative that we can’t limit it to just one event, but here are some of our favorites from across the country: Chicago Lawyer Chapter Board Member Candice Kline and Lydia Lazar hosted a Love Our Constitution discussion at Yarnify! a Chicago store dedicated to knitting and other fiber arts; Bay Area Board Member Palak Sheth hosted the pictured “Post March Salon” on Love Our Constitution in a living room in San Francisco, and our Colorado Lawyer Chapter and University of Denver student chapter teamed up to hold a Love Our Constitution program at Strum College of Law. Finally, ACS Director of Strategic Engagement Lena Zwarensteyn recorded a Love Our Constitution presentation on YouTube that can be watched any time. You can read more about Love Our Constitution (and some other wonderful examples of the programs held by ACS lawyer and law student members) in this article from The Guardian. Check out photos from these and other Love Our Constitution events in our Facebook photo album. It’s not too late to participate – we’re encouraging Love Our Constitution events through the end of March. Just visit the Love Our Constitution site to learn more.
Northeast Ohio Lawyer Chapter
On January 18, 2017 the Northeast Ohio Lawyer Chapter and the Case Western Reserve Student Chapter held a timely panel entitled, “Trump, Security, and Muslim Civil Liberties. During his campaign and in the days prior to inauguration, President Trump made several proposals and remarks concerning a Muslim registry, a ban on Muslim entry, extreme vetting of Muslim, loyalty oaths, mosque surveillance, and variations on those proposals with a focus on geographical regions from where Muslim-associated terrorists have emerged. The Northeast Ohio Lawyer Chapter assembled a powerhouse panel of experts and representatives from the Muslim community, constitutional law, immigration, and national security and law enforcement to discuss the various issues and concerns related to these policies. This event was so profound and innovative that it won the National Lawyer Chapter Award for Most Creative Lawyer Chapter Program of 2017.