The American Constitution Society is the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with approximately 200 student and lawyer chapters in almost every state and on most law school campuses. A list of all student chapters is available here. Our chapters hold over 1,400 public programs across the country each year, including debates, conferences, press briefings and networking opportunities. ACS works for positive change by shaping debates in classrooms, courtrooms, legislature and the media. ACS has built a national network of progressive law students, lawyers, judges, policy experts, legislators and academics committed to justice.
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 Members Job Bank here.
Fill out our Summer Update Form to let us know what you will be doing in Summer 2020!
Not yet an ACS student member? Join our network today.
For all student chapter resources, click here.
Fall Membership Competition
ACS is pleased to announce the 8th Annual Student Membership Contest to see which ACS chapter can make the biggest gains in national membership. ACS will award two winners in the Fall membership competition based on the following categories:
1. Percentage of membership increase
2. Raw number of new members and renewals
Each winning chapter is awarded one full scholarship to attend the 2020 ACS Student Convention. Students can sign up for national membership online. For assistance in building your membership base, reach out to your ACS National Contact. Remember, all Executive Board members should be national members. The competition ends November 30, 2019
Save the Dates: ACS’s 2019 Regional Convenings
In the coming months, ACS leaders and progressive advocates will gather at Regional Convenings throughout the country. Stay tuned for updates on a convening near you!
- The Southeast Regional Convening will be hosted by the North Carolina Central University School of Law Student Chapter on September 27, 2019.
- The Northeast Regional Convening will be hosted by New York Law School Student Chapter on October 4, 2019.
- The Western Regional Convening will be hosted by the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Student Chapter on October 25-26, 2019.
Thank you to our Marquette University Law School Chapter and Milwaukee Lawyer Chapter for their work organizing the Midwest Regional Convening on Sep 5-6. You can view highlights on social media at @acslaw and @ACSStudents.
ACS Volunteer Opportunities
Through our volunteer efforts, ACS connects lawyers and law students across the country to opportunities tailored to their interests, skills, and schedule. We are constantly looking for volunteers for ongoing research and pro bono projects. Information on some of our current projects can be found here. They include ACS’s Voter Pre-Registration Initiative, ACS’s Notice and Comment Project, ACS’s Presidential Nominee Vetting Project, and many more! Please sign up on our volunteer survey or email us at LCEmails@acslaw.org if you’d like to help or if you know of any volunteer opportunities or trainings where our members could be helpful.
Join Constitution in the Classroom!
Constitution Day is coming up on September 17! Our Constitution in the Classroom program provides an opportunity for lawyers and law students to teach lessons based on the United States Constitution in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the country. Participating is a great way to increase constitutional literacy in schools and excite young minds about the Constitution. Check out the 2019 Voting Rights lessons and additional information here. If you are interested in participating, please email LCEmails@acslaw.org.
ACS’s State Attorneys General Project
Through ACS’s network of students, lawyers, academics and allies, the State Attorneys General Project (AG Project) develops and disseminates legal resources and hosts programming and events examining the actions of state attorneys general and the emerging legal and policy issues they face. As states’ chief legal officers, state attorneys general are, first and foremost, law enforcement officials sworn to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions, and to enforce federal and state laws. The heart of a state attorney general’s mission is to serve the public interest. With broad jurisdiction and independence to act, state attorneys general play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights, health and safety of their states’ residents. By supporting the efforts of state attorneys general at this critical hour in our nation’s history, the AG Project is an extension of ACS’s efforts to ensure that the law is a force to improve the lives of all people. If your chapter is interested in planning an event involving the state AG office and would like our guidance, e-mail us at email@example.com.
ACS Next Generation Leaders
Congratulations to our 2019 Next Generation Leaders! Check out our leaders here.
2019 ACS National Convention
ACS held its 2019 National Convention June 6-8 in Washington, DC. Attorneys, law students, policymakers, and advocates from across the nation came together to discuss complex legal issues facing the United States today. Law students from 45 states and Washington, DC attended, and participated in discussions about structural reform of the U.S. Supreme Court, progressive federalism, the impact of prosecutors on the criminal justice system, and more.
Convention speakers included Bryan Stevenson, Hon. Goodwin Liu, Rep. Colin Allred, Rep. Sharice Davids, Michele Goodwin, Hon. Anita Earls, and many more.
Check our convention page for photos and videos from the Convention.
2019 ACS Student Convention
ACS held its 7th Annual National Student Convention February 22-23, 2019. 170 students from 20 states and Washington, D.C., came together at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia for two days of progressive programming and training. Check out our recap blog here. To see pictures and view the full program, visit the Convention webpage.
Student Chapter of the Week
Our student chapters work hard to bring progressive programming on timely legal topics to campuses across the country. The ACS Chapters Team recognizes a different student chapter for its efforts each week during the academic year. Our Student Chapter of the Week coverage will return in the Fall 2019 semester. In the meantime, read about our previous Chapters of the Week here.
Students of ACS
ACS wouldn’t be ACS without its amazing network of law students that inspire us every day. Each week of the academic year, ACS features a blurb from a student chapter member about their work with ACS, what led them to law school, what motivates them, and more.
Melissa Araiza, University of Nebraska School of Law, Class of 2021
If you asked me just a few years ago what I wanted to do with my life, being a lawyer and going to law school were nowhere on my list. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, my family told me I should go to law school. I insisted that I was done learning, that law school was not for me, and I entered the full-time workforce while living in San Diego. It took me quite a while to find a steady job, and I ended up in a law firm as a receptionist. But once there, I pushed to move into any opportunities that came along. I was promoted to a records clerk, managed a records department, and then became a legal secretary. One day, one of the attorneys that I worked for sat me down in her office to tell me her plan for my future. I was going to stay at the firm, continue to work my way up the ladder, and someday lead her support team.
That day was the day I realized that I had made a terrible mistake – I was NOT done learning. It turned out that I enjoyed the legal field, but I felt like I was destined for a different role at the firm. I signed up for the LSAT, quit my job, and planned to move home.
On the day that my husband and I were moving out of our apartment to leave for Nebraska, I found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled, but terrified – we had just quit both our jobs! In Nebraska, I went back to work and weighed all my options at length, in case this was a sign that law school really wasn’t in the cards for me. I liked my new job, and I liked the attorneys I worked for.
Then, the 2017 travel bans took place. Lawyers all around the country showed up at airports to file habeas corpus petitions while I sat at home, infuriated. It was the worst feeling, knowing that I didn’t have the right skills and couldn’t help. That was my final straw – even if law school was the most difficult thing I would ever do, I couldn’t put it off anymore. I wanted to go, and I wanted to arm myself with the tools I needed to fight injustice, because that is what sparked passion in me.
In my first year, I made friends and joined a few groups, most importantly the American Constitution Society. This organization has become a centerpiece to my legal education, giving me opportunities and connections with like-minded progressives in a largely red state. As the new Chapter President for the 2019-2020 school year, I look forward to sharing our message with incoming students and to bring new opportunities to my campus. It keeps me on my toes and challenges me to do more, and it makes me learn something new every day.
Read about past Students of ACS here.
For all student chapter resources, click here.