The American Constitution Society is the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with approximately 200 student and lawyer chapters in almost every state and law school. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, 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 over 1,400 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 student chapters is available here.
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.
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.
Elevating and Engaging with Black Lives on Law School Campuses
On June 30, ACS co-hosted a discussion with Professor Michele Goodwin and the National Black Law Students Association about the need for a better aligned curriculum that takes seriously how the law engages with Black lives. The panelist further discussed the need for more professors of color, especially Black professors at America’s law schools. As you work towards greater equity and inclusion at your own law schools, please review the recording here.
2020 ACS 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.
2020 ACS Virtual Graduation Ceremony
On May 26, we celebrated the graduation of our incredible ACS Student Leaders! You can view highlights from the Virtual Graduation here.
2020 ACS Student Chapter Award Winners
ACS Rising Chapter of the Year
Congratulations to our University of Idaho College of Law ACS Student Chapter for being ACS’s Rising Chapter of the Year! This annual award goes to a new or recently revived chapter that has done the most to advance progressive causes.
Chapter Programming Awards
ACS Programming Awards are presented annually to our most active chapters. We are thrilled to recognize these chapters, who helped to shape the debate and promote a progressive vision of the Constitution at their universities. The ACS Student Chapter winners of this year’s Programming Awards are:
- Boston College Law School
- University of California, Berkeley School of Law
- University of Chicago Law School
- University of Cincinnati College of Law
- Duke Law School
- The George Washington University Law School
- Georgetown University Law Center
- Harvard Law School
- Indiana University Maurer School of Law
- Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center
- University of Michigan Law School
- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
- Notre Dame Law School
- New York University School of Law
- University of Pennsylvania Law School
- Santa Clara University School of Law
- Stanford Law School
- The University of Texas School of Law
- University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
- University of Virginia School of Law
- Willamette University College of Law
- William & Mary Law School
- University of Wisconsin Law School
- Yale Law School
Reproductive Rights and Justice Award
Congratulations to our Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Student Chapter for being this year’s recipient of the Reproductive Rights and Justice Award. This annual award, presented in conjunction with the Center for Reproductive Rights, goes to the chapter that has had the greatest impact in the area of reproductive rights.
ACS Chapter of the Year
Congratulations to our University of Michigan Law School Student Chapter for being selected as the 2020 ACS Student Chapter of the Year. This annual award is presented to the chapter that has shown the greatest strength in meeting ACS’s mission and goals.
Faculty Advisor of the Year
Congratulations to Professor April G. Dawson for being selected as the 2020 Faculty Advisor of the Year. Professor April G. Dawson is the ACS Faculty Advisor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she has been monumental in supporting the chapter and and strengthening ACS’s progressive network.
2020 ACS Student Convention
ACS is excited to have hosted the ACS Student Convention Virtual Series, which took parts of our planned Student Convention programming and made them virtually accessible and interactive for all of our ACS student leaders. Here is the recording of our kickoff event, Virtual Townhall with ACS President Russ Feingold and you can check out the recordings for the rest of the panels here!
Save the date for the 2021 ACS Student Convention at Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law on February 26-27, 2021!
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.
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.
2020 ACS Program Guide
This year marks the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, an occasion on which to honor the hard work and steadfast commitment that went into its passage, to elevate the women who were and continue to be left behind in the march toward progress, and to explore the Amendment’s legacy and continued significance for gender equality today. ACS encourages chapters to engage in programming designed to do all three.
View the program guide here.
Join Constitution in the Classroom!
Constitution Day is 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 Next Generation Leaders
The application period for the 2020 Next Generation Leaders program has now closed. We will have details for the 2021 application later in the year. Check out our 2020 Next Generation Leaders here!
Fall Membership Competition
ACS is pleased to announce the 8th Annual Student Membership Contest winners are:
- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
- University of Chicago Law School
Congratulations Student Chapters!
ACS’s 2019 Regional Convening
ACS leaders and progressive advocates gathered at Regional Convenings throughout the country last year.
- Thank you to our University of Denver Sturm College of Law Student Chapter and the Colorado Lawyer Chapter for hosting the Western Regional Convening 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.
- Thank you to our North Carolina Central University School of Law Student Chapter and the ACS North Carolina Lawyer Chapter for hosting the Southeast Regional Convening on September 27, 2019.
- Thank you to our New York Law School Student Chapter and the ACS New York Lawyer Chapter for hosting the Northeast Regional Convening on October 4, 2019.
You can view highlights from the Northeast, Western, Southeast, and Midwest Regional Convenings on social media at @acslaw and @ACSStudents.
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.
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. Read about our previous Chapters of the Week here.
University of Idaho College of Law
The University of Idaho College of Law ACS Student Chapter is thrilled to be named by ACS National as Student Chapter of the Week! With their expanding presence on campus, they have been able to reach more progressive law students and coordinate a growing list of events for not only the College of Law, but also the community at-large.
Most notable was the ACS Idaho chapter’s exhibit and discussion panel celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The Idaho ACS Student Chapter hosted the “19th Amendment Centennial” exhibit on loan from the American Bar Association. At this event they also discussed how far women’s suffrage has come in the past 100 year and how much more work needs to be done with an incredible panel of leaders, scholars, historians, and activists.
Another exciting highlight for the ACS Idaho Student Chapter is the cancellation of classes on November 3rd to promote law student engagement in the democratic process. After promotion and encouragement by the Student Chapter, November 3rd was deemed an official College of Law Day of Service. The ACS Idaho Chapter looks forward to continuing to assist law students in this effort by providing vital information on volunteering as a poll worker on Election Day and early voting.
Finally, the Idaho ACS Student Chapter is very proud of the community they have formed during these uncertain, and often stressful, times. The University of Idaho College of Law is unique as it has two campuses located in Boise, Idaho, and Moscow, Idaho. With members in both locations, the members of the Chapter have discovered new ways to bring the two campuses together virtually, forming strong bonds between students across the state.
The University of Idaho College of Law ACS Student Chapter would like to thank their faculty advisors for all of their guidance and support!
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.
Megan Raymond (she/her), Berkeley Law, Class of 2021
The one sure thing about law school is everyone has opinions about it: whether to go, where to go, why to go, what to do when you’re there, and what to do when you’re out. Though I wanted to be a lawyer when I was younger, I heard enough from the anti-law-school crowd that I decidedly was not going to law school upon college graduation.
But I knew I wanted a job that aligned with my progressive values, and I was influenced by a mentor’s advice: “If you want to most quickly and deeply impact the issues you care about, work in electoral politics.” So I did, spending the next four years as a political media consultant helping candidates, nonprofits, and other campaigns reach voters, shape public opinion, and elect progressive leaders.
A few years in, I helped produce a TV ad criticizing an opponent’s economic record, which became the subject of a cease and desist letter from his campaign. It questioned the factual basis of our claims, but we stood by them. As a result, I had a few phone calls with our legal counsel, who advised us how to tweak the ad and wrote cogent response letters that settled the issue. I remember thinking, “I want to be the one giving that advice, not receiving it.” Soon after, I made the decision to go to law school and am proud to now attend Berkeley Law.
Part of what has made my law school experience so meaningful is the ACS community. ACS was the first group I joined on campus—since then I have held the positions of 1L representative, vice president, and now co-president alongside my friend and classmate Francesco Arreaga. ACS has allowed me not just to stay involved in the policy issues I care about—what drew me to electoral politics in the first place—but also to develop the legal tools necessary to be an even stronger advocate.
My favorite thing about ACS is the diversity of interests, expertise, experiences, and passions it brings together in one community. At Berkeley Law, I think of ACS as our progressive home base: our members are interested in a wide variety of areas of law, but what bonds us is our commitment to fighting for equality, justice, democracy, and the rule of law. ACS members across the country give me hope for the future, and I look forward to a career surrounded by the support, collaboration, and resolve of the ACS community
Read about past Students of ACS here.
For all student chapter resources, click here.