Ashland Johnson

Lawyers of ACS: August 2019

I went to law school to promote civil rights through law and policy. As a lifetime southerner and a Georgia resident, I chose UGA Law school. Not surprisingly, it leaned “conservative” both in culture and legal education. I quickly realized two things-- I needed to find my (progressive) people and I needed to supplement my legal education to ensure I had the tools to be a successful civil rights advocate.

ACS provided me with lifelong solutions.

During law school, I used ACS educational resources to gain a deeper understanding of the constitutional questions that surrounded issue areas such as reproductive justice, voting rights, racial justice, and LGBTQ equality. Publications like The Constitution in 2020 and It’s a Consitution We’re Expounding, along with timely issue briefs provided me with a powerful foundation that shaped my understanding of progressive civil rights advocacy. They also helped me find my own voice in the advocacy space. Even today, I turn to ACS when I want a deeper understanding of law and policy issues.

In addition to fortifying my education, ACS has provided me with invaluable networking and mentorship opportunities. From my first ACS conference as a 1L, I’ve seen the ways ACS students and staff are passionate, excited to strategize chapter ideas, and dedicated to providing professional development opportunities. Further, the ACS Board and Lawyer Chapter leaders continue to be welcoming and eager to provide mentorship. These relationships have helped me excel in key roles with national organizations in the LGBTQ equality space, the women’s rights space, and the sports equity space. These experiences also led me to start an innovative project at the intersection of sports and social justice-- the Inclusion Playbook-- where I work with businesses, leagues, and organizations to transform their communities in and through sports.

As a lawyer and social justice advocate, ACS continues to be an indispensable professional resource. The materials ACS produces make me a stronger advocate. The support I continue to receive from my ACS mentors and colleagues inspires me to advance progressive values in innovative ways. As I start to mentor the next generation of young, progressive lawyers, I do so knowing that I have a truly exceptional ACS community behind me, ready to extend a hand and ensure that we all achieve.

Read more from previous Lawyers of ACS here.