Social media properties like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be great platforms to showcase your legal expertise and opinions—and the work of ACS. But where should you start and how do you use these tools most effectively? This panel demystified today’s major social media platforms and other practical advice on how you can use them to share your opinions as you build your social brand.
This workshop provided hands-on training on using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) effectively to promote government transparency and accountability. Participants gained a greater understanding of what information can be obtained through FOIA and how the process works, as well as a broader understanding of some current legal issues in FOIA litigation.
The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder effectively nullified a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the most effective civil rights law ever enacted. As a result, attorneys and activists play a key role working with voters to protect their rights against discriminatory voting laws.
The Voting Rights Institute, a project of ACS, the Campaign Legal Center and Georgetown University Law Center, has trained approximately 1,000 lawyers and law students nationwide. This training included an overview of voting rights legislation and case law, examples of the ways in which state and local governments are infringing upon the right to vote and information for attendees who want to identify obstacles to voting and how to fix them.
In this session, the audience heard from several elected officials who used their law degrees to propel them into state and local office. The panelists, including a judge, attorney general, mayor, and state representatives, shared their experiences of taking first steps towards a run, building a support network, balancing work and running for office, staffing and managing a campaign, and fundraising. The co-founder and executive director of Run for Something provided advice on running for office. The audience came away with concrete steps to take to explore their own potential candidacies for elected office.
The Trump Administration has signaled a national security philosophy that is in turns interventionist and isolationist. On the one hand, it has committed to reinvigorating the “War on Terror,” leading to the potential for increased military adventurism in the Middle East, extrajudicial killings, unwarranted detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, excessive use of government surveillance and religious and ethnic profiling. On the other hand, it has downplayed Russian interference with U.S. elections, declined to criticize authoritarian regimes and sown doubt about the United States’ commitment to NATO. At times, this has placed the administration at odds with the intelligence community and Congress. Can we make sense of these seemingly opposing philosophies? What are the threats each pose to civil liberties and constitutional rights? And what are the most effective strategies for combatting those threats through both litigation and public advocacy?
An experienced bureaucracy is necessary to conduct the business of government and may be an effective bulwark against executive abuses of power. But at what point are the reasons to serve in an administration with whom one ideologically disagrees or that has an agenda contrary to the central mission of the very agency in which one serves sufficiently outweighed by the risks of serving? For many, the choice to stay may be motivated by the value of maintaining institutional memory, the likelihood of sycophantic replacements, and a hope that one can continue to advance the good work already begun. But when an administration has been demonstrably hostile to the rule of law, what legal or personal ethics guide lawyers in their decision to stay or go? And when should they blow the whistle on agency activities? The 2016 election is not the first time government lawyers have asked themselves some of these questions, but it has thrown them into high relief.