The American Constitution Society is the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with Lawyer Chapters in nearly 50 cities and active organizing efforts in a number of other locations. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, 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 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 ACS Lawyer Chapters is available here. If you are interested in helping to organize a Lawyer Chapter, please contact us at LCEmails@acslaw.org or 202-393-6181.
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 our member job bank here.
Lawyers of ACS
Anne Gordon (she/her)
Co-Chair, ACS North Carolina Lawyer Chapter
I learned about the American Constitution Society as a 1L at the University of Michigan Law School, where it seemed like all the cool progressive students were members. After school, I was lucky enough to become part of the incredible group of leaders running the ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter, where I made lifelong friendships and saw a model for how an excellent volunteer board can function – no easy feat! When I moved to North Carolina, one of the first things I did was look up the local ACS chapter, because I knew that’s where my people would be.
I went to law school to change the world, but haven’t really figured out what that means yet. So far, I’ve worked with and on behalf of people on California’s death row, advocated for incarcerated women and children on our southern border, and taught law students and lawyers both in the US and internationally. Currently, I am a Clinical Professor of Law at Duke Law School, where I direct our Externship Program and teach classes like Social Justice Lawyering, a Life Design seminar, and a Movement Lawyering Lab with Law For Black Lives (an organization you should really check out). I sit on community boards such as the ACLU of North Carolina, and feel strongly about using the law to support movements for social change.
While I would never consider myself an academic, I also write law reviews, op/eds, and articles on issues such as equity, inclusion, bias, teaching pedagogy, and feedback. I believe that those of us with power and privilege have an obligation to ensure that the spaces we occupy are not only open to diverse voices, but that we create space and opportunity for those voices (and the people attached to them) to thrive.
In my role as a clinical professor, I also want to ensure that students feel empowered to make their careers their own instead of stuffing themselves into a single model of legal practice that they’re told is the most prestigious or remunerative. Each one of my classes devotes a significant amount of time to looking toward students’ own values and priorities (and yes, even hopes and dreams) to find their own versions of success.
I love ACS because it helps me feel that I can work both inside and outside the system to make change. The fight against the rightward shift in our country’s judiciary and statehouses (even if not in the actual electorate) is going to take a combination of insiders working the levers of power and outsiders advocating to change what those levers are, and change who gets to be insiders in the first place. And I’m here for all of it! Especially in a state like North Carolina, progressives are going to need all the help we can get.
Read more from Anne and previous Lawyers of ACS here.
2021 National Convention
This year’s 2021 ACS National Convention took place virtually from June 7 to June 11. This year’s convention focused on the Constitution’s “founding failures” when it comes to race and equality in this country, and reckoning with our past to create a more just future. Thank you to all who attended and made this event such a success!
To view the recordings of this year’s 2021 programming 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 last summer, 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.
Although ACS Chapters can be found in almost every major metropolitan area, there are many who are unable to join one of our existing, location-based chapters due to a variety of circumstances such as a disability, physical location, or work schedule. That is why we launched our At-Large Chapter in 2019: to provide access to progressive programming on critical issues and create avenues to engage with the entire ACS network through an innovative and online-based platform.
Learn more about the At-Large Chapter here.
COVID-19 and ACS Reimbursement Policy
We are advising that chapter events be planned virtually through the spring. Given the uncertainty and the lack of safety surrounding in-person events at this time, we are also halting funding and reimbursements for event and travel costs. As you are organizing events, if there are anticipated costs, please reach out to your ACS national liaison to further discuss.
If you need help planning a virtual event, please reach out to your ACS national liaison or email LCEmails@acslaw.org.
Join ACS or renew now and your membership will be current through the end of 2021, a critical year of growth and impact for ACS. Help us invest in ACS chapters, chapter programs, networking, pipeline development, and mentorship work. Thank you for your support!
Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
CLE Credits are a great way to attract new members to an ACS Lawyer Chapter event as well as encourage and incentivize programming attendance for busy ACS lawyers. More on how to apply for CLE here.
Keep up-to-date with all of ACS’s impeachment resources here.
If you need ideas for an event, try checking out one of our program guides!
2021 Model Calendar
ACS’s Tax Exemption Federal Letter
Lawyer Chapter Handbook
Membership Form (One Pager)
Sample Event Sign-in Sheet
Sample Lawyer Chapter Constitution
Social Media Guidelines
Speaker Release Form
Election 2020 Checklist
Meghan Paulas, Vice-President of Network Advancement, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peggy Li, Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Jordan Blisk, Associate Director of Chapters, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Herd, Associate Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Christopher Lin, Assistant Director of Chapters, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridget Lawson, Assistant Director of Chapters, email@example.com
Olu Adeosun, Chapters Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do I contact to:
Get an RSVP list?
Get an email sent to my list?
Change my city/contact information?
Request event funding? Get help with programming and/or speaker ideas?
LCEmails@acslaw.org or your National contact
Get involved with pro bono or volunteer opportunities?
Seek media advice or guidance?
Find my local chapter?
All of our Lawyer Chapters are listed here.