Student Chapter of

American University Washington College of Law

Constitution

November 2006

Article I – Title

Section 1: This organization is hereby titled the National Lawyers Guild Student Chapter of American University Washington College of Law (hereinafter referred to as NLG-WCL).

Section 2: NLG-WCL is a non-partisan organization of law students, organized in accordance with the regulations of the American University (hereinafter "AU"), Washington College of Law (hereinafter "WCL") and the WCL Student Bar Association (hereinafter "SBA").

Article II – Mission

Section1: The mission of NLG-WCL is in keeping with the National Lawyers Guild's mission; that is, to address the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system and to work as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.

Section 2: NLG-WCL functions to engage WCL students in the concept and practice of radical lawyering and progressive politics through both educational events and volunteer trainings.

Section 3: NLG-WCL represents the WCL community at the city level (D.C. Guild chapter), the regional level (NLG Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference), and the national level (NLG National Convention).

Article III – Membership, Voting, and the Advisor’s role

Section 1: General Membership is open to any interested student, faculty, administrator or staff member of WCL who attends a mimimum of two events per semester. Membership and participation shall be free from discrimination on the basis of: ancestry, color, race, cultural or ethnic background, economic status, ideological, philosophical, or political beliefs or affiliations, marital or parental status, national or regional origin, physical disability, religion, or religious or denominational affiliation, gender or sexual orientation. 

Section 2: Voting Rights

Clause 1: Voting for all matters other than constitutional amendments and the election or removal of officers will be open to members.

Clause 2: Voting privileges for officer elections will be granted to any member who has participated in the organizing of a minimum of three NLG-WCL activities, meetings, or events within the same academic year as the vote.

Section 3: Advisor

Clause 1: The advisor for NLG-WCL shall be a faculty member of WCL.

Clause 2: The advisor will work with the Board of Officers and act as a liaison between the NLG-WCL membership and the WCL administration.

Article IV – Officer Positions

Section 1: Co-Chairs

Clause 1: The Officers of NLG-WCL will consist of five Co-Chairs. These positions will be open to students and staff.  There must be at least one co-chair position open to both a 1L representative and an evening student.  

Clause 2: Elections of Co-Chairs will be held within the last month or first month of the academic school year. These officers will serve a year-term that commences two weeks after winning the election and terminates two weeks after the conclusion of the next election.

Article VI – Elections

Section 1: Nominations

Clause 1: Nominations for all officer positions must be made at least one general meeting prior to officer elections.

Clause 2: Nominations for officer positions may only be made by any member. Nominated individuals need not be present when nominated.

Clause 3: After an individual is nominated for an officer position, such individual must submit a letter of intent in order to be placed on the election ballot.

Section 2: Election Procedure

Clause 1: Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot and can be administered both in person, online, or a combination of both.

Clause 2: A majority vote will be required to elect a candidate. All members participating in elections must satisfy the electoral voting requirements set forth in Article III.

Clause 3: In the event no candidate wins a majority, a run-off election will be held between the two candidates with the most votes.

Clause 4: In the event there is a tie between the two candidates with the most votes, the faculty advisor will act as the tie breaker.

Article VII – Removal of Officers or Members

Section 1: Officers

Clause 1: In order to begin removal procedures for an officer, a member must make a motion to remove such officer and this motion must be seconded by another member.

Clause 2: A motion to remove an officer must be made before the WCL-NLG membership at a meeting. Prior to the meeting, adequate notice of no less than one week shall be given to the membership that a motion for removal will be made. Such meeting may either be a regularly scheduled meeting or may be a specially scheduled meeting.

Clause 3: After the motion to remove an officer is made, the member who brings the motion for removal must present argument(s) supporting their contention that there is just cause for the impeachment of the officer in question. Additionally, the officer who is the subject of the removal motion shall be given the opportunity to respond to such argument(s). Just cause is defined as the failure of the officer to effectively perform the duties of such position and/or engage in inappropriate behavior.

Clause 4: Prior to a vote on the motion to remove an Officer, each member shall have the opportunity to express their views about the proposed removal in a timely manner. Each member may also make inquires addressed to the parties of the motion and to the general membership in order to clarify and/or gain more information that is relevant to adjudicating the motion to remove.

Clause 5: At the end of discussion on the topic, a member of the Board who is not the subject of the removal proceedings, or in the absence of officers, a WCL-NLG member agreed upon by a majority present shall call a vote. This vote shall be supervised by said member. Voting on this motion will be done by secret ballot.

Clause 6: Impeachment shall take effect upon at least a two-thirds majority vote. Members participating in this vote must satisfy the requirements for officer removal voting privilege as stated in Article III.

Section 2: Members

Clause 1: A general member’s membership status may be revoked by an at least 75% vote by the Board. This includes any member that had previously been an officer member.

Article VIII – Constitutional Amendments

Section 1: Proposing Amendments

Clause 1: Amendments to these By-Laws may be offered by any WCL-NLG member who has secured constitutional voting privileges and must present the proposed amendment(s) to the membership at least one general WCL-NLG meeting prior to being voted upon.

Clause 2: Amendments to these By-Laws may be proposed by a By-Laws Committee appointed by the Board. The By-Laws Committee must perform its duties in a timely manner and present the proposed amendment(s) to the membership at least one general WCL-NLG meeting prior to being voted upon.

Section 2: Amendment Voting

An amendment must receive at least a two-thirds majority vote before it is adopted as part of the By-Laws. WCL-NLG members participating in a vote regarding amendments must satisfy the requirements for constitutional voting privileges as stated in Article III.

Article IX – Future Projects

WCL-NLG shall strive to institute the following annual projects:

Section 1: Disorientation

The WCL-NLG Chapter will participate in the organization or hosting of Disorientation within a month of the commencement of every school year.  Disorientation is a Washington, D.C. wide event for targeted at first year law students, but open to anyone interested in radical lawyering and alternatives to the law firm career. A panel of practicing attorneys and legal advocates is invited to speak about their experiences, share ideas about how to make a difference, practice law for the people and deal with the law school experience, and managing law school debt.  The event is an orientation to familiarize students with the work of the NLG nationwide, WCL-NLG, and to help them get to know each other.    

Section 2: National Lawyers Guild National Convention
Hosted annually by the Nationwide National Lawyers Guild, WCL-NLG will send at minimum two student representatives to learn about nationwide initiatives being carried out by NLG and meet other progressive law students and professionals.  The students who attended will share the information they learned at the Convention with the WCL-NLG.  WCL-NLG will also assist with planning of the Convention as requested.  

Section 3: General Body Meeting

WCL-NLG will aim to have a minimum of one general body meeting per semester.  

Section 4: Speakers on Current Events and Progressive Lawyering

WCL-NLG will aim to have at minimum three speakers come to WCL to talk about pertinent issues in the field and teach students about working for access to justice for all people.  

Section 5: Legal Observer Training
WCL-NLG will assist in the organization of Legal Observer training.  After the training is complete, WCL-NLG will encourage student participation in legal observation in the D.C. area.