Founded in 1982, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order. We are committed to the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks to promote awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.
In its mission and purpose, the Federalist Society is unique. By providing a forum for legal experts of opposing views to interact with members of the legal profession, the judiciary, law students, academics, and the architects of public policy, the Society has redefined the terms of legal debate. Our expansion in membership, chapters, and program activity has been matched by the rapid growth of the Society’s reputation and the quality and influence of our events. We have fostered a greater appreciation for the role of separation of powers; federalism; limited, constitutional government; and the rule of law in protecting individual freedom and traditional values. Overall, the Society’s efforts are improving our present and future leaders’ understanding of the principles underlying American law.
The Society is a membership organization that features a Student Division, a Lawyers Division, and a Faculty Division. The Student Division includes more than 10,000 law students at all of the 196 ABA-accredited law schools as well as 24 additional chapters based at international law schools, non-accredited law schools, satellite campuses for ABA-accredited schools, and a few undergraduate institutions. The national office provides speakers and other assistance to the chapters in organizing their lectures, debates, and educational activities. In the 2006-07 academic year, our student chapters hosted almost 1,000 events, with a total attendance of about 48,000 students.
The Lawyers Division is comprised of over 30,000 legal professionals and others interested in current intellectual and practical developments in the law. It has active chapters in sixty cities, including Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Indianapolis. Activities include the annual National Lawyers Convention, a Speakers Bureau for organizing lectures and debates, and 15 Practice Groups.
The Federalist Society established its Faculty Division in early 1999 with a conference that was attended by many of the rising stars in the legal academy. The objective of the Faculty Division is to provide events and other tools to help encourage constructive academic discourse. This encouragement will help foster the growth and development of rigorous traditional legal scholarship.
Finally, the Federalist Society provides opportunities for effective participation in the public policy process. The Society’s ongoing programs encourage our members to involve themselves more actively in local, state-wide, and national affairs and to contribute more productively to their communities.