The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Rating: 4.96 stars   113 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 1333 H Street, NW 11th Floor Washington DC 20005 USA

Mission: Founded in 2001, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy ("ACS") is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals. Our mission is to ensure that fundamental principles of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice enjoy their rightful, central place in American law. ACS aims to revitalize and transform the legal and policy debates occurring in law school classrooms, federal and state courtrooms, legislative hearing rooms and the media. Through student and lawyer chapters all across the country, and programs and projects at both the national and local level, ACS promotes a progressive vision of the Constitution, law and public policy; educates lawyers, law students, decision-makers and the public about the historic basis and vitality of such a vision and its importance for the lives of real people; strengthens the intellectual underpinnings for progressive law and policy in the United States; and continues to build a diverse and dynamic national network.
Target demographics: shape debate, build networks, and make a difference in law and public policy
Direct beneficiaries per year: educate tens of thousands through our events and publications; teach over 10,000 public school students about their rights; brief dozens of policymakers and media contacts; and placed students and lawyers in clerkships, internships, and jobs with the potential to create social change
Geographic areas served: states, cities, and law schools across the country
Programs: ACS lawyer chapters bring together an expanding grassroots network of lawyers and other professionals spanning from coast to coast. Lawyer chapters offer a local forum to share ideas and debate issues integral to a progressive legal and policy perspective; to foster networking and collaboration; and to engage on timely issues. They also connect members with national ACS initiatives, providing them with opportunities to help shape the national debate. ACS's nationwide network of student chapters is fostering a new generation of progressive leaders. Through hundreds of programs each year featuring renowned advocates, scholars and judges addressing a wide range of legal and policy issues, chapters educate their members about the critical issues facing our country. Working with ACS lawyer chapters and the national office, they also provide students with meaningful opportunities for professional development and mentoring as well as participation in substantive projects.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I am in my first year of law school and I find the ACS panels both informative and entertaining. My school's various student organizations host a wide variety of speakers and panels but those hosted by the ACS stand out consistently.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

On my campus of Santa Clara University

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase funding to allow for a greater range of speakers and events on campus.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I'm a third-year law student, and I'm very grateful for the American Constitution Society's efforts in law schools. Through the high-quality speakers ACS has brought to my campus, and through the opportunities that ACS has provided for me to attend national conferences, I've greatly expanded my knowledge of the Constitution and the important legal issues our country currently faces. ACS has greatly enriched my education.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My understanding of the Constitution and it's application to modern issues has been greatly enhanced by ACS. I've also had the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with some of the brightest legal minds on our country because of ACS' campus programs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it's reach into other campuses and other lawyer chapters.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I'm a third-year law student, and I'm very grateful for the American Constitution Society's efforts in law schools. Through the high-quality speakers ACS has brought to my campus, and through the opportunities that ACS has provided for me to attend national conferences, I've greatly expanded my knowledge of the Constitution and the important legal issues our country currently faces. ACS has greatly enriched my education.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My understanding of the Constitution and it's application to modern issues has been greatly enhanced by ACS. I've also had the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with some of the brightest legal minds on our country because of ACS' campus programs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it's reach into other campuses and other lawyer chapters.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been active in ACS since law school and attended several national conventions. Its programming and resources are unmatched, and its community is vibrant. It provides a great way for law students, lawyers, judges, and others to strengthen and advance constitutional and moral values that are under attack in the political arena and the media.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping develop a terrific network, hearing prominent and interesting individuals speak, understanding the legal world better.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Be more active.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a former ACS Board Member and have working with a number of law school and lawyer's chapters. I have been routinely astonished by the vitality of the conversations and the engagement with the issues demonstrated by ACS members and supporters. The panels, speeches, and debates are nearly uniformly well-reasoned and interesting. Without this important voice, our legal and constitutional community would be substantially less rich. I have been especially impressed with the quality of programming and speakers at the ACS National Conventions every year. I encourage everyone interested in the Constitution and how the United States is applying it in areas from immigration to health care to criminal law to attend the Convention and programs in your area.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have attended many programs and Conventions.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wish that ACS had even more members.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I became involved with ACS at Penn Law School in my first year, going on to be the Speaker's Chair and President of our ACS chapter. In the law school community, ACS has quickly become the premier progressive legal policy and advocacy organization. Our chapter puts on dozens of unique events each year that bring students together to discuss and learn more about many of the important issues facing our country. ACS members immediately become part of a larger community of individuals with similar interests and goals, making it a great networking opportunity and a place for professional development.

ACS helps shape public legal debates by publishing timely articles, blog posts, issue briefs and other literature on important areas of the law. ACS also provides areas for students and professionals to hone and publish their work, through their national moot court competition and writing competitions.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Worked with the national organization to put on many quality events over the years, including our annual Supreme Court Review and Preview and Federal Judges Panels. A full list of our events can be found at http://www.law.upenn.edu/groups/acs/events.html. I also went to the Constitution in 2020 symposium at Yale Law School, the National Student Symposium at Penn Law School, and the National Convention in Washington, DC, where I expanded my network and made many valuable professional connections.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give it more money, so it can more fully fund student activities across the country.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was the President of the ACS student chapter at Boston University School of Law and I've recently co-founded the Maryland Lawyer Chapter of ACS. The organization provides great support to young lawyers trying to plug in to the progressive legal community in Washington DC or any other city in the country.

The annual convention is always a must-attend gathering of the greatest progressive legal minds in the country and the organization does a fabulous job of connecting the established members of the legal community with students and young lawyers who are just beginning to get involved.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've received great support from ACS during my time as a law student and as a young lawyer.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand even further into additional law schools and legal markets.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I'm the President of the University of Miami School of Law Chapter of the American Constitution Society, and I have been incredibly impressed with the national management of the organization from the start. Without their support, our local chapter would not have been able to achieve some of the success that we had this year.

At the University of Miami, this fall, some of our highlighted events included a professor panel on Don't Ask Don't Tell considerations, and we hosted a Voter Rights Panel with ACLU Voting Rights Director Laughlin McDonald.

I've been part of several organizations in the past, but I can tell you that the national chapter has been incredibly fast and efficient in their support of our local chapter. They maintain a great balance of encouraging our creativity, while making sure that no money goes to waste.

I would honestly encourage other nonprofits and associations to model their structure off of ACS because it works incredibly well. It's one of the best non-profits that I've ever worked with.

This organization is an incredibly worthwhile donation.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

coordination between the national chapter and our local organization. As I noted in the review, the national chapter is great in encouraging creativity, while still maintaining standards and a legitimate organization.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can't think of any changes to make off the bat, quite frankly. I'm part of several organizations, and quite frankly, I've never seen a national non-profit run so effectively.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Any progressive attorney or law student with an interest in improving our country's legal scholarship should join ACS. I became involved in ACS while I was a student at a law school in California, and I have continued as a member as a practicing attorney in Los Angeles. ACS brings together the sharpest legal minds from around the country, advances legal thinking, and more importantly, offers a response to conservative ideas that have taken on a greater role in the legal profession over the past few decades. All of the ACS events I have been involved with have been professionally run. The staff takes pride in their work and shares the organization's mission. I couldn't recommend getting involved more.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've experienced the results of this organization in observing the nation's conversations regarding the roles judges should play in our society and how its work has emboldened legal progressives. The organization has also resulted in my own professional development through my participation in ACS events and student competitions.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would help it attain a broader nationwide focus. It seems as if much of the attention of this admittedly young organization is in Washington, DC, but I live on the west coast and feel disconnected at times. Washington is the center of the legal field in this country, and therefore it is only natural for many ACS events to take place there, but there should be a greater focus on other regional or state issues as well.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

What is unique about this organization?

Only organization of this type doing this type of work in a nationwide capacity.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 5 stars  

I joined ACS as a student, and later became a student chapter leader. I've remained involved as a professional. As I've continued my participation, I've reaped immeasurable benefits. ACS's programs never fail to be interesting and informative. I've also had the opportunity to meet and become acquainted with leaders and visionaries of today and tomorrow.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

professional development, networking

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

none!

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