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  

ACS is an ideal organization for attorneys and law students who want to (1) learn more about the most pressing legal and social issues of the day; and (2) network with other engaged, vibrant professionals. I appreciate that ACS has given me the opportunity to plan substantive events that bring together legal professionals from throughout my area and to attend amazing events planned by others. I was fortunate to receive public interest funding to attend the national convention in DC this year and was absolutely blown away by the quality of the programming and the passion with which attendees engaged on the issues. It's a tremendous group of people, and I am honored to be a part of it.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

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

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with ACS since law school, and find that it fulfills both my desire both for camaraderie in the progressive legal community and my nerdy-wonky needs. They have a very active board that hosts events in everything from tech privacy to criminal justice reform, and we are always looking for new people and topic areas to help us with our mission. It's also a GREAT place to network.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

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

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

ACS is a great organization that I joined after entering law school last year. I am currently the event coordinator at my school and am so proud of all the events that we have had because they were both informative and inclusive of all viewpoints on issues like immigration and healthcare. The national organization also offers great advice and support to the student organizations and advise us on the hot topics of the year so we can plan events that showcase the issues that currently affect our nation and the living constitution of the United States. This is a great organization and I am happy to be a part of it and will continue to participate once I am a lawyer.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

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

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

As President for the University of St. Thomas School of Law Chapter, ACS helped me become more active in the community and provide informative forums on important topics and public policy. The staff is incredibly supportive and always available to assist in setting up events, recruiting speakers, or providing funding when we have a shortfall in our budgets.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a second year law student at Concord Law School who had an opportunity to attend the 2012 ACS National Convention in Washington, D.C. this past June on a student scholarship. I strongly support the efforts of the American Constitutional Society for Law and Policy as they promote the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental values it expresses. One area that I am particularly interested in is access to justice. During one of the many break-out sessions at the Convention those in attendance were made particularly aware of the judicial vacancy crisis. The extent of the crisis puts at serious risk the ability of all Americans to have a fair hearing in court. This concern was woven into many of the break-out sessions provided at the Convention along with specific information on communicating an effective message to the public and governmental officials regarding his concern. Democracy must constantly be safeguarded and the ACS is an organization that not only promotes thoughtful discussion among individuals but also preserves the fundamental tenet that the law should be a force to improve the lives of all the people.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

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

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

ACS has been a major part of my professional life for the last decade. It offers liberal and progressive lawyers a chance to interact, in a substantive way, across fields, regions, and demographics. So I've attended panels on a wide variety of topics outside my everyday specialties on issues like consumers' rights, corporate accountability, and international law. I've met like-minded lawyers from across the country and frequently run into lawyers and judges I've met through ACS. And I've gotten many chances to talk about constitutional law with students and young lawyers.

Perhaps my most extensive involvement has come from being a co-author of Keeping Faith With the Constitution, first published by ACS (and available for free download from its website: acslaw.org) and then in a revised edition by Oxford University Press. This book offers an accessible account of constitutional interpretation and why the U.S. Constitution is, at its heart, a progressive document responsive to our nation's needs and commitments. Not only was the book fun to write, but as part of the process, I got to work with a pair of amazingly talented co-authors (Goodwin Liu and Chris Schroeder), a perceptive slew of sounding-board folks from a range of perspectives, and then to debate and present the work around the country. That kind of collaborative effort to advance a liberal understanding of the Constitution lies at the heart of ACS.

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

having the opportunity to work with a wide range of liberal and progressive lawyers

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

Expand its educational programming for non-lawyers

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Rating: 5 stars  

I joined ACS my first year of law school because the events that ACS organized helped keep my studies in perspective. Inviting authors, professors, and practicing attorneys to speak to law students was inspiring and motivated me to want to do more. ACS is a great way to be involved in the community and helps us feel like we can make a difference.

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

the eyes of a 1L and I am looking forward to being a Board Member.

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

suggest social events in addition to the professional events ACS organizes.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've loved being a part of ACS. I was co-president of the Yale Law chapter last year and now am on the Board. At well over 100 law schools, ACS empowers student members to fight to restore the Constitution to its true role as guarantor of equality and freedom. Whether that means hosting speeches and debates or organizing happy hours and potluck dinners, ACS provides students the support to make their chapters work

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

-

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

-

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Rating: 5 stars  

While there are several progressive think tanks and policy groups, only ACS is anchored in hundreds of law-student and lawyer chapters around the country, with the mission of growing the next generation of progressive lawyers and policy-makers by exposure to ideas and with links made to one another. It is a unique role within the progressive community.

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

I teach in a law school and I see the enthusiasm that students bring to the ACS chapter, which exposes students to interesting outside speakers and provides networking opportunities.

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

Find more resources for the chapters to provide enhanced programming and leadership. The Federalist Society is much better funded, serving restaurant-quality meals at its events -- and we all know that a student body marches on its stomach. Seriously, the American Constitution Society's potential is limited only by its resources.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am honored to serve on the board of the American Constitution Society. Seldom has an organization been validated as quickly as ACS was at its founding ten years ago. Law students immediately saw the importance of participating in an organization dedicated to lifting up a vision of law and justice associated with progressive values. A decade later ACS has chapters at nearly 200 law schools and engages leaders in the law in significant public discussion of pressing legal issues of the day. I believe strongly that ACS has done crucial work in increasing the number of law students and lawyers who will participate on a lifelong basis in the hard work of keeping our democratic society committed to its founding values and ideals.

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

I've seen hundreds of students at Georgetown and elsewhere who I think have been influenced by the people and ideas they'd encountered through ACS.

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

Reach even more people with the good work that ACS does.

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