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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

American Constitution Society

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Democracy

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.

Community Stories

152 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a law student, my job, first and foremost, is to learn the workings of the law and prepare for a career practicing in the legal profession. When I arrived at school, my goal was simple: focus on my studies, develop good relationships with my professors, and prepare for the many many years after school, not just the three I would spend in it.

Along came ACS - both the national organization and my school chapter - and with it the realization that my professional skills and preparedness to be a responsible attorney would be bolstered greatly by engaging with this organization. Over time my involvement has deepened and the rewards have multiplied. The support and guidance I receive from ACS in every aspect of my legal studies and practice has been invaluable, and as a network nationwide their work is absolutely indispensable for ensuring that my generation of lawyers (as well as those who came before, and will follow after) is well-trained, well-educated, and meaningfully oriented toward responsible practice and being a contributing member of my professional and social communities.

The broad and dedicated ACS network has been a value-multiplier par excellence, and I am so thrilled that some of my work can contribute to others' lives and careers as well. I am excited for a future in this organization, and its reputation and status as a nonprofit reassures me that we'll be able to maintain a high level of earnest enthusiasm and dedication to a pure mission for years to come.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ACS helped me find my voice during law school and has continued to help me use that voice as a practicing attorney.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of the things I like best about ACS is how they provide information on crucial developments in civil rights. One of my favorite topics is voting rights, and learning about voter suppression tactics that hinder the progress that has been made. We must stay vigilant.

I enjoy learning about Supreme Court cases and developments in a fun and informative manner and venue. The fellowship is uplifting.

Perhaps what I find most important, is that I like the way ACS facilitates Constitution in the Classroom (CITC). This program helps ACS members and staff get the word out to DC public school students about the importance of the US Constitution. The instructors tackle and discuss issues relevant to the youth. Further, when students meet a variety of visitors who they might not regularly engage with, CITC demonstrates that there are many kinds of people in, and aspects of, the legal profession. And the instructors can benefit from the interaction with bright young people who they don't often encounter. For me, it's simply a great community service event all around. Ming Lowe

Christina B.6

Board Member

Rating: 5

ACS is one of the best nonprofits with which I have ever had the privilege of engaging. ACS's staff is knowledgeable, dedicated, and passionate. When I think of progressive leadership in the US, ACS is at the forefront. ACS inspires law students and attorneys to take action and produces important, groundbreaking reports on various hot topics in law. ACS believes that law should be a force for change to improve the lives of all people and acts on that belief by organizing and engaging attorneys, law professors, judges, and law students on progressive issues. ACS's work is vital to democracy.

Monica P.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The American Constitution Society has empowered me to plan events at my law school around topics of national importance. On a personal note, ACS has also helped me feel at home at my school. I am truly grateful for everything they do to advance a vision of the law that helps all people.

Donor

Rating: 5

ACS's work on judicial nominations is one of the most important programs I've supported. Proud to be an ACS supporter.

Rachael H.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ACS was so helpful when I was starting law school; it instantly connected me with like-minded law students. ACS continues to help its members by offering personalized career advice, publicizing important notice and comment opportunities, and hosting informative and entertaining events on a variety of topics. ACS and its staff perform a great service for law students and lawyers alike and truly deserves recognition for all that it has accomplished.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An amazing organization! Everyone in the national office is approachable, helpful, and friendly. I’ve been to a number of interesting events with unparalleled commentary and networking opportunities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS helped register out of state voters at our graduate school

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've watched ACS in action for many years and am impressed by its superb management, talented staff, motivated volunteers and members who include stars in the field, and ACS's ability to adopt new strategies and tactics in changing times. It is now without doubt the premier advocacy organization of American progressive jurists.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Relevant and rich programming on legal topics with excellent reach to students and diverse members and communities.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS has been a constant force for enrichment and engagement through law school and my professional years. I enjoy the high-quality programming and opportunity to engage with diverse thought leaders. I satisfy my intellectual side through ACS. As a bonus, I even met some dear friends through ACS involvement.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

At a time in the US when a number of cherished rights as well as our democracy and the rule of law are gravely threatened, the American Constitution Society (ACS) is helping to shape the debate on important legal and constitutional issues, build networks of lawyers, law students, judges and policymakers who want the law to improve the lives of Americans, and defend enduring constitutional values. I have attended a number of truly excellent discussions by leading lawyers and law professors on topics such as the legal status of corporations, the recently-ended Supreme Court term, theories of executive power under the Constitution (including a discussion of how different legal theories relate to special counsel Robert Mueller), and the recent nomination to the Supreme Court. ACS is playing a vital rule during these momentous times.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The American Constitution Society has been uniquely effective in bringing together the country's best legal minds, including lawyers, judges, academics, public officials, and law students, to develop a progressive vision of our Constitution and laws. It has been profoundly influential in helping to shape public debate over critical Constitutional and legal issues. As a law professor, I have benefitted directly from its programs and publications, as well as the networking opportunities ACS creates for professional and intellectual exchange.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The American Constitution Society is the foremost national network of lawyers, judges, policy makers and law students working to develop and promote the ideas and strategies that can help move our legal system and the constitutional law that governs it in a more progressive direction. I have had the privilege of being both audience and participant for various of its outstanding programs at both the local and national level and find that its blog and publications are reliable sources of important new insights into law and social justice. As a law professor, I know that my students who belong to ACS find their engagement with the local and national organizations to be a source of inspiration as they pursue their own paths towards legal careers that serve the public interest. ACS is simply indispensable.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ACS does a great job connecting like-minded law students and lawyers and making substantive contributions to current constitutional debates.

Donor

Rating: 5

ACS has helped connect like minded lawyers so we can collectively advocate for positive change, further develop legal theories based on the changing landscape, and assist one another in advancing or careers. It has been a pleasure and an honor working with them for over 10 years.

Board Member

Rating: 5

ACS plays a vital role in convening, educating, inspiring, and networking law students, lawyers, judges, academics, policymakers and others who believe that law should be a positive force for everyone in the United States. As a law student I am involved with ACS in my earliest years, and it helped supplement the legal education I received in classrooms with a greater focus on real-world issues and current debates. I am confident that ACS has made me better aware of the challenges facing our democracy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS does an amazing job informing the broader public about important legal issues, helping to ensure an informed and motivated citizenry.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Plays an invaluable role in shaping the legal dialogue on constitutional issues from a progressive perspective.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very useful connector for lawyers both at the national and state level: educational programs, mentoring with law students, advocacy opportunities and more!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There's no better organization for the times we are currently in.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a member of this organization for 3+ years and have seen the growth and impact they are having on the legal profession. This vital organization will help unite lawyers across the country to make positive, progressive impacts on a local, state, and national level.