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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Law & Jurisprudence

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

113 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS has been a real anchor for me, helping me in my career, opening doors and making connections. Staff is wonderful, smart and effective. Law students and lawyers, policymakers and judges -- this is an organization that is making a difference in helping shape law and policy, respecting the Constitution while advancing progressive principles.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS has really helped me to see how lawyers can make a difference in our society and in my community. The presentations and the speakers that ACS has hosted at my school have shown me how the law affects individuals and changes broad social issues. It has also helped me connect with professionals and form stronger connections with my professors, which I believe will help me in my career, as well as enhancing my education and my commitment to service.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ACS has served as a valuable resource throughout my law school career. At my school, ACS has connected me with classmates and professors who share similar beliefs and career goals as me. In my local community, I am able to connect with professionals, including prominent lawyers like judges, all because of ACS. Further, nationally, I am connected to a robust network of attorneys. The educational, learning, and networking opportunities are abundant for ACS members both in law school and in the legal community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The American Constitution Society is the most incredible legal organization in existence. It connects legal practitioners and law students of all varieties from all over the country, and helps effectuate positive changes in society. I went to the National Convention this summer, and met so many amazing people. I was also able to listen to and chat with some incredible legal minds at all of the amazing panels and presentations. I am also a member of the bay area lawyer's chapters (they have them all over the country) so I get invited to events like supreme court previews at law firms and local happy hours. It's really terrific!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is a wonderful organization that provides ample opportunities for networking and thoughtful discourse on the leading issues of our time. Every ACS event I've attended has been welcoming and informative. I always enjoy what the organization has to offer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS provides a powerful opportunity to network with individuals committed to the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and it's expressed fundamental values: individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law. I had the good fortune to recently attend my first ACS National Convention and was so impressed with the plethora of fabulous speakers. The speakers did an outstanding job discussing and explaining important legal topics of the day. The convention was remarkable. The speakers and events really did help foster progressive discussion and opportunities for real-world change, as another reviewer aptly stated. Members of local chapters volunteer their time and work hard to provide meaningful presentations and serve their local communities. ACS also does a stellar job producing meaningful publications, many of which are available for free on their website.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I also attended an ACS conference in DC and it could not have been better. The speakers and events all help to foster an open, progressive discussion that encourages real-world change.

More than the recent conference, however, ACS allows its chapters to pursue thought-provoking events interesting to local communities. These events attract legal professionals in many types of roles, helping to encourage connections that would likely not exist otherwise. ACS excels at bringing together people of similar values to maximize its impact civic and legal discourse both locally and nationally.

Its yearly conference was a great example of these strengths, and my volunteer work at ACS is valuable because it helps contribute to such a great organization.

Sulma G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ACS is a power house of legal analysis offering candid insight into the workings of our courts, government and communities. Their 2014 annual convention presented many panels on relevant legal issues provoking thoughtful discussions for everyone present. Their staff did an amazing job of bringing everyone and everything together all while making it appear effortless.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently attended and volunteered at an ACS conference in Washington D.C. and I had a wonderful experience. The issues this group works on are relevant and important to all of us, the speakers and panels were great, and the conference was well organized. -Chris P., Portland, ME.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is a wonderful organization. The helpful staff at the national headquarters are incredibly supportive and highly knowledgeable.

Jim_93

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ACS is an amazing organization that is truly dedicated to furthering progressive American constitutional values. Their focus is on making real change in the world as well as furthering opportunities for those on the ground making that change.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of working at ACS after graduating from law school, so I was able to see firsthand how dedicated the staff and the entire organization is to advancing liberalism in the legal sphere. There are any number of groups that pursue specific policies or bring people together to accomplish X, Y, or Z, but ACS really has developed a network of attorneys that can be deployed to do either/or of those two things. Obviously, ACS provides a lot of good networking opportunities, particularly in a profession that lives by networking, but it's programming is top-notch, if more people paid attention.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is my first year as a student member and I'm absolutely blown away by how supportive the staff that I've met is. The organization and its members are some of the most dedicated people around. The organization has been truly influential in showing me that a legal career can be a tool in affecting change.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of ACS for over six years. I first became a member of ACS in law school, where is provided me with an opportunity to connect with progressive law students at my school and across the country. It also provided a forum to discuss important legal and policy issues, as well as hear from leading practitioners and professors in the field.

Since graduating from law school, ACS has continued to provide opportunities to interact with other young lawyers, as well as keep abreast of cutting-edge issues across a range of legal areas.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The American Constitution Society (ACS) provides an opportunity for progressive law students and attorneys to interact, exchange ideas and learn from one another. Through events, issue briefs, student and lawyer chapters, publications, and a host of other activities, ACS creates a forum for the discussion and implementation of progressive legal ideas. By fostering a strong progressive legal community, ACS encourages and equips lawyers to advance the cause of social justice in their professional lives. The interactions between practitioners in the field, the best legal minds in the country, and the next generation of social justice-minded lawyers creates an exciting and inspiring atmosphere, one that serves as a reminder of all the wonderful things that lawyers are doing, and can be doing, to make the world a better place.

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve been a member of ACS for 7 years and have found the organization invaluable to my development as an attorney and a leader. I joined the American Constitution Society during my first year of law school. The events held by the University of Florida chapter allowed me to continue the dialogue regarding constitutional law outside of the classroom. I was always impressed by the number of high caliber speaker ACS would bring to campus.

I enjoy ACS’s efforts to foster appreciation of the constitution among school aged children. Its Constitution in the Classroom program encourages law students and attorneys to share their knowledge and appreciation of the constitution with primary and secondary school students by teaching a class focusing constitutional rights and responsibilities. ACS understands that an understanding of fundamental constitutional principles helps to encourage citizenship in school children.


Donor

Rating: 5

I first discovered the American Constitution Society when I was in law school. Having gone to a fairly conservative school, I was looking for an organization that matched the already strong conservative organizations on campus. Finding ACS on the web, I decided to go to their annual meeting three years ago.

I'm glad that I did. ACS put on an excellent program featuring some of the best and brightest minds on the liberal and progressive side of the law. In addition to the programming, I made many connections with other attendees to the convention. The staff at ACS was very supportive when I decided to start a new chapter of the organization at my law school campus.

I've now been a member of the organization for just over three years and by far it has been the most valuable of all of the professional organizations I have joined. I would highly recommend ACS to any lawyer who is interested in connecting with other progressive lawyers and thinking about the big picture issues of our day.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The ACS is a dynamic organization devoted to promoting a progressive vision of Constitutional interpretation. Through its many law school and lawyer chapters, it brings together like-minded individuals who strive together for goals, such as equality under the law, and access to the courts for all persons regardless of social standing.

Specifically for the Washington, DC area, there are many events hosted by both the D.C. lawyer chapter and the national organization where one can listen to thoughtful and interesting speakers. The organization also promotes an annual "Constitution in the Classroom" event where local attorneys work within the public school system to educate students regarding our founding document.

Marti M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined the American Constitution Society as a law student to help foster my understanding of constitutional law and how it affects policy issues. Years later, as a practicing attorney, I stay involved to push myself to keep thinking about the issues and to continue the conversation with other attorneys and policymakers, especially in my local community. The strong relationships and connections I've built through ACS in DC have been wonderful, but the greatest value is the opportunity to share and spread ideas with people who live and practice law in other parts of the country.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned of ACS during my first year of law school. Attending the convention allowed me to make friends with similar passion for constitutional policy and interpretation, and these friends have become like family to me. The relationships I've forged through ACS have been some of the most supportive and intellectually stimulating of contacts made in my legal career. The programming offered nationally and locally is first-rate, bringing a balanced voice in an often shrill political climate.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The ACS allowed me to attend a convention in D.C. where I was able to learn so much valuable information. They set up a very interesting and informative convention. The convention fostered a truly amazing learning experience, networking with inspirational colleges, and most certainly brought in the most influential and inspirational speakers. The ACS is a great nonprofit organization that is a true asset to the legal community.