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2017 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

70 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Brandon8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS does vital work to ensure that progressive visions of the law are represented in law schools and in the judiciary. I joined ACS as a 1L, was president of our student chapter at UVA, and am proud to continue my involvement now that I am in practice. The Federalist Society has had well-documented success in creating a network and a pipeline that develops young conservatives from law students to coveted political appointments. ACS is restoring balance to the federal bench by establishing a progressive network that rivals the FedSoc, and that frankly has more fun in the process. Their events are a good mix of practical advice, networking opportunities, and high-minded legal debate and discussion.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an incoming law student, ACS has been exactly what I was looking for in an organization devoted to fostering thoughtful debate on our Constitution. Having been involved in nationally-affiliated student organizations before, I say without reservation that the support the national organization provides to its chapters is top notch.

Tom_45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS represents the very best in what a public-policy nonprofit should be. ACS staff are absolutely dedicated to their mission to promoting a progressive view of the Constitution and are careful with their money as they do so.

I've been involved with ACS in one way or another since I was in law school. I greatly admire what they aim to do, and what they manage to do on a relatively tight budget.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization for getting law students aware of the many ways they can use their educations to achieve meaningful progressive ends and help those who most need legal services and policy changes.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is a fantastic organization for organizing, motivating, and connecting progressives across the country. ACS does an incredible job of both playing an important role at the highest levels of law and policy while also nurturing the next generation of diverse leaders from all kinds of law schools across the country. ACS has already played an extraordinary role in my law school experience, and I can't wait to continue participating for many years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is an inclusive and civic-minded organization that allows local groups to engage in high-minded civil debate. It creates a forum to discuss issues of the day. Although its stated mission--toward a progressive vision of the Constitution--is liberal, I have found that ACS engages with our brothers on the other side frequently and with great success. This is a private organization that manages to draw attention to differences of policy and opinion without becoming strident or intolerant. I am very proud to count myself a member of ACS. It is truly a great nonprofit organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was the President of the University of Minnesota Law School chapter of ACS and it was great to be part of such a supportive organization. ACS encouraged us to hold events relevant and important in our society, from criminal justice issues like wrongful convictions to constitutional issues like the gay marriage ban initiatives. ACS was critical in providing us experts from across to country to educate students on breaking legal issues and providing a network to so that students could use the knowledge to help those in need.

Dayne P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Taking seriously the idea that an educated public is essential to a well-functioning democracy, the ACS provides educational and support networks to help disseminate an historically honest interpretation of the Constitution and its role as America's founding document. The ACS plays a key role in helping to get judges through the stultifying appointments process, and it provides a robust alternative to conservative jurisprudence by refusing to cede the issue of the founding fathers' intent.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a second-year law student and a member of my school's ACS Executive Board. ACS was one of the first organizations I joined when I started law school, and was always very welcoming to new students. As I became more involved, I had the opportunity to work with ACS national and have come to appreciate ACS even more. ACS does great work furthering social justice by focusing on education surrounding voting rights and reminding us every day why courts matter. ACS's Constitution in the Classroom program also helps advance civics education among children. I plan to stay involved with this great organization throughout my legal career!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am law student and have been involved in ACS since my first year. I was drawn to ACS because of the progressive view point it promotes. My school chapter and the lawyers chapter has provided me with the opportunity to be engaged in the legal community from the start. In working with ACS I have been able to take on a leadership role, through this role my confidence and knowledge in presenting legal and policy topics has increased. ACS educates students and the public about important issues by promoting discussion ACS is the premier organization to meet progressive minded people who are interested in using the law to make policy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a law student and have been involved with ACS as a national member, the president of my school's student chapter, and a member of the organizations Next Generation Leader Program. ACS offers incredible opportunities for progressive law students and attorneys. It has a strong network of members in a variety of interesting and important positions around the country, all of whom are eager to help other people who share ACS values and want to work for ACS goals. I would encourage every progressive legal professional to become involved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a law student who has been a member of ACS from the beginning of my first year at law school. Now I am serving as a board member of the student chapter at my law school and it has been a great experience all along. I consider myself a progressive and I particularly like the fact that ACS is one of the progressive student/lawyer organizations that can effectively function as an umbrella organization working together with other progressive/liberal national nonprofits. ACS has organized great events like its Annual National Convention at D.C. and it has been promoting civil discourse on important social justice issues like voting rights, economic inequality, and other basic civil rights. I hope ACS can continue to work toward achieving its organizational goals together with other nonprofits and general public.

Vasu108

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is the premier progressive legal network in the country. If anyone in the legal world wants to get involved in progressive causes, being active in ACS is the best way to get connected with like-minded and passionate students and practitioners. I have been involved with ACS for a while now, and the organization has been a lifeblood as I figure out my career.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is a crucial organization for connecting and organizing disparate groups of progressive professionals from across the country. ACS provides valuable training, legal instruction, and connections to established progressives in a variety of different fields. I have personally benefited by constantly learning new things about the law, being exposed to like-minded peers and future colleagues, and gaining access to professional development opportunities that other organizations have not come close to providing. I have been extremely active throughout law school and look forward to continuing my engagement with ACS over the remainder of my career!

China D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served as a volunteer at the 2012 ACS National Convention last month. It was a very valuable experience! The convention included panel discussions, plenaries, networking events and an opportunity to be assigned a mentor. All of these events were centered around discussing how we as lawyers, students, and professors can and SHOULD impact social justice in our local communities and country. While at the convention I met my assigned mentor who works as an attorney for the White House. I told him I am interested in law and policy work and he suggested a few places to which I should apply for a clerkship. He then suggested I also contact his office and inquire about clerkship opportunities. The next week, I received a call from his office requesting an interview. The next day, after the interview, I received an offer. This Fall I will be a WHITE HOUSE LAW CLERK!!! How cool is that?! Well, I owe it all to the ACS National Convention!

Sara T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ACS for a decade--first as President of the Emory Law School Chapter, and currently as President of the Georgia Lawyers Chapter. ACS is a fine organization and has made a tremendous impact in the lives of attorneys young and old who work to serve the public interest and build a legal community that is responsive to the needs of the vulnerable in our society, and that promotes the Constitution as a vital and living document.

Brian31

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS was one of the highlights of my first year of law school. The chapter at BU Law is active and thriving because of the overall non-profit's influence and support. The BU Law chapter of ACS consistently partners with other student-run organizations and non-profits to bring engaging speakers to speak on innovative and timely topics. ACS's ability to leverage its resources to meet its ultimate goals of education and awareness fill gaps previously unmet by an organization at BU Law. I knew that I needed to involve myself in this organization. I serve as an Executive Member (because the Moot Court competition was cancelled this year) and I hope to give back to this organization by sponsoring events in voting, family law, and tax law for the fall semester. Thank you ACS for your continued support for legal education and knowledge!

Nick V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is a great presence on campus. The group continually brings interesting and engaging speakers onto campus, and hosts some highly intriguing discussions. They are a solid group at school; everyone knows of what ACS does, and whenever they host an event, ACS always rises to the high expectations.

John N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I decided to pursue a career in law as a second career in life. With my head on straight and my feet planted firmly in the ground, I entered law school secure in the fact that my career goal was Civil Rights Advocacy and providing access to justice to the underserved communities. Fortunately, I attended the recent American Constitution Society convention in DC in an effort to incorporate a chapter into my law school. The event in DC was life eye-opening. My exposure to a roomful of brilliant, insightful, and open minds reconfirmed my goals and reinvigorated my spirit. I encountered practitioners that spent their professional lives accomplishing what I came to law school to do!!! Progressivism is alive and well and ACS breathes new life into each and every day. I can now bring this spirit back to my law school with me and share it with my fellow progressives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined ACS my second year of law school and it has been a wonderful experience. ACS provides different perspectives which are sometimes lacking in the classroom. The national convention truly insprired me to become more active in my school's chapter and encourage others to join ACS.

Sara G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The American Constitution Society has been an amazing outlet while I have been in law school. Just being involved with the organization is an education in itself. I now am honored with the position of President for my chapter and am looking forward to hosting several events and learning more and more about this great organization. Happy 10th Birthday ACS!!