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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

Brittany S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved with ACS through my law school chapter. As a student interested in using the law as a tool for social justice I was excited to discover that such a progressive and inspiring organization existed not only at my school but also had a thriving national presence. Attending the National Convention in DC only further demonstrated to me the essential work ACS is doing. ACS pushes for an interpretation of the Constitution as it was meant to be, as a living and expansive document that promises genuine equality, civil and individual rights, and human dignity. It is changing the way lawyers, courts and the public think about law and the Constitution and is reclaiming patriotism as a truly inclusive concept.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first exposed to ACS through the student chapter at my school. Since then I have been consistently impressed with how the organization attempts to educate the public on the progressive view-point, something that is sorely lacking in the mainstream media today, while allowing other view points to be heard.

The chapter at my school has brought numerous speakers from all over the country who encourage us not only to be active participants in the political process but to use our knowledge to help those in the community and the nation at large.

The most obvious example I have of this is when my chapter and chapters around the nation went to schools in our communities and, using a curriculum outline provided by the national chapter, spent the day teaching classes on Constitutional rights to elementary and middle school aged children.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My law school's ACS chapter has really enhanced my educational experience. First, the group has given me a progressive outlet on a more conservative campus, exposing me to high quality discussion on issues that might not normally be covered in the classrooms. Second, I admire the way ACS promotes increasing the quality of debate around issues. They have made progressive views accessible, without attempting to drown out other ideas. I think this is a much stronger tactic, because they have made a wide variety of information accessible so that students as information consumers can weigh viewpoints for themselves. ACS has done all this for me in a way that validates my own opinions while also being respectful of others. I admire that in the organization.

Kevin S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to my first ACS Conference in June 2011 in DC and it was great! For law students who want to make a difference as progressives, the experience and networking are invaluable. I'm still bragging to friends about the people I met at that conference! The 10th Anniversary Convention went off without a hitch, and there was a tremendous amount of information shared. The speakers were top-notch, and the organization showed a strong commitment to progressive legal causes. I will be attending this conference again in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The American Constitution Society (ACS) is an invaluable resource for the legal community. I’ve been a student chapter leader for two years. I first joined this organization because it was one of the only organizations that encouraged constitutional scholarship and dialogue. Ever since, I have been an active member, helping bring speakers to the law school, organizing events on campus, and attending student conferences. ACS has been phenomenal at every step. Every year, ACS sets up great programming for students on constitutional issues. ACS also sponsors student conferences and organizes academic writing and moot court contests that ensure students stay connected to the larger legal community. Ultimately, because of ACS proactive progressive students and lawyers have a chance to shape constitutional debate and promote progressive ideas.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS has been amazing in bringing experts in their field to come talk about their experiences. I have learned so much.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Congress is the American Constituent Assembly.According to the Constitutional experts,American Congress is the greatest & strongest constituent Assembly.American Congress has 2 houses Senate & the House of Representatives.
American Senate is the only strongest upper house in the word.It is consists of 100 candidates.Each state elects its 2 senators for 6 years.Senate is a regular & permanent institution.It was established in 1789,in America.1/3 senators retired after every 2 years.Experienced senators have great importance,this is why,a senator can elect many times.If a senator dies or his seat is vacant due to any reason,the Governor of that state can chooses a senator at that seat & he becomes a senator till the new elections come.The senators are elected directly from 1913, through the 17th amendment.
The constitution created a new post of "President Pro Tempore" In 1977.The senator Hemfree was elected first time for this post.President Pro Tempore is the fourth strongest post after the President,Vice President & the Speaker in America.
The House of Representative (the lower house) has 435 candidates and are elected for 2 years .This house has limited tenure in the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ACS for about 5 years. In my experience, ACS has been a great organization that has helped me in countless ways!
First, ACS hosts all kinds of great speakers and events across the country, which provides good intellectual stimulation and academic debate. Second, ACS has many fantastic members in a variety of different positions, which allows for great networking opportunities. ACS has a lot to offer, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a progressive legal organization to join!

Liz F.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

For over a year, American Constitution Society has had a huge role in my career as a law student. As a student group leader, and a chapter member, I've taken part in all the various events ACS National as to offer. It has opened doors for me, and has lead to new opportunities, i.e. friendships, networking contacts, jobs. I am very proud to be a part of this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved in our law school chapter of ACS since my 1L year. Our chapter plays a very important role in informing the law school community and the general public about some of the most pressing legal issues facing our country. After attending our events, many students feel inspired that the law can and should be a positive agent of change.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to ACS in law school. Our school chapter hosted great speeches and debates. Since graduating in 2009, I have become even more involved in my local lawyer chapter. The local chapter offers great volunteer opportunities and hosts networking events, where I can meet like-minded public interest attorneys. I was fortunate enough to receive a fellowship for the ACS National Convention last summer, and I was blown away by the exciting program. The convention featured interesting panels and fascinating speakers, like Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Senator Al Franken. ACS does a great job of keeping lawyers engaged in broader social and political issues.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ACS since my first year of law school. It's such a terrific organization! ACS significantly enhanced my law school experience, showing me the importance of learning about and remaining involved in constitutional issues. It added much-needed depth and realism to my academic experience! I have also met some terrific and inspiring people through ACS, and have learned about issues I never previously thought about. It's a great organization to remain active in even after law school.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ACS is a wonderful organization! They have so many fantastic informational events and they facilitate lawyers volunteering in the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great speakers, events, members, and conferences. I'm greatful for their advocacy now more than ever.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They've done a great job making sure that the true meaning, and the way to interpret the constitution, is known. Their student organizations help to frame the debates on campus, and their social events for attorneys engage the whole community

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a first-year law student, and I've found ACS to be enormously helpful and informative. I've learned a lot from the different speakers brought in to talk about very relevant, current issues in today's legal sphere, and it's been great to meet other progressive students.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am second year law student and co-president of my law school's chapter of ACS and I can't even begin to describe how much support - both financially and programitcally - I receive from the ACS national office. Besides the obvious plus of helping to fund our on campus events ACS' staff is always there to help students find speakers for their programs and connect students with lawyers in their area.
Having such a strong commitment to bringing as many law students as possible to the annual convention in DC is just one testament to ACS commitment to mentoring the next generation of lawyers.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Adam S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.