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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

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

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

This organization is a fantastic resource for the progressive legal community and those working on legal policy issues. I find myself consistently returning to its website for both the latest in legal developments as well as for foundational background on new topics. Its blogs are well-curated and cover a range of topics and perspectives.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ACS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan progressive policy organization. It works closely with local bar associations, law students, judges, Congress, and many other organizations to advocate for a more progressive reading of the Constitution. I think its work with law schools and young, new lawyers is some of its best and most important work. It helps young people become active in their communities, connects them with judges, and affects change in vulnerable populations with the energy of those new lawyers.

Professional with expertise in this field

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 was involved with ACS in its earliest years, and it helped supplement the legal education I received in classrooms with a greater focus on real-world issues and current debates. Years later, as a lawyer, I have come back to ACS and built a lawyer chapter to bring together and energize our local legal community.

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.

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.

Frank H.

Donor

Rating: 5

ACS is doing the most important work in our nation right now by countering the ever-present shrill, hateful bombast insisting the Constitution supports an extremist, retrograde agenda. Staffed by the best and brightest lawyers in the country, ACS posits a thoughtful and balanced view of our nation's charter and acts as a a powerful counterweight to the "originalist" agenda which is nothing but a shorthand for institutionalized Christian fundamentalism and economic corporatism.

As a civil rights attorney I am deeply grateful for ACS and the work they do. If they didn't exist, they would have to be invented.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ACS is a tremendous force for good in the legal community. They provide a much-needed alternative to the conservative, activist model of Constitutional interpretation promulgated by the Federalist Society.

The ACS staff and Board are high-level professionals and their educational programs are of the highest quality. For all of these reasons, ACS is growing fast and has quickly become one of ht most influential legal groups in the country.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I became a member of ACS last year, in preparation for attending the ACS Convention. I had attended events put on by my local chapter, and wanted to get more involved, because I felt that the mission of the group aligned well with my personal and professional focus on justice and progressive legal practice. Now, I am a member of my local chapter's Executive Committee, and attending the convention made me even more excited about my new role. The ACS Convention was inspiring, thought-provoking, and an excellent networking opportunity. I constantly find myself telling stories about people I heard and things I learned there, because so much of it was timely and applicable to my work. It also gave me and my fellow Executive Committee members great ideas for programming for our local chapter. I am really thankful that ACS exists in this time of political impasse and judicial retrenchment, and I look forward to continuing to work with the national organization.

Peter C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The ACS helps the public , politician,students and academics understand the complex Constitutional issues confronting us today.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

ACS has been at the forefront of issues of law and policy involving the U.S. Constitution for many years . ACS provides educational programs to professional and the general public through lectures and publications many of which I have attended or read.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When it comes to Constitutional organizations, ACS is the best of the best.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am glad ACS is out there to provide a balanced alternative to the extreme conservative views that sometimes threaten to overwhelm important legal and public policy debates. ACS' informative articles and publications keep me up to date on vital constitutional issues as well as those related to my legal practice area. I also have been impressed with the equally wide range of educational and development programming ACS offers. I highly recommend them as a resource for other progressive attorneys or anyone who cares about the Constitution and the continued existence of a federal court system that makes decisions based on reason rather than ideology.

Jahan S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

ACS is an excellent, young organization that provides much needed balance to the legal debate in this country, which has, over the past 40 years, become dominated by conservative thought. ACS has very vibrant student and lawyer chapters across the country and appears to be gaining momentum.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ACS has been a great help to me as I begin my career as a young lawyer. Attending the 2011 Convention taught me so much and helped me make connections with like-minded legal professionals and law students. My only regret is that I didn't get involved sooner! When I was in law school, I attended some great programming sponsored by ACS, but it wasn't until I started working that I realized how much ACS does and what a passionate group of people it represents.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been a member of ACS since I was a law student. They proved to be an invaluable resource for networking and mentoring. Now that I'm a young lawyer, I continue to enjoy their timely events about cutting-edge legal issues, as well as their thoughtful blog articles, newsletters, and issue briefs.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic organization that advances intelligent inquiry and conversation on vital topics regarding the role of the Constitution and the law in American life. It taps top experts and brings them into the public debate. It's programs are very high quality.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a former attorney who now heads a philanthropy, I find ACS invaluable in keeping me informed about emerging issues. Its weekly Book Talk often summarizes cutting edge thinking. Its blog offers a well-read forum for law professors, practicing attorneys, best-selling authors, and other to debate the issues of the day. Its overview of the crisis in the federal judiciary is exceptional. Its conferences compress more wisdom into a couple of days than some law schools deliver over three years. Finally, ACS is a powerful force on behalf of a strong Constitution, evolving to meet the changing challenges of a dynamic society. It is a voice of reason and accuracy in an era where the Constitution is routinely abused by zealots who know little jurisprudence and less history. ACS rocks!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a retired lawyer who likes to keep up with important advances in the law and legal controversies, I find the ACS journal and website to be valuable resources. They spot and cover issues largely ignored by mass media, and are leaders in the effort to preserve our living constitution.