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Vanderbilt Law School offers many opportunities for students to pursue externships that provide valuable professional experience while gaining academic credit.

Read the FAST FACTS.

Students may engage in externships in Nashville during the school year or during the summer. Also during the summer, students may engage in externships anywhere in the U.S. or the world. The Externship Program allows students to choose and design placements tailored to their individual goals and interests, typically by working with federal or state judges, prosecutors, defenders, or agencies; state attorneys general or legislative offices; corporate legal departments; or legal aid or other non-profit or non-governmental organizations.


Externship placements and proposals are approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. Students may not receive course credit for any work for which they are paid. A limited number of students may engage in a full semester externship outside Nashville. These students spend the entire semester at the externship site. Students who do not engage in full semester externships may count a maximum of 6 externship credits toward graduation requirements. Students who engage in full semester externships receive 8 credits for their externship, and may count no additional externship credits toward graduation requirements.

Statement of Educational Objectives

The primary educational objective of the externship program at Vanderbilt University Law School is to offer students experience-based instruction in professional skills and values. The specific skills and values taught will vary according to placement; however, each student will engage in at least some of the following lawyering skills: legal research and writing, interviewing, counseling, investigation, strategic planning, negotiation, pretrial and/or trial practice, appellate advocacy. A secondary educational objective is to expose students to various aspects of the lawyering process, and to encourage them to reflect on the roles of lawyers and other actors in the legal system. With certain placements, students will also have the opportunity to focus on specific areas of the law in a particular legal setting.

Course Goals

The goals of the course are that students: Develop an understanding of professional responsibility issues in live lawyering settings; identify and analyze the lawyering skills they observe and develop in their field placements; and engage in critical reflection about legal practice, the roles of attorneys in various practice settings, and their own future professional careers.

Externship Program

VLS Externship FAQs

Submit enrollment applications via the links below:

International Law Externship Programs

Environmental Law Externships

Email questions regarding the externship programs to:

Contact Anne Bathon in the Office of Student Financial Aid to apply for summer loans to finance your externship. Apply for summer loans by May 10.
Email: Phone: 615-322-6786