Career Services

Vanderbilt Law career outcomes speak for themselves. Each year, employment outcomes for Vanderbilt J.D. graduates consistently stand among the best in the nation for positions requiring bar passage.

career services

Personalized Support Leads to Exceptional Outcomes

Vanderbilt Law School’s Career Services Team provides students with the resources and support they need to achieve their career goals. Career counselors meet individually with students on a regular basis to learn how to develop resumes, emphasize strengths, and identify opportunities that fit their aptitudes and aspirations. The team also connects employers to students through a variety of events.

  • #7

    Above the Law ranking of the Top 50 law schools based on employment outcomes, cost, and student debt (2023)

  • 11K+

    Number of Vanderbilt Law School Alumni worldwide

  • #10

    Law schools that sent the highest percentage of J.D. graduates to the nation's 100 largest law firms, National Law Journal / (2022)

J.D. Career Services

Vanderbilt J.D. graduates consistently secure top-tier legal employment across the nation and areas of practice.

Visit J.D. Career Services

LL.M. Career Services

Vanderbilt LL.M. graduates are employed in firms, government, corporations, non-profits, and more in the U.S. and abroad.

Visit LL.M. Career Services

Alumni Career Services

Vanderbilt Law School Career Services supports alumni for life. 

Visit Alumni Career Services
Employment Report

Exceptional Outcomes

Vanderbilt has one of the most successful career services programs among the nation’s leading law schools, providing comprehensive resources to help students explore top-tier career services options and to guide graduates to employment opportunities across the United States and around the world. 

Resources for Employers

10 Questions for the Career Services Department

  • 1. How far does Vanderbilt's reputation extend?

    Vanderbilt Law School's national reputation means that you can go literally anywhere after graduation. Vanderbilt's far-flung alumni network encompassing every state in the U.S. except North Dakota and several foreign countries. Distinguished alumni include:

    • Securities & Exchange Commissioner Paul Atkins
    • Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark
    • Judges Martha Craig Daughtrey and Gilbert S. Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • Pauline LaFon Gore , mother of former vice president Albert Gore Jr.
    • Robert Hays Jr., managing partner of King & Spalding
    • Noted defense attorney and Watergate prosecutor Jim Neal, also a former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee
    • Paul C. Ney Jr., Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Department of the Navy
    • Congressman Ric Keller (R-FL)Judges John T. Nixon and Thomas A. Wiseman, both senior judges on United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
    • Former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell
    • Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), and actor on the television drama Law & Order
    • Judge Aleta Trauger, United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
    • Jody Wagner -- Secretary of Finance, Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • 2. What services are available for 1Ls?

    Career Services support begins early in your first year.

    • In the fall, you will learn from second and third year students about summer opportunities with private firms, government agencies, and public interest organizations.
    • You will attend Resumania, where you will learn how to develop a resume that showcases your strengths. You will learn about interviewing techniques and have a practice interview with an experienced attorney. You will receive coaching about the purpose of business lunches and dinners, along with practical tips and a manners refresher course.
    • Throughout the year, beginning in December, you will receive weekly notices of employment opportunities for first year students around the country. In addition, Vanderbilt Law School brings employers to campus to interview 1Ls for summer positions.
  • 3. How does the on-campus and virtual interview process work?
    • Career Services works with you to develop your resume and insure that your package includes all of the information required for the interview process, including transcripts.
    • Students “bid” for interviews with specific firms or for specific positions.
    • The interview schedule is calculated according to your bid rank and employer preference. Employers choose half of their schedules for first-year interviews and one-third of their schedules for the second and third years.
    • If more students bid for interviews with a specific employer than slots are available, students are placed on a waiting list.
    • Career Services develops and posts the interview schedule.
    • Students have an opportunity to fill remaining interview slots or slots vacated due to cancellations.
  • 4. Has Career Services placed students in the locations and/or with the firms or in the types of positions where you'd like to work?

    If you have been accepted to Vanderbilt Law School, we invite you to contact us to discuss your specific career goals. We'll be happy to provide information about our placements in your area of interest, whether you're interested in working with a law firm, in government or public services, in a judicial clerkship, or in other opportunities in the legal field.

  • 5. How does Career Services prepare students for on-campus and other interview situations?

    Career Services prepares students for on-campus and virtual interviews by reviewing resumes, helping students identify employers who are a good match with their career goals, one-on-one coaching with interviewing skills, coaching regarding ways to gain experiences that will build a strong resume, and providing an array of information resources to students.

  • 6. Does the same counselor work with you throughout law school?

    You are assigned to a specific counselor in your first year, who works with you to identify your career goals and strategies to achieve them. As specific questions arise, the counselors work together as a team to give you the best advice, and you might speak with additional counselors who can provide expertise in your areas of interest.

  • 7. Does Vanderbilt have a program for students interested in pursuing judicial clerkships?

    Yes. Typically, 10% to 20% of our students obtain judicial clerkships each year. Over the past eight years, Vanderbilt has placed students in all but one of the U.S. Courts of Appeals; three Vanderbilt graduates have also clerked for Supreme Court justices, and a 2005 graduate was named a Bristow Fellow.

    Our faculty takes an active leadership role in our judicial clerkship program, working closely with students interested in clerkships. Vanderbilt Law School's clerkship program is directed by Michael Bressman, a member of our clinical faculty. Professor Bressman and other faculty members are committed to working with interested students to identify and secure clerkships that will further their career goals.

  • 8. Do students who need it receive coaching in business or personal etiquette? How is that handled?

    In addition to special activities for 1Ls, such as the annual “Business Etiquette Dinner,” your Career Services counselor provides one-on-one coaching and delivers feedback from prospective employers.

  • 9. Are there formal mentoring programs available?

    Vanderbilt Law School's open-door policy is specifically designed to support mentoring relationships with faculty members. In addition, alumni are encouraged to participate in one-on-one mentoring programs. Alumni who visit the law school to speak and who serve as members of the adjunct faculty also work informally with students as mentors.

  • 10. Do Vanderbilt students have opportunities to gain practical legal experience?

    Vanderbilt's Clinical Legal Education Program offers students opportunities to represent clients under close supervision by members of the clinical faculty—and to explore the role of attorneys in shaping public policy. Students may choose from several practice areas, including civil, criminal, international, juvenile, domestic violence, business law, and community and economic development. By participating in clinics, students learn basic lawyering skills, such as interviewing, negotiation and case preparation. They also become familiar with the way the legal system works and the various participants in the legal system; and their professional responsibilities as attorneys. Vanderbilt's International Practice Lab allows students to complete two substantive legal research projects that support high-profile clients with pressing needs.

    Vanderbilt Law School's Externship Program provides opportunities for students to work under the supervision of faculty mentors and site supervisors in legal venues in Nashville and elsewhere in the U.S., at the International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague, and in other public sectors. Students receive credit for working in judicial chambers, public defenders' and prosecutors' offices, and in other governmental and not-for-profit programs. These experiences allow students to develop their legal skills while gaining an understanding of the work of judges, attorneys and diplomats. Externship programs run throughout the calendar year.

Career Services News