Judicial Clerkship Program

Vanderbilt Law School’s Judicial Clerkship Program provides support throughout the process and has enjoyed great success in securing clerkships at all levels of the judicial system.

judicial clerkships court


A judicial clerkship is one of the most prestigious and valuable experiences available to a recent law graduate. Judicial clerks gain inside knowledge of how parties pursue actual cases and how judges resolve legal issues. They are exposed to both substantive law and procedure, while developing their research and writing skills. They also have the opportunity to develop a mentoring relationship with an experienced judge and a professional network with fellow and former clerks that will extend well into their legal careers. Clerkships are available at all levels of the federal and state court systems, as well as with more specialized courts such as bankruptcy and tax courts. The process for obtaining a clerkship is extremely competitive but Vanderbilt Law provides expert support throughout, boasting exceptional outcomes year over year.

Clerkship Resources

Michael Bressman

Comprehensive Support

Each year, all 1Ls are invited to general information sessions about clerkship opportunities, held by program director Michael Bressman, which cover the courses and extracurricular activities that help prepare a candidate for a judicial clerkship.

Professor Bressman holds informational meetings for 2Ls detailing the application and interviewing process and meets with each interested student individually.

3Ls and recent Vanderbilt Law graduates receive guidance throughout the application process, including assistance in completing and submitting their application packages and preparing for interviews. Some judges prefer to hire clerks with one or more years of work experience, and Vanderbilt's Clerkship Program supports recent graduates who wish to seek a clerkship as well as current 3Ls. 

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2018-19 Clerk to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court

Samiyyah Ali '16

“Clerkships are a one-stop shop for new lawyer training. As a clerk, you're uniquely positioned at the right hand of the judge, managing cases, researching disputed legal issues and drafting opinions. Perhaps most importantly, you get an insider's look at what makes a good lawyer, which will prepare you for a law job of any type, whether you're headed to a firm, a nonprofit organization or the government. When you start your next job, you'll already know what a judge is looking for." 

Clerkship Placement Success

During the four-year period from 2018 to 2021, Vanderbilt 3Ls and alumni secured 111 clerkships, including 101 clerkships with Article III judges. Graduates have also clerked at federal bankruptcy courts, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services, at the Delaware Court of Chancery and at other specialty courts as well as at state Supreme and appellate courts. 

VLS ClassTotal Graduates% Federal ClerksRank Among U.S. Law Schools

Clerk to Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

JD Fox '19

"If you are a clerk aspirant, there’s hardly a better place to be than Vanderbilt. Professor Bressman has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of federal Judges throughout the country, and it seemed like he began prepping us for clerkships from day one."