Connect theory to practice.

Vanderbilt students learn both the theory and practice of law in context through hands-on experiences that connect advanced academic training to 21st century law practice. Guided by law faculty and experienced practitioners, our students learn how the legal system works and how its participants interact by using their classroom training in real-world practice settings.

Gain experience guided by experts.

Clinical courses

Clinical courses offer opportunities to represent clients in state and federal court; to represent clients in transactions; or to complete substantive research in support of international institutions, domestic government agencies or international tribunals.


In externships, students gain valuable professional experience and receive course credit for supervised work experience with faculty-approved employers throughout the nation and abroad. During the academic year, students apply for semester externships in federal and state attorneys’ offices, in judicial chambers, with federal and state agencies in Nashville, and a number of semester externships in other U.S. locations or abroad are available each year through the International Law and Environmental Law externship programs. During the summer, students may propose externships in any location for faculty approval.

Vanderbilt also offers an array of simulation courses that provide substantial experience similar to that of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks. While subject to change, examples include:

  • E-Discovery and Information Governance
  • Entertainment Industry Transactions
  • Intellectual Property Licensing
  • Legal Project Management
  • Mediation
  • Negotiation and Drafting of Key Corporate Documents
  • Patent Litigation Practicum
  • Practicing Environmental Law
  • Transactional Practice Workshop
  • Trial Advocacy

Extracurricular credits that support development and refinement of lawyering skills include:

Prepare to Practice, an annual lecture and workshop series sponsored by the Alyne Queener Massey Law Library at Vanderbilt Law School, prepares students for the professional challenges of legal practice by highlighting and discussing latest trends and hot topics.

Theoretical classes teach students to think like lawyers, but law exists out in the real world. Our clinics allow students to learn in this context—and to apply their new skills to a real problem and learn substance and procedure in context.

SUSAN KAY | Class of 1979 | Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs

Navigate a changing legal industry

The Program on Law and Innovation offers courses and an array of other opportunities designed to train the next generation of lawyers to thrive in an evolving legal profession.

The work my students have done is reflected in treaties, statutes, decisions and negotiating histories across the globe.

MICHAEL A. NEWTON | Professor of the Practice of Law

Financial support for pro bono summer internships

Our summer stipends and fellowships help defray expenses for students’ volunteer pro bono work anywhere in the world as unpaid interns in judicial chambers, U.S. Attorney offices, governmental agencies, NGOs, non-profit legal aid organizations and federal public defender offices.