Lawyers lead. Prepare Accordingly.

Vanderbilt provides outstanding preparation for leadership careers in the legal profession, business, government, public service and other areas. Earning a Vanderbilt J.D. means gaining knowledge, skills, and experience to tackle difficult problems locally, nationally, and globally, in a changing society, economy, and legal marketplace. Our students develop high-level skills in analysis, problem-solving, negotiation, dispute resolution, advocacy, speaking and writing that provide immediate advantages upon entry to the legal profession or other areas in which law and legal training promote positive outcomes for individuals and society.

Build a foundation.

An outstanding foundational curriculum in the first year followed by advanced coursework, experiential learning, and professional skills training in the second and third years are the hallmarks of a Vanderbilt legal education. First-year orientation includes Life of the Law, an intensive course that introduces core concepts and essential skills for learning the law. Required first-year courses include the traditional core subjects taught throughout American legal education with the addition of Regulatory State, an introduction to statutes and agency decisions and their central role in modern government and lawyering. First-year required courses are taught to sections of about 60 students, and legal writing groups each number about 20 students. In the second semester, first-year students take one elective course from upper-level offerings.

VLS has given me the tools to solve sophisticated legal problems and communicate effectively with any audience—clients, partners, associates and others.

MICHAEL MOORE | Class of 2017

Seek your inspiration.

Studying the foundations of law and legal reasoning reveals a broad range of possibilities for one’s legal education and career. As first-year students identify areas of law and law practice that interest and inspire them most, their plans for upper-level studies take shape. Guided by faculty, students take advantage of our broad curriculum, diverse academic programs, experiential learning opportunities, and extracurricular options to tailor their second and third years to individual intellectual interests and professional career goals.

I loved the classes in law school! My first-year classes were some of the best I’d ever taken at a university; every professor made the material come completely alive. Professors here take an incredible interest in students and in teaching. In class, you can tell how seriously they think about teaching techniques.


Pursue compelling interests.

In the second and third years, Vanderbilt’s broad curricular offerings and academic programs allow extensive flexibility to delve into one or more areas of compelling interest and to prepare for a career in any area of law. An array of clinics, externships, simulation courses and summer stipends allow students to learn both the theory and practice of law in context while gaining valuable experience, and dual-degree programs allow students to gain additional expertise in a variety of fields. Working on Vanderbilt’s academic publications builds legal research and writing skills, and participating in student organizations fosters professional advancement, community engagement, and relationship building.

Expand your horizons.

Law practice is increasingly global, and Vanderbilt students engage in professional practice settings anywhere in the world through externships and stipend-supported pro bono work.  Our international law summer study program in Venice and law student exchange programs in Belgium and Brazil extend our academic offerings abroad, while the foreign-trained lawyers and judges in our LL.M. program enrich the school’s global perspective as they study American law alongside J.D. students in our classrooms.

I highly recommend the journal experience. Law school requires so much reading and independent analysis of cases, and working on the editorial staff of a journal really promotes those skills.

SHEN ZHANG | Class of 2013