Scholarship, professional excellence, and commitment to service for the greater good are integral components of a Vanderbilt legal education. Among the nation’s leading law schools, Vanderbilt stands out as a forward-thinking community of professionals committed to providing tomorrow's leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to tackle difficult problems locally, nationally, and globally, in law, public service, business, government or other areas where law and legal reasoning promote positive outcomes for individuals and society.
Vanderbilt Law professors ranked 9th in a study of scholarly impact of American law school faculties in 2015. With about 170 students in each entering J.D. class, our smaller size allows greater access to an elite faculty in an unusually collegial, collaborative and rigorous academic culture. Drawn from across the nation and abroad, VLS students have remarkably varied backgrounds, experiences and professional goals, while sharing a common commitment to challenge themselves and each other to excel as legal professionals.
Innovative and interdisciplinary academic programs allow ample opportunities to explore the breadth of the profession, and then to delve into areas of compelling personal interest. Outstanding courses on theory and policy connect to clinics, externships, practicums and other opportunities to strengthen core expertise guided by faculty experts and practicing attorneys, while an array of dual-degree programs allow students to build content expertise in a variety of fields.
Our graduates consistently secure top-tier legal employment. With nearly 80% of each graduating class taking employment out of state, Vanderbilt graduates enjoy remarkable geographic mobility, which is supported by the school’s longstanding relationships with legal employers coast to coast and its global alumni network. Over the last five years, the top eight employment destinations among VLS graduates have been:
Perennially on the list of America's friendliest cities, Kiplinger has named Nashville the nation’s No.1 smartest place to live.
Home to the world-class Vanderbilt University campus, Nashville is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place that blends a growing international flavor (more than 80 languages are spoken here) with traditional Southern hospitality and the laid-back feel of the West Coast. Artistic excellence and technological leadership fuel “Music City’s” economic base as well as thousands of performances each year in every conceivable genre. Savor four distinct seasons in beautiful parks and hundreds of miles of trails and greenways; take in an NFL or NHL game, or minor-league baseball, or big-time college sports right on campus. Nashville is a healthcare capital, a higher education capital, and a dynamic state capital that’s big enough to have a busy and robust legal culture, but small enough to allow Vanderbilt students to influence that culture through clinics and volunteer work.
We would like to know you better as a prospective student - and for you to learn more about Vanderbilt. That's why we strongly encourage individual, in-person admission interviews for all applicants - and why more than 900 VLS alumni conduct admission interviews with applicants in 42 states, DC, and 14 foreign locations, while VLS admissions officers interview applicants at scheduled events on university campuses and in major cities from coast to coast.
Each interview report is considered in the context of the full application during file review. Interview arrangements must be initiated by December 1.
Admissions representatives attend recruiting events across the nation to meet prospective students and discuss all that Vanderbilt offers. We also offer Admission Interview Days and on-campus interviews in various locations nationwide.
About 175 new students enter the J.D. program each fall semester for a full-time course of study lasting three academic years. We do not offer part-time or evening programs. Applicants must hold (or expect to hold) a bachelor's degree from an accredited undergraduate institution.
J.D. students at other ABA-approved law schools who have completed one year of study may apply for transfer admission to Vanderbilt's second-year J.D. class.
J.D. students at other ABA-approved law schools may also apply as visiting students .
Each year, Vanderbilt's LL.M. program accepts a small number of foreign lawyers and international students for a one-year master's degree program that explores American legal issues and legal research methods.
LL.M. students are fully integrated into the Vanderbilt community, studying alongside American and other international students in the J.D. program. LL.M. students have access to the law school faculty and administration as well as the Vanderbilt University International Students and Scholars Office.
In recognition of the increasing importance of economics in a number of legal fields, Vanderbilt University has developed a Ph.D. program that provides unique training in law and economics. Students admitted to the program must either hold a J.D. at the time of entry or complete the requirements for both the Ph.D. in Law and Economics and the J.D. concurrently.
Vanderbilt University, headquarters of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience , offers the nation's first J.D. / Ph.D in Neuroscience.
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