Public Interest


Vanderbilt Law School is committed to cultivating a culture of public service and to facilitating opportunities for students in the public interest comprehensive preparation and support, including: 

  • A robust upper-level and clinical curriculum 
  • Opportunities to do pro bono legal work 
  • Career advising support specifically tailored to public interest 
  • Post-graduate support, including a Loan Repayment Assistance Program 

Opportunities for public service begin at orientation, when you may choose to take the pro bono pledge, a commitment to at least 75 hours of pro bono legal work and community service during law school. Many students also pursue summer work in judicial chambers, the offices of federal and district attorneys and public defenders, and with government agencies and legal nonprofits, receiving course credit or stipends funded by the law school to help defray living expenses.  

Garrison Social Justice Scholar, Class of 2026

Kyle Smith '23

"I wanted the chance to be in an environment that was academically rigorous but also supportive, and throughout my experience as a 1L, Vanderbilt has been a place where I have been supported while also being challenged."

Public Interest News

Three Vanderbilt Law Students Pursue Legal Careers Focusing on Civil Rights as Marshall-Motley Scholars

Ashley Fox ’24, Adom Abatkun ’25 and Sophia Howard ’25 were selected for the first and second cohorts of a groundbreaking scholarship program created “to endow the South with the next generation of civil rights lawyers.” 

Meet the Public Interest Office

  • Beth Cruz

    Beth Cruz

    Assistant Dean, Public Interest

  • Erin Parr-Caranza

    Erin Parr-Caranza

    Public Interest & Immersion Coordinator

Public Interest Legal Research

Utilizing cutting-edge tools like Public Interest Legal Research (PILR)—an online portal where public interest law practitioners can submit research requests and projects for Vanderbilt Law students to perform remotely—adds depth to student experience and can alleviate hurdles facing public interest attorneys. PILR allows practitioners to submit research requests that Vanderbilt Law Students can complete on deadline.

Learn More About Public Interest Legal Research

Have Questions?

Email the Public Interest Office Program Coordinator.

Vanderbilt does not respond to email requests for legal assistance. Please call 615-322-4964.