Public Interest

Career Advising

Vanderbilt offers students seeking public interest careers – whether in government service, indigent defense, legal aid offices, advocacy organizations, or their own brand of social justice entrepreneurship – expert advice. The assistant dean for public interest works closely with the Career Services Office to support students who aspire to public service work during and after law school. 

launching your public interest career

Launching Your Public Interest Career: A Vanderbilt Student’s Guide to Fellowships

Fellowships are time-limited employment opportunities that serve as an important pathway into the public interest legal sector for recent law graduates, including judicial clerks.  This guide focuses on five categories of established post-graduate public interest fellowships:

  • - Project-based
  • - Organizational
  • - Firm-sponsored
  • - Entrepreneurial
  • - Clinical

Download the Guide

Our Assistant Dean for Public Interest works one-on-one with students seeking a career in public interest. The annual Government and Public Interest Day allows students to network with government and nonprofit employers. Students may also attend the annual Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair with support from Vanderbilt.  

Below are some of the public sector agencies where Vanderbilt Law graduates of the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023 went to work after graduation: 

A Better BalanceBrooklyn Defender Services (NY)Campaign Legal Center
Church World ServiceColorado Center on Law and PolicyColorado Department of Law, Office of the Attorney General
Community Legal Aid (MA)Emory University Law School, Juvenile Justice Clinical FellowshipFederal Energy Regulatory Commission
House Committee on Oversight and Government ReformKing County Department of Public Defense (Seattle, WA)Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands
Legal Aid Society, New York CityNashville DefendersOffice of the Colorado Public Defender
Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District (CO)Office of the District Attorney, Bronx (NY)Office of the District Attorney, County of Riverside (CA)
Office of the District Attorney, Queens (NY)Office of the Philadelphia District AttorneyOffice of the Public Defender, Fourth Judicial Circuit (Jacksonville, FL)
Office of the Public Defender, Nassau County (NY)Office of the Public Defender, Travis County (Austin, TX)Powell Project
Southern Environmental Law CenterStill She RisesTennessee Innocence Project
Tennessee Justice CenterTennessee Justice for Our NeighborsU.S. Agency for International Development
U.S. Air Force JAGU.S. Army Corps of EngineersU.S. Army JAG
U.S. Coast Guard JAGU.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitU.S. Department of Homeland Security, USCIS Refugee and Asylum Law Division
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentU.S. Department of Justice, Honors Program, Antitrust DivisionU.S. Department of Justice, Honors Program, Civil Rights Division
U.S. Marine JAGUnited Food and Commercial Workers International UnionUnited Nation's High Commission on Refugees

Have Questions?

Email the Public Interest Office Program Coordinator.

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