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.
Students may attend the Equal Justice Works Annual Conference and Career Fair, the largest public interest job fair in the country, with support from Vanderbilt. The school also hosts an annual Government and Public Interest Day where students meet representatives from dozens of public sector agencies, learn about the work they perform, and make connections leading to internship opportunities. We also have regularly host government and public interest employers for on-campus job interviews.
In the past seven years, four VLS graduates have secured prestigious Skadden fellowships:
Post-graduate fellowships like the Skadden Fellowship are time-limited employment opportunities that serve as an important pathway into the public interest legal sector for recent law graduates, including judicial clerks. The Office of Public Interest offers a guide to pursuing one of these highly-coveted career-starters:
Through its Public Service Initiative, Vanderbilt supports graduates who work in unpaid public service positions with a stipend for up to a year. Recent graduates have secured legal placements with the Northern California Innocence Project, Creative Commons, the Cook County Mediation Program, the Texas Defender Service, the American Red Cross International Services Department, the New York Legal Assistance Group and Wikimedia Foundation, among others.