Vanderbilt University Law School Profile, Nashville, Tennessee |

Vanderbilt University Law School

Rank 17


131 21st Ave. South,

Nashville, TN 37203-1181









Overview 3

Vanderbilt Law School has trained excellent lawyers for careers throughout the United States and around the world for 140 years.

Located on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville, Tennessee, the law school combines the advantages of a stimulating university community, a top-tier faculty, a small, carefully selected student body, and a vibrant, livable city.

Known for offering a rigorous academic program in a collegial, supportive atmosphere, Vanderbilt Law School attracts law students and faculty seeking a first-rate academic institution that also affords an excellent quality of life.

Situated on the park-like Vanderbilt University campus, which is a national arboretum, the law school's state-of-the-art building offers an atrium with comfortable study nooks and wireless internet access throughout.

Student-Faculty Ratio 4


Admission Criteria 6

25th-75th Percentile 162-168 3.50-3.85
Median* 167 3.70

The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the 2016 entering class.

Director of admissions Todd Morton
Application deadline April 1

Law School Admissions details based on 2016 data.

Admission Statistics 6

Approximate number of applications 4380
Number accepted 1413
Percentage accepted 33.3%

The above admission details are based on 2016 data.

Law School Cost 7

Tuition and fees Full-time: $53,150 per year
Room and board $14,662
Books $1,842
Miscellaneous expenses $8,406

Class Ranking and Grades 8

Grades are due 30 days after the end of the exam period and are made available to students as soon as possible thereafter. Students are graded on the grading scale below:

A+ 4.3
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7

Students may access their academic records through YES. The site may also be accessed through the Law School intranet Quick Links. The VUnetID and e-password are necessary to access student information.

Anonymous Grading of Examinations

Anonymous grading is accomplished by a carefully planned system in which each student receives a randomly-assigned identification number for each exam. Students are not personally identified until the professor reports the grades of the written examination. Any adjustments to the exam grades, for class performance or other reasons, are made separately. Students may obtain the exam grade from the Academic Life Office. Final grades are posted in YES.

Re-grading and Final Grade Review

Re-grading and re-examination are not accepted practices in the Law School. Such measures would be in serious conflict with the anonymous grading system and are not regarded as appropriate methods to administer a fair, uniform, unbiased grading system. Accordingly, grade changes are made only in the event of a clerical error.

Honors 9

Honor Criteria
Dean’s List Students in the top 20 percent of their class, as based on thesemester GPA, receive Dean’s List honors.
The Order of the Coif The Order of the Coif, the national legal scholarship society, hasa chapter at Vanderbilt. Election to membership in the order islimited to those students in the top 10 percent of the graduatingclass who have completed at least 75 percent of their law studies(66 class hours) as graded class hours. Graded courses are thosefor which grades in the A+ through F range are awarded andare recorded on the transcript. Courses taken on a pass-fail basisare not included. Because Vanderbilt accepts transfer credits butnot grades, it is unlikely that a transfer student can meet the 75percent rule to qualify for the Order of the Coif.
Founder’s Medal The Founder’s Medal, signifying first honors, was endowedby Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt as one of his gifts tothe university. It is awarded to the student in the graduatingclass who has attained the highest grade point average, havingcompleted at least 55 credit hours and five full-time semestersin residence at Vanderbilt.

Awards 10

Name of Award Awarded for/to
Junius L. Allison Legal Aid Award. Awarded annually to the studentadjudged to have made the most significant contribution to the workof the Legal Aid Society. Set up to honor Professor Junius L. Allison, firstdirector of the Vanderbilt Legal Clinic.
Thomas C. Banks Award for the Outstanding Jessup Team Member. Selected and awarded by the Jessup Moot Court competition team to the member who has made the greatest contributionto the team’s overall success during the prior year. This award was establishedin memory of Thomas Cloney Banks (J.D. 1983).
Bennett Douglas Bell Memorial Award Endowed, and awarded "to the student of the senior law class, who is not only well versed in the law, but who embodies the highest conception of the ethics of the profession, and who would strive to 'Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God,' as did the one in whose memory the prize is given and whose name it bears, Bennett Douglas Bell."
Damali K. Booker Award Presented annually to the third-year law student who has a keen dedication to legal activism and a demonstrated commitment to confronting social issues facing both Vanderbilt Law School and the greater Nashville community.
G. Scott Briggs Transnational Legal Studies Award Awarded each year to the senior who has exhibited a high degree of scholastic achievement in transnational legal studies and who has made the most significant contribution to the development of international legal inquiry while a student of Vanderbilt Law School. This award was endowed by Mr. Briggs (J.D. 1969) in memory of his parents.
Philip G. Davidson III Memorial Award Presented annually to the student, chosen by the Vanderbilt Bar Association Board of Governors, who is dedicated to the law and its problem-solving role in society, and who provides exemplary leadership in service to the Law School and the greater community. The award has been endowed by Mr. Davidson's family and friends.
K. Harlan Dodson Moot Court Staff Award Awarded in the Law School to that senior member of the Moot Court staff, other than the chief justice, who has rendered the most outstanding service throughout the school year in all aspects of the Moot Court program.
Robert F. Jackson Memorial Prize Awarded to "that member of the second-year law class who has maintained the highest scholastic average during the two years." This prize was established in 1945 by Mrs. Robert F. Jackson in memory of her husband, who was for many years an esteemed member of the Board of Trust.
Journal of Entertainment and Technology Student Writing Award Awarded to the student submitting the most outstanding piece of student writing for publication in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.
Chris Lantz Award Awarded each year to a student who demonstrates a dedication to developing a sense of community among his or her classmates with a strong capacity for leadership and commitment to his or her legal studies. This award was endowed by the Class of 2011 to honor the memory of their friend and classmate Chris Lantz.
Christopher S. Lantz Memorial Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law Outstanding Service Award Awarded to the student, other than the editor-in-chief, who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.
Myron Penn Laughlin Note Award Awarded to the student, other than the recipient of the Morgan Prize, who contributed the best student Note published in the Vanderbilt Law Review.
Law Review Candidates Award Awarded by the second-year staff of the Vanderbilt Law Review to the third-year staff member, other than the editor-in-chief, who has made the most significant contribution to their development as staff members of the Vanderbilt Law Review.
Law Review Editor's Award Awarded annually to a third-year editorial board member who has made the most significant contribution to the Vanderbilt Law Review.
LL.M. Research Prize Awarded for outstanding achievement in the completion of a scholarly research and writing project.
Lightfoot Franklin & White Legal Writing Awards Awarded annually for Best Brief and Best Oralist in each of the eight sections of the first-year Legal Research and Writing course. This award is sponsored by Lightfoot, Franklin & White of Birmingham, Alabama, to support the teaching of practical legal skills in the Law School curriculum.
Archie B. Martin Memorial Prize Awarded to the student of the first-year class who has earned the highest general average for the year. The late Mr. H. L. Martin of New York City made provision for the prize, which is given in honor of his son, who was a member of the first-year class when he died in 1923.
Morgan Prize Awarded in the Law School to the student contributing the most outstanding piece of student writing to the Vanderbilt Law Review during the academic year.
Richard A. Nagareda Award Awarded by the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program to a student in the graduating class for extraordinary achievement in the study of litigation and dispute resolution.
National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award Awarded to the student whose Law School involvement best fulfills the goals of contributing to the advancement of women in society and promoting women's issues in the legal profession, and who has exhibited tenacity, enthusiasm and academic achievement while earning the respect of others. The Association provides an honorary membership for a year, which includes receipt of its publications and other membership benefits.
Jordan A. Quick Memorial Award Award given to the student judged to have made the greatest contribution to the quality of life at the Law School through his or her leadership with the Vanderbilt Bar Association.
Stanley D. Rose Memorial Book Award Awarded to the law student who submitted the best paper in the field of jurisprudence or legal history, in the fulfillment of the Law School's advanced writing requirement.
Carl J. Ruskowski Clinical Legal Education Award Awarded to the student who, in his or her representation of clients in the Law School's clinical program, demonstrated excellence in practice of law and best exemplified the highest standards of the legal profession.
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law Outstanding Editor Award Awarded to the member of the third-year staff selected as having done the most outstanding work on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year.
Vanderbilt Scholastic Excellence Award Awarded to the student designated by the professor as receiving the highest grade in all courses except seminars and limited enrollment courses.
Weldon B. White Prize Awarded to the student in the graduating class who submitted the best paper in the fulfillment of the Law School's advanced writing requirement.
Grace Wilson Sims Prize for Excellence in Student Writing in Transnational Law. Awarded to the member of the graduating class contributing the best Note submitted for publication in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law.
Grace Wilson Sims Medal in Transnational Law. Awarded to the editorial board member, other than the editor-in-chief, selected as having done the most outstanding work on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year.
Masamichi Yamamoto Second-Year Editor Award Awarded to the second-year staff member who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year. This award was endowed in 2008 by Masamichi Yamamoto, Class of 2007, who served on the editorial staff in 2005-06 and 2006-07, in memory of his mother, Michiko Yamamoto.

Journals 11-14

Vanderbilt Law Review

The Vanderbilt Law Review is published six times a year (in January, March, April, May, October, and November) by the Vanderbilt Law Review, Vanderbilt University Law School, 131 21st Av. S., Nashville, TN 37203.

Law Review Member Selection: The Law Review selects new members in the spring of their first year. Students interested in Law Review membership are required to compete in a case comment competition following their spring final exams. Members are selected based on a combination of their case comment score and their first year grade point average. The Law Review selects thirty-two first year students annually.

Transfer students may also become members. The Law Review conducts a transfer competition in the fall.

Second year students may also write on to the Law Review. The write-on competition is conducted in the spring.

Law Review Member Duties: Second year Law Review members have two principal duties. Second year students are required to assist the Managing Department in cite-checking professional and student pieces. Thorough and accurate completion of this duty is a requirement for membership.

The Law Review also requires all second year members to write a student note. The note may be on any original American jurisprudential topic. Thoughtful, well-written, and innovative notes will be published by the Law Review.

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Established in 1967, the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law is one of the world’s most prominent and widely cited legal journals devoted to current and emerging issues of comparative and international law. Published by a student board, each of the five annual issues contains articles written by prominent international scholars and legal practitioners.

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology

The Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law (JETLaw) is an official, highly ranked, student-run publication of Vanderbilt Law School focusing on technology, intellectual property, and entertainment law. JETLaw publishes four issues annually, including a special issue comprised of papers presented at its annual symposium, hosted on the law school campus in Nashville, TN.

JETLaw serves as a unique and inclusive forum for cutting-edge legal scholarship dedicated to the expanding nexus of entertainment, technology, and law in an increasingly connected world. Recognizing that this fusion of entertainment and technology poses novel legal issues in many fields of law, JETLaw welcomes scholarly submissions from the perspectives of copyright, administrative, sports, art, science, technology, and entertainment law, among others.

In addition to the printed journal, JETLaw seeks to connect interested communities through its blog, which incorporates easily accessible legal analysis of current events, cases, and issues related to the journal’s scope.

Environmental Law & Policy Annual Review

The Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR) is a joint publication between Vanderbilt University Law School (VULS) and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) in Washington, D.C. Each year, Vanderbilt Law students work with an expert advisory board and senior staff from ELI to identify the year's best legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems. The result is a one issue, student-edited volume that includes condensed versions of the selected articles, along with commentaries from leading experts from the academy, law firms, business, government and non-governmental organizations. The comments represent a broad range of perspectives.

The authors of the articles and comments present their work at an annual conference in Washington, D.C., that is co-sponsored by ELI and VULS. The attendees have an opportunity for dialogue with the panelists and with other audience members. Our audience includes representatives from businesses, state and federal government, think tanks, and non-profit organizations.

Moot Court 15

The Vanderbilt Moot Court Board promotes the practice of effective appellate advocacy by leading all appellate advocacy activities at Vanderbilt Law School. Each year, the Board produces a unique Constitutional Law moot court problem and runs the Bass Berry & Sims Intramural Moot Court Competition, which serves as the selection process for new board members. The Board also holds tryouts for students to compete in traveling teams that participate in various moot court competitions around the country. Finally, the Board assists the law school's Legal Writing Department in organizing and implementing the first-year oral arguments program, a required component of the Legal Writing curriculum.

Clinical Programs 16-17

Vanderbilt's clinical legal education program provides students an opportunity to learn both the theory and practice of law in context. Vanderbilt's clinical programs allow students to gain an understanding of the legal system and its participants and an appreciation of issues of professional responsibility. Clinical courses are offered for academic credit on a pass/fail basis, and students may enroll for one or two semesters.

The law school offers the following clinical courses:

Appellate Litigation Clinic

Students enrolled in Appellate Litigation Clinic represent individuals with cases on appeal, ranging from immigration to criminal sentencing to general civil cases.

Civil Practice Clinic

Students enrolled in Civil Practice Clinic represent individuals in Social Security disability appeals, and children and parents who need special education services in public schools.

Criminal Practice Clinic

Students enrolled in Criminal Practice Clinic represent adults charged with criminal offenses and children charged with criminal offenses and delinquency.

Family Law and Domestic Violence Clinic

Students enrolled in Family Law and Domestic Violence Clinic represent indigent victims of domestic violence in obtaining orders of protection, and custody matters with unmarried couples.

Immigration Advocacy Practicum

Students enrolled in the Immigrant Advocacy Practicum represent noncitizens in applications for humanitarian-based immigration relief in conjunction with a local legal services organization, while also working on a community legal education or policy advocacy project.

Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic

Students enrolled in Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic represent individuals, businesses, organizations, groups, and associations in matters in various intellectual property fields, including copyright, trademark, publicity rights, and trade secrets. The Clinic also offers community education programs on intellectual property and arts-related topics.

International Law Practice Lab

Students enrolled in International Law Practice Lab will learn specific lawyering skills such as treaty negotiation, research relating to international law and the intersections of international and domestic law.

Medical Legal Partnership Clinic - VA Hospital

Students enrolled in the Medical Legal Partnership Clinic represent patients of the Veterans’ Administration Hospital (and possibly other veterans) with civil legal problems, with emphasis on those problems that affect the clients’ medical care.

Placement Facts 18

Starting Salaries (2015 Graduates Employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $110,000-$160,000
Median in the private sector $155,000
Median in public service $54,500

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 69.7.5%
Graduates known to be employed ten months after graduation 83.2%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates Employed In Percentage
Law Firms 52.3%
Business and Industry 12.2%
Government 9.3%
Judicial Clerkships 16.3%
Public Interest Organizations 9.3%
Academia 0.6%
Unknown 0%



Vanderbilt Law School offers many opportunities for students to pursue externships that provide valuable professional experience while gaining academic credit.

Students may engage in externships in Nashville during the school year or during the summer. Also during the summer, students may engage in externships anywhere in the U.S. or the world. The Externship Program allows students to choose and design placements tailored to their individual goals and interests, typically by working with federal or state judges, prosecutors, defenders, or agencies; state attorneys general or legislative offices; corporate legal departments; or legal aid or other non-profit or non-governmental organizations.

Externship placements and proposals are approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. Students may not receive course credit for any work for which they are paid. A limited number of students may engage in a full semester externship outside Nashville. These students spend the entire semester at the externship site. Students who do not engage in full semester externships may count a maximum of 6 externship credits toward graduation requirements. Students who engage in full semester externships receive 8 credits for their externship, and may count no additional externship credits toward graduation requirements.

The following externships are available to students at Vanderbilt Law School:

  • Externship in Nashville (Fall, Spring, Summer)
  • Pre-approved Sites in Nashville
  • Externship Outside Nashville (Summer)
  • Externship - Full Semester (Fall, Spring)
  • International Law Externship Programs
  • Environmental Law Externships


The Vanderbilt International Legal Studies program's internship and externship programs allow Vanderbilt students to gain substantial experience working alongside legal professionals on a range of important international law projects in organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Coordinated by Professor Michael Newton, the program places students in international courts, international institutions, offices of the U.S. government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

As part of the International Legal Studies Program, Vanderbilt students frequently participate in opportunities directly related to client support that lead directly to externship opportunities or create contacts that later lead to employment opportunities.

Summer Internships:

  • U.S. Government Agencies
  • International Organizations
  • International Courts and Tribunals
  • Non-Governmental Organizations

Student Organizations 21

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Organization
  • Animal Law Society
  • Art Law Association
  • Cork & Tap Society
  • Criminal Law Association
  • Entertainment & Sports Law Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Health Law Society
  • Immigration Law Society
  • Intellectual Property Association
  • International Law Society
  • Labor & Employment Law Society
  • Law & Business Society
  • Legal Technology Society
  • Vanderbilt Bar Association
  • Ambassadors
  • Honor Council
  • American Constitution Society
  • Disability Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Law Students for Social Justice
  • Law Students for Veterans Affairs
  • Legal Aid Society and Public Interest Stipend Fund
  • OUTLaw
  • Students for Innocence and Prisoner Rights
  • Women Law Students Association
  • Mock Trial Board
  • Moot Court Board
  • Asian-Pacific American Law Student Association
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • La Alianza
  • Middle Eastern Law Student Association
  • South Asian Law Students Association
  • Environmental Law & Policy Annual Review
  • Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law
  • Journal of Transnational Law
  • Vanderbilt Law Review
  • Headnotes
  • Law Futbol Club
  • Phi Delta Phi
  • Public Interest Auction
  • Transfer Students Association