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Vanderbilt University Law School


Vanderbilt University Law School

Vanderbilt Law School
Established 1874
School type Private
Endowment $100 Million
Parent endowment $3.6 Billion
Dean Chris Guthrie
Location Nashville, TN, US
Enrollment 640
Faculty 132
USNWR ranking 16
Bar pass rate 98%

Vanderbilt University Law School (also known as Vanderbilt Law School or VLS) is a graduate school of Vanderbilt University. Established in 1874, it is one of the oldest law schools in the southern United States. Vanderbilt Law has consistently ranked among the top 20 law schools in the nation,[1] and is currently ranked 16th in the 2015 edition of U.S. News & World Report. Vanderbilt Law School enrolls approximately 640 students, with each entering J.D. class consisting of approximately 175 students.

The dean of the law school is Chris Guthrie, who began a five-year appointment as dean on July 1, 2009.[2]

According to Vanderbilt Law School's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 85.9% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[3]


  • Culture 1
  • History 2
  • Admissions 3
  • Programs 4
  • Post-graduation employment 5
  • Costs 6
  • Publications 7
  • Notable alumni 8
  • Notable faculty 9
    • Current 9.1
    • Former 9.2
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The Law School Building, dusk

With total enrollment of approximately 640 Juris Doctor and L.L.M. candidates, usually no more than 175 students comprise each entering J.D. class, with approximately 45 LL.M. students each year.

The small class size has contributed to a congenial, non-competitive atmosphere. VLS has more than 45 student organizations,[4] which support many lectures, presentations and social events throughout the year. Students are also encouraged to form new organizations tailored to their personal interests, which has most recently produced Law Students for Social Justice (LSSJ), a new organization within the Social Justice Program that aims to facilitate an increasing number of students interested in pursuing public interest careers or hearing from legal practitioners on various ways to implement social justice values into their practice.

On most Friday nights throughout the school year, various student organizations sponsor informal social gatherings known as "Blackacres," named after the outdoor courtyard on campus where the gatherings are often held; Blackacres typically feature free food and beverages, including

  • Vanderbilt University Law School homepage

External links

  1. ^ "Legal Research Paper Series | Stanford Law School". Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  2. ^ "Vanderbilt Law School :: Article Detail". 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  3. ^ a b c "Section of Legal Education, Employment Summary Report". American Bar Association. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Vanderbilt Law School :: About Vanderbilt Law School". Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  7. ^ "Vanderbilt Law School :: History". 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  8. ^ "Vanderbilt Law School :: International Legal Studies". Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  9. ^ "Vanderbilt Law School :: Article Detail". 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  10. ^ "MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience | Vanderbilt University". 2012-11-25. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  11. ^ "Vanderbilt Law School :: Vanderbilt in Venice". Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  12. ^ Leichter, Matt. "Class of 2013 Employment Report". The Law School Tuition Bubble. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Vanderbilt University Profile". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Estimated Cost of Attendance". Vanderbilt Law School. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  15. ^ "Vanderbilt University Profile, Cost". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ "Greg Abbott". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "William Vollie Alexander, Jr.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "Bruce Bennett (1917–1979)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Lucius E. Burch, Jr.". the Tennessee Historical Society. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Martha Craig Daughtrey". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  22. ^ "Karl Dean". Notable Names Data Base. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  23. ^ "Al Gore". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "Pauline LaFon Gore". Baptist Press. All Rights Reserved. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  25. ^ "Dorsey B. Hardeman". Texas State University. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Ric Keller". Notable Names Data Base. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Leonard Lance". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  28. ^ "Gilbert S. Merritt, Jr". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  29. ^ "Luke Messer". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  30. ^ "Bill Purcell".>. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  31. ^ "Ronald J. Rychlak". The University of Mississippi School of Law. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Ben Quayle". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  33. ^ "Well-known deacon with Nashville ties dies at 83".  
  34. ^ "Fred Thompson". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  35. ^ "Aleta Trauger". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  36. ^ "Clay Travis". NBS Sprorts Group. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Justin P. Wilson". Comptroller, State of Tennessee. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  38. ^ "Thomas A. Wiseman, Jr". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 




Notable faculty

Notable alumni

The Vanderbilt Law Review is ranked 18th among general-topic law reviews, based upon the number of times its articles are cited.[16] Other journals are the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, founded in 1967, and the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, founded as the Journal of Entertainment Law and Practice in 1998. The recently created Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review, a new joint publication with the Environmental Law Institute, debuted in 2008. ELPAR is released each year as the August issue of the Environmental Law Reporter, one of the most widely circulated environmental law publications in the country.[16]


The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $270,165.[15]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Vanderbilt Law for the 2014–2015 academic year is $74,104.[14]


Vanderbilt Law School's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 6.3%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[13] 94.2% of the Class of 2013 was employed in some capacity while 1% were pursuing graduate degrees and 3.9% were unemployed nine months graduation.[3]

According to Vanderbilt Law School's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 85.9% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[3] Vanderbilt Law School ranked 12th out of the 201 ABA-approved law schools in terms of the percentage of 2013 graduates with non-school-funded, full-time, long-term, bar passage required jobs nine months after graduation.[12]

Post-graduation employment

Vanderbilt Law School also offers a summer study program, Vanderbilt in Venice,[11] which is open to students from all accredited law schools and offers courses in comparative and international law.

Vanderbilt's Ph.D. Program in Law & Economics was the first program of its kind in the nation. The program, which is directed by economists W. Kip Viscusi and Joni Hersch, admitted its first class in fall 2007 and graduated its first student, Jennifer Bennett Shinall, in 2012.

Vanderbilt's upper-level concentration programs allow students to earn a certificate in Law & Business, as well as concentrate their studies in such fields as international law,[8] intellectual property law; litigation and dispute resolution; energy, environmental and land use law; criminal law and social justice. In 2005, the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program received a $2.9 million endowment through a cy pres settlement of a class action lawsuit. Vanderbilt also has programs that allow students to focus on intellectual property law; energy, environmental and land use law; international and comparative law, criminal justice and social justice. In fall 2011, Vanderbilt University received a $4.85 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation [9] for the establishment of a national MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.[10]

VLS annually hosts a summer international law program in Venice, Italy.


Sixty-two percent of the most recent entering class had graduated from college at least one year before arriving at Vanderbilt. Like most law schools, backgrounds of Vanderbilt law students have included experience in such fields as business, the sciences, military service, education, technology, entertainment, and public policy. Of the most recently admitted class (the Class of 2015), 44% are women and 25% are minorities; the entering class also represents 109 different undergraduate institutions, spanning 36 different states and four foreign nations.

The law school received 3,757 applications, for an entering class of 173 in fall 2012. The entering class of 2015 had median undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores of 3.71 and 169, respectively.


VLS ranked 15th in Above the Law's 2013 ranking of top 50 law schools.

VLS ranked seventh in the 2013 U.S. New Judicial Clerkship ranking, based on the percentage of J.D. students going to federal clerkships in the class of 2011.

VLS ranked seventh for "Best Career Prospects" in 2012, 2011 and 2007, ninth for best classroom experience and second for best quality of life in Princeton Review Best Law Schools.

Vanderbilt's faculty ranked eighth among U.S. law schools in a study, "Scholarly Impact of Law Faculties in 2012: Applying Leiter Scores to Rank the Top Third," conducted by a team led by Indiana University law professor Gregory Sisk.

VLS fares well in a number of national rankings:

Chris Guthrie succeeded Rubin as the law school's dean in July 2009. In addition to its Law and Business and Litigation and Dispute Resolution Programs, the law school now offers programs in Intellectual Property Law; International Legal Studies; Energy, Environment and Land Use Law; Criminal Justice; Social Justice; and Law and Government.Vanderbilt University and the law school also offers a joint-degree law and neuroscience program in which students earn both a J.D. and Ph.D. In fall 2011, Vanderbilt received a $4.8 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation that supports a Law and Neuroscience Research Network based at the law school and headed by Professor Owen Jones.

In 2005, Edward L. Rubin was appointed to replace Syverud as dean of the Law School. During Dean Rubin's tenure, Vanderbilt Law School significantly developed its Litigation & Dispute and Resolution Program (resulting from a $2.9 million endowment donation), established or formalized a number of academic programs,and increased its reputation in the field of Law and Economics by establishing a Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics based within the law school and headed by noted economist W. Kip Viscusi; students earn both a J.D. and a Ph.D. through the program.

By 2000, VLS had established a Law & Business Program, new clinical programs, multiple law journals, and an LL.M. program for foreign lawyers. At this point, Vanderbilt had greatly solidified its regional prestige and was well on its way to aggressively developing a national reputation.[7]

Since then, VLS has undergone a series of renovations and expansion, notably including a $24 million upgrade under then-dean Kent D. Syverud completed in 2002.

Vanderbilt Law School was revived with a $1 million endowment in 1947 and experienced significant growth through the 1960s. Facing overcrowding, in 1962 it moved out of Kirkland Hall and into a dedicated Law School Building on 21st Avenue, where it currently resides.

Through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the law school remained small, and never exceeded 70 students. The law school offered a two-year departmental program, and changed locations between downtown Nashville and the Vanderbilt campus. By 1941, it had expanded into the old chapel area of Kirkland Hall on the Vanderbilt campus, but faced very limited enrollment during World War II. Classes were suspended in 1944.

Vanderbilt Law School was established in 1874, and was the first professional school to open (Vanderbilt University itself did not start its undergraduate classes until 1875).[6] The Law School's first class consisted of only seven students and eight professors, with a two-year course of study comprising the school's curriculum. William V. Sullivan was the school's first graduate and would eventually represent Mississippi in the United States Senate.


VLS was based in Kirkland Hall from 1944 to 1962.

The law school also has an annual auction to support its Legal Aid Summer Stipend program, which provides financial assistance to enable students to do pro bono legal work during the summer break. [5]

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