Careers & Clerkships

Employment Data for Recent Graduates | Careers Brochure
Bar Passage Data for Recent Graduates
Careers Website | Meet the Counseling Staff
Prominent Alumni (by field)
Map: Where Our Graduates Go

Clerkships by Term and Location

Access to an Elite Career

The career development program at UVA Law is often described as a three-legged stool: private practice, clerkships and public service. UVA uniquely balances and excels in all three areas.

Private Sector

Graduates aren’t just getting jobs at firms — they are getting jobs at the nation’s most elite firms.

No. 3 in Above the Law's 2020 law school rankings, which focus on employment outcomes. More

No. 2 in the country in the percentage of Class of 2020 graduates who went directly to firms of 500 or more attorneys or to federal clerkships, according to American Bar Association data (based on full-time, long-term jobs).

No. 3  in the percentage of Class of 2020 graduates who went directly to firms of 100 or more attorneys or to federal clerkships, according to ABA data (based on full-time, long-term jobs).

Salaries for the 220 students going into the private sector in the Class of 2020 reflect these outcomes:

75th percentile: $190,000
50th percentile: $190,000
25th percentile: $190,000

Any job location is within reach, and the UVA Law Network is worldwide. The Class of 2020 obtained large firm jobs in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Overall the school sent graduates to 34 states and D.C.

Not only are graduates’ immediate outcomes in the private sector excellent, but so too are their long-term career prospects.

No. 5 in the number of partners in the American Lawyer top 100 firms (September 2020).

No. 5 in the country in the number of female graduate attorneys in the National Law Journal’s top 500 firms, according to Legal Compass (September 2020).

No. 2 in the number of graduates leading the nation's top 100 firms, according to an Above the Law report. More

No. 5 in the number of associates promoted to partner in the 100 largest firms in 2020, according to the National Law Journal. More

No. 3 in the number of chief legal officers at the nation's top 500 companies, according to a 2019 survey by Chambers Associate. More

See more alumni corporate executives and entrepreneurs, and alumni in entertainment and sports.


From federal appeals courts to the U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia helps place students in the most competitive clerkships.

Clerkships by Term and Location 

No. 5 after Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Chicago in placing clerks on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2005-21. More

No. 4 in the percentage of graduates from the classes of 2018-20 going directly to federal clerkships after law school, according to ABA data.

No. 2 (tied) in graduates serving as Bristow Fellows, who work in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, from the 2010-21 terms. Bristow Fellowships can be steppingstones to U.S. Supreme Court clerkships. More

No. 5 in the number of graduates clerking directly after law school for the classes of 2015-19, according to ABA data.

Clerkships offer advantages to those who pursue them — intense and impactful training in a wide swath of law, access to a network of fellow clerks and, if graduates pursue private-sector work, bonuses at law firms and a salary commensurate with the experience gained. Federal appeals court clerkships are stepping stones to the Supreme Court and other prestigious jobs.

Public Service Careers

Consider how other graduates have succeeded.

Four senators and three representatives who graduated from UVA Law currently serve in the U.S. Congress. (No. 4 in J.D. graduates in the 116th Congress; More)

Other alumni serve in government at the highest levels. UVA is No. 6 among law schools in the number of graduates serving as U.S. attorneys, federal judges, and state attorneys general and solicitors general. When the metric includes just state attorneys general and solicitors general, the school is No. 5. More

According to research completed by the Public Service Center in July 2017, the Law School is No. 2 in the number of graduates serving as state attorneys general.

Outside of government, alumni pursue a range of public interest and nonprofit careers.

Hundreds of alumni are judges, including at federal appellate courts, state supreme courts, and a judge on the World Court.

High-profile graduates have a history of public service: Alums include Robert F. Kennedy ’51, Ted Kennedy ’59, Robert Mueller ’73, former Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño, former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ’83, and numerous governors and state legislators.

Alumni have had amazing careers in academia — UVA President Jim Ryan ’92 is an alum, and Elizabeth Magill ’95, currently dean at Stanford Law School, will serve as UVA provost. Napolitano is now the head of the University of California system.

And graduates are supported through the Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program and a range of salaried fellowships and sources of funding for summer jobs.The Public Service Center also operates an alumni mentoring network to give UVA Law students on the fast track to understanding their future field.

The UVA Law Network

UVA Law has more than 20,000 alumni in all 50 states and more than 60 countries, allowing graduates access to a network that is geographically diverse.

Read more about the UVA Law Network.

Where Our Graduates Go, Classes of 2017-19

  • Firm: 72% (623)
  • Clerkship: 16% (140)
  • Public Interest: 9% (77)
  • Corporate: 3% (22)
  • Academic: .4% (3)
  • The Law School awarded 27 Powell and Kennedy Fellowships to graduates working for public interest and nonprofit employers. More

Law Firms

  • 83% with firms in American Lawyer's top 100 by gross revenue
  • 6% with firms ranked between 100 and 200
  • 2% with large international firms (not ranked by American Lawyer)
  • 9% with smaller and boutique firms


  • 2 U.S. Supreme Court
  • 99 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal
  • 119 U.S. District Courts and other federal courts
  • 22 state courts

2017-2022 terms. Some alumni clerked at multiple courts.

Public Interest Jobs

  • 14 federal government
  • 22 state or local government
  • 29 public interest groups
  • 11 military

Top Job Locations

  • New York (223)
  • District of Columbia (206)
  • Virginia (75)
  • Texas (61)
  • California (56)
  • Massachusetts (22)
  • Georgia (20)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Delaware (14)
  • Pennsylvania (14)
  • Illinois (13)
  • Colorado (10)
  • Alabama (9)

First-Year Summer Jobs, Class of 2021 (Summer 2019)

Several students held multiple positions.

  • 29% federal government
  • 27% firm
  • 13% judicial
  • 12% public interest groups
  • 10% state or local government
  • 8% academic
  • 8% corporate

American Lawyer Top 100, Classes of 2013-19

Among the 2019 Am Law 100, members of the classes of 2013-19 have practiced in all 100 firms, ranked by gross revenue.

1 Kirkland & Ellis
2 Latham & Watkins
3 Baker McKenzie
4 DLA Piper
5 Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
6 Sidley Austin
7 Hogan Lovells
8 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
9 Jones Day
10 White & Case
11 Norton Rose Fulbright
12 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
13 Ropes & Gray
14 Greenberg Traurig
15 Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
16 Weil, Gotshal & Manges
17 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
18 Sullivan & Cromwell
19 Mayer Brown
20 Davis Polk & Wardwell
21 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
22 King & Spalding
23 Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
24 Cooley
25 Paul Hastings
26 Goodwin Procter
27 Reed Smith
28 Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
29 Covington & Burling
30 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
31 McDermott Will & Emery
32 Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
33 Morrison & Foerster
34 Squire Patton Boggs
35 Milbank
36 Dechert
37 K&L Gates
38 Winston & Strawn
39 Proskauer Rose
40 Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
41 Shearman & Sterling
42 Debevoise & Plimpton
43 Holland & Knight
44 Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
45 Perkins Coie
46 Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
47 Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
48 Foley & Lardner
49 McGuireWoods
50 Willkie Farr & Gallagher
51 Cravath, Swaine & Moore
52 Alston & Bird
53 O'Melveny & Myers
54 Hunton Andrews Kurth
55 Vinson & Elkins
56 Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
57 Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
58 Baker Botts
59 Seyfarth Shaw
60 Baker & Hostetler
61 Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
62 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy
63 Katten Muchin Rosenman
64 Littler Mendelson
65 Venable
66 Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith
67 Nixon Peabody
68 Troutman Sanders
69 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
70 Polsinelli
71 Faegre Baker Daniels
72 Locke Lord
73 Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
74 Fox Rothschild
75 Duane Morris
76 Cozen O'Connor
77 Womble Bond Dickinson
78 Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
79 Drinker Biddle & Reath
80 Jackson Lewis
81 Blank Rome
82 Jenner & Block
83 Schulte Roth & Zabel
84 Fish & Richardson
85 Fenwick & West
86 Williams & Connolly
87 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo
88 Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
89 Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
90 Boies Schiller Flexner
91 Ballard Spahr
92 Haynes and Boone
93 Barnes & Thornburg
94 Akerman
95 Crowell & Moring
96 Steptoe & Johnson
97 Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
98 Davis Wright Tremaine
99 Dorsey & Whitney
100 Cahill Gordon & Reindel
Liah Burnley ’15, Celia Cohen ’10, Sarang ‘Sy’ Damle ’05 and Jeffrey Stump ’95

5/10/15/25: How’s Life After Law School?

What are your classmates up to? We check in with Liah Burnley ’15, Celia Cohen ’10, Sarang ‘Sy’ Damle ’05 and Jeffrey Stump ’95.