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. 2 in Above the Law's 2021 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

Virginia has graduates in all 100 of the American Lawyer top 100 firms (as of May 2021).

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

Clerkships

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 2018-20

  • Firm: 70% (622)
  • Clerkship: 19% (172)
  • Public Interest: 9% (76)
  • Corporate: 2% (17)
  • Academic: 0.2% (2)
  • The Law School awarded 30 Powell and Kennedy Fellowships to graduates working for public interest and nonprofit employers. More

Law Firms

  • 85% with firms in American Lawyer's top 100 by gross revenue
  • 5% with firms ranked between 100 and 200
  • 2% with large international firms (not ranked by American Lawyer)
  • 8% with smaller and boutique firms

Clerkships

  • 2 U.S. Supreme Court
  • 114 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal
  • 139 U.S. District Courts and other federal courts
  • 27 state courts

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

Public Interest Jobs

  • 12 federal government
  • 16 state or local government
  • 10 military
  • 38 public interest groups

Top Job Locations

  • New York (220)
  • District of Columbia (215)
  • Virginia (81)
  • Texas (72)
  • California (55)
  • Georgia (21)
  • Ohio (20)
  • Pennsylvania (18)
  • North Carolina (17)
  • Massachusetts (16)
  • Illinois (13)
  • Delaware (12)
  • Maryland (12)
  • Colorado (11)
  • South Carolina (11)

First-Year Summer Jobs, Class of 2022 (Summer 2020)

Several students held multiple positions.

  • 24% firm
  • 21% federal government
  • 21% academic
  • 19% judicial
  • 12% public interest groups
  • 8% state or local government
  • 7% corporate

American Lawyer Top 100, Classes of 2014-20

Among the 2020 Am Law 100, members of the classes of 2014-20 have practiced in all 100 firms, ranked by gross revenue.

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

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