Caroline Van Zile

Caroline Van Zile

Job Title
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Yale University
Yale Law School
Corps Year: 
Corps Region: 
New York

As a teacher, Caroline learned that kids are willing to work hard and can excel if you have their trust—and that trust takes honesty and hard work. After the corps she attended Yale Law, but stayed connected with her former students. She also taught part time in New Haven’s public schools, served as president of the Project for Law and Education, and participated in her university’s education advocacy clinic. She saw her teaching experience continue to play out in both her direction and her abilities. “In moot court at Yale, a professor asked me if I had been in debate. I hadn’t. My ability to parcel out information, speak directly and with poise, was all from teaching.” She credits TFA with helping her find her purpose, and with supporting her development as a teacher, and her career and advocacy as an alum.

Read more about Caroline.

Career Path

Teach For America: New York City Corps
Caroline met her goal for every one of her Brooklyn students to increase their reading level by at least 1.5 grade levels by year’s end. One student increased by three levels.
Recruitment Director, Teach For America
Caroline recruited college students and young professionals into the corps for a portfolio of colleges and universities in the NYC area.
Yale Law School
Caroline was very involved in education related projects and was a member of the Marshall-Brennan project that teaches a constitutional law elective to students at local New Haven high schools.
Law Clerk, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court
Caroline assisted the Justice in analyzing cases and drafting opinions in complex cases that come before the nation’s highest court.
Associate, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Caroline is part of the firm’s litigation team. She also does pro-bono work that aims to reform the educational system for foster youth in Washington DC.

Q & A

How has your law career been influenced by your teaching experience?

It profoundly altered my direction. My students will always be with me. I wanted to find the best way to help them in the long run. Changing the education system is the best way to impact our future, and TFA gave me the skillset needed to achieve a legal career through which I can be part of that.

What aspects of your teaching experience have you found most helpful in your law career?

I’m not sure what has felt weightier, clerking for a Supreme Court Justice or being responsible for the education of 12-year-olds. In both, you must break down complex topics into digestible formats. I’ve learned patience, and to speak confidently with poise. These skills have been so valuable for me.

How do you continue to support educational equity in your law career?

I do pro-bono education work for foster youth in DC. Students in the foster care system face perhaps the worst opportunity gap in the nation. My goal is to ensure these students have access to all the educational options that children at home with their biological parents enjoy.

Related Profiles


Launch Your Career Here