Law Professors Engage Students with Courses on Celebrities


Law professors across the United States are incorporating popular culture and celebrities, such as Taylor Swift and Rick Ross, into their courses to engage a new generation of students and contextualize complicated legal concepts.

Law Professors Embrace Pop Culture

Law professors across the country are incorporating popular culture and celebritydom to engage a new generation of students and contextualize complicated legal concepts in the real world. For example, at the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law, a course on Taylor Swift filled up quickly, surprising the professor. At the Georgia State University College of Law, students had the opportunity to hear directly from rapper Rick Ross for the final day of a course that chronicled the legal intricacies of his life.

Engaging Students with Real-World Examples

The aim is to make legal principles more tangible for students by bringing them to life through examples from the music and entertainment industry. Directors of law programs, such as Moraima Ivory at Georgia State University, invite guest speakers and celebrities to bring legal deals and drama to life. Students express that these courses help them grasp legal concepts in ways traditional courses do not.

Respect for Artists and Artistic Expression

The attention on female artists and artists of color in courses analyzing race and gender is a reflection of growing respect for them and different modes of artistic expression. A course on Beyonce’s Lemonade album and black feminism at Michigan State University was so popular that the professor published a reader for other professors to use. Students find the material relatable and are more likely to participate in discussions.

Different Context for Fundamental Concepts

Courses incorporating pop culture offer a different context for the fundamentals of traditional legal courses. For example, a University of Virginia corporate law course inspired by the show Succession investigated the legal matters depicted in the show. Professors emphasize the importance of adapting teaching methods to meet the evolving learning styles of students.

Student Perspectives

Students who have taken these courses express that the real-world examples from the music and entertainment industry provide a deeper understanding of legal topics. They find that these courses engage them more than traditional courses, making legal concepts feel more accessible and relevant.


Law professors are increasingly leveraging pop culture and celebrity influences to engage a new generation of students and to bridge the gap between traditional legal education and real-world applications.