Conviser Law Center

The American Legal System in Popular Culture Course


An invaluable crash course on the United States legal system for international visitors

The American Legal System in Popular Culture is a six-credit course offered to students seeking an introduction to the American legal system and how it is portrayed in modern media. The course is targeted at au pairs and others visiting the United States who are interested in a broad understanding of the nation's legal system and its role in shaping American culture. Using films and readings as a basis for class discussion, we will explore what makes the U.S. legal system complex and unique.

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This three-day course will study the American legal system through the lens of culture. The course will feature a participatory trial exercise, and students will be given reading and viewing assignments before, during, and after the course to complete the 6 credits. Each day will take a different focus:

  •     U.S. constitutional law and its cultural depictions
  •     U.S. criminal law and its cultural depictions
  •     U.S. civil law and its cultural depictions

Please note, this course is limited to students not regularly enrolled at Chicago-Kent College of Law or Illinois Institute of Technology. It is designed for students visiting from other countries with a limited understanding of or exposure to the American legal system. Students must be fluent in English and able to participate in class discussions and prepare various written assignments, including a five- to seven-page paper at the conclusion of the course.


Kari L. Johnson is an accomplished professor of legal research and writing who has clerked for the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and also has taught criminal sentencing policy. Professor Johnson’s academic interests includelegal writing, criminal law, feminist legal theory, and family law and domestic violence.

Date and Location

The course will be offered in-person October 11–13, 2024. The course will meet at the following times:

  • Friday, October 11: 1–5 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 12: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 13: 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m.


The cost for the three-day course is $600.00.


Visit the online registration and payment page to sign up for the course. If the course is full and you would like to be put on the wait list, please email Tasha Kincade at


Please contact Tasha Kincade at​​​​​​