From Law School to Celebrity: 8 Entertainers With Law Degrees

With Labor Day around the corner, law school students around the country are rushing back to class. Throughout the years, all of the people on this list have been one of those students. Not all of them would go on to use their law degrees, but they spent many late nights in the library to earn them. Here are 8 celebrities with law degrees:

Jerry Springer
Before the chants of “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” began, Jerry Springer was completing his Juris Doctorate Degree at Northwestern University. In just 5 years after graduating, Springer became a named partner at the law firm of Grinker, Sudman & Springer. He would wear many hats the rest of his career, (including a one year stint as the mayor of Cincinnati) before a 27 year run as the host of the Jerry Springer Show.

Howard Cosell
Although he is one of the most famous broadcasters of all time, Howard Cosell did not know that’s where his career would take him. Cosell earned a law degree from New York University. After serving in World War II, he began practicing law in Manhattan. Cosell’s broadcasting career started when he was asked to host a radio show about Little League baseball in New York. He may have been one of the first broadcasters with a law degree, but he would not be the last.

Cris Collinsworth
Every winter for the last 10 years, football fans have tuned in to NBC and watched Cris Collinsworth on the broadcast of Sunday Night Football. After a stellar college career at Florida and an NFL career in which he was named to the Pro Bowl 3 times for the Bengals, Collinsworth retired and returned to school. In 1991, Collinsworth earned his JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Ben Stein
“Bueller? Bueller?” A lawyer actually delivered one of the most quoted movie lines ever. Ben Stein’s career is an eclectic one with stops as an attorney, presidential speechwriter, economist, professor, and entertainer. Stein has an impressive academic record that includes graduating from Columbia University before graduating as the valedictorian of Yale Law School.

Gemma Chan
Gemma Chan’s on-screen career has taken her to 3 of the most popular movie franchises of all time. She has appeared in the Harry Potter franchise, Transformers, and The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chan studied law at Worcester College, Oxford and was offered a training contract before she ultimately decided to pursue her acting career.

Gerard Butler
Luckily, Gerard Butler’s acting ability was stronger than his work ethic. After graduating from the University of Glasgow School of Law, Butler’s time as a trainee lawyer ended one week before he became qualified. He was fired for repeatedly missing work because he had been out late the night before.

Rebel Wilson
The Australian actress has an impressive résumé that includes acting, singing, writing, and producing. Years before she would go on to star in the Pitch Perfect franchise, Rebel Wilson graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Laws degree.

Andrea Bocelli
Even if you don’t recognize the name, you might recognize the voice. For Andrea Bocelli, his career in music started as a way to make money while studying law at the University of Pisa. Bocelli would perform at local piano bars after class. Bocelli went on to practice law for a year before he was discovered by Italian rock star Zucchero and Luciano Pavarotti.

Takeaways

Although knowing that Cris Collinsworth graduated from law school might not help your legal practice, you could impress your friends the next time you are watching a Sunday Night Football game.

Besides graduating from law school, everyone listed above has something else in common. Their careers took them in a different direction than the one they started with. Throughout your own law career, you will have opportunities to grow, evolve and maybe even change directions. At those decision points, sticking with the status quo might be the right decision. However, there are other times when the right decisions are the unfamiliar ones.