Shontavia Johnson

Shontavia serves as an award-winning writer, attorney, speaker and entrepreneur thriving at the intersection of intellectual property law and popular culture.

Shontavia is the founder of LVRG (pronounced “leverage”), a company dedicated to helping women leverage their own expertise to build dynamic personal brands and successful businesses. She is also the creator of Pop Culture Class, a digital platform that shares insights & lessons about intellectual property law and internet culture using today’s headlines, and 1/2 of the LIT Podcast, where law, innovation and technology meet the culture.

Shontavia speaks and teaches on topics related to intellectual property law, entrepreneurship, and pop culture across the U.S. and around the world. She has been named one of the top 40 young lawyers in the U.S. by the American Bar Association, one of 42 lawyers under 40 by the National Bar Association and IMPACT, and one of 200 Black Women in Tech to Follow on Twitter.

Watch Shontavia at TEDxAtlanta 2019

Exploring the links between memes, science and culture, my TEDx talk provides the little-known history of memetic science, explores some of the internet’s most viral moments (was that dress black&blue or gold&white?), and ultimately concludes that memes are probably controlling us all.


Praise from Others

Shontavia was magical at the First Annual Patent Bootcamp for Women and Minorities in STEM.

She was an intelligent, energetic and entertaining speaker who connected the complex topic of patent law to dynamic examples from popular culture that the audience could relate to.

She commanded the attention of the entire audience and kept them captivated the entire time. I can’t say enough good things about Shontavia–I highly recommend her to any group! I’m already planning to invite her back to speak again next year.

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile

E.J. Ball Professor, University of Arkansas School of Law

Shontavia served as the moderator for the Clemson University Global Leaders Forum featuring Mr. Ratan Tata. She did a phenomenal job leading and moderating the forum. Shontavia made everyone feel comfortable on stage while also engaging everyone in some great discussion.

Katie Miller

Director of Academic Initiatives, Clemson University

Shontavia was a breath of fresh air at Lady Like [the African American Women’s Power Brunch].

She clearly and concisely spoke to the necessity of building one’s personal brand amidst challenges and obstacles.

She was ideal for this inaugural event. We would definitely welcome her back for more events.

Deidre DeJear

Entrepreneur & Kamala Harris 2020 Iowa campaign chair

At the 2017 Midwest Intellectual Property Institute, Shontavia presented to over 70 intellectual property attorneys on the topic of offensive trademarks and the Constitution.

Her presentation was entertaining and engaging, as evidenced by the fact she received one of the highest ratings on our speaker surveys in recent history.

We were eager to invite her back, and we are excited she has agreed to present again at our 2019 event!

Kyle Mendenhall

Attorney & President, Kansas Bar Association Intellectual Property Section

As a featured speaker at the Speak Life Movement Conference in 2016, Shontavia electrified the audience with the raw and relevant truth about entrepreneurship.

She made the possibility of owning a business more attainable and easy to grasp in a matter of minutes. She awakened the entrepreneurial spirit within people who lost confidence in their greatness.

She was an audience favorite at the conference with an overwhelming request to return!

Hayward Jean

Principal, Mellichamp Elementary School & Founder, Speak Life Enterprises

Listen to Shontavia on NPR

On this episode of NPR’s Morning Edition, I explain the copyright law principle of fair use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act through the lens of two of my favorite things:

Prince’s music and a viral video of a dancing toddler.

Listen to Shontavia on the LIT Podcast

In 2019, I joined forces with the incomparable Tonya M. Evans, Esq. to start the LIT Podcast – the show where law, innovation, and technology meet the culture.

Every 1st and 15th, the LIT Podcast drops a new episode where Tonya and I share culturally competent insights on everything from culture vultures and intellectual property law to pop culture headlines and blockchain technology.

If you’re interested in dynamic, diverse perspectives on these topics, give the podcast a listen. I know you’ll like what you hear!

Read Shontavia's work in the American Bar Association's Landslide Magazine

In the 2019 Landslide article “The Colorblind Patent System and Black Inventors,” I explore the ingenuity and innovation exhibited by black inventors who were enslaved in America and their historical exclusion from the patent law system.

I also outline how past and present black inventors still manage(d) to participate in America’s innovation ecosystem, both with and without patent protection.

Finally, I address today’s wide disparities  between the number of American patents issued to black inventors versus other groups and provides strategies to improve these numbers.