Over the past decade or so, critical theory and related critical perspectives have become a subject of widespread discourse in the United States and beyond. Discussions have occurred in school board meetings and corporate boardrooms, on mass media and social media platforms, and in many other settings. Many of these discussions have been contentious and counter-productive, but some have been thoughtful and constructive. As these discussions continue, some debate persists as to what exactly critical theory and related critical perspectives are, who rightly represents them, who correctly understands them, and who may properly criticize them.
As a lawyer and law professor, I have listened with interest to these discussions, and I have been reminded of my first encounters with these perspectives when I went to law school. In 1995, I finished my Master of Divinity studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and began my legal studies at a non-elite American law school. Although I had studied biblical literature, theology, philosophy, ethics, and history, I was unaware of the “radical” perspectives on law that had been developing at elite American law schools for more than a decade and were being exported to law schools throughout the nation. At the time, the most prominent of these radical perspectives were Critical Legal Studies (CLS), Critical Race Theory (CRT), and Feminist Legal Theory (FLT). 
These perspectives were transmitted from elite law schools to other law schools by various means. Proponents of these perspectives organized conferences at which they presented papers and networked with likeminded and sympathetic professors. They developed casebooks that were published by leading legal publishers for use in law schools, and they published scholarly writings in student-edited law journals. Graduates of elite law schools joined the faculties of other law schools, and law professors eager to be associated with the theoretical avant-garde published their own scholarship demonstrating their affinity and applying these developing approaches in various areas of law. Each of these means helped to facilitate the spread of critical perspectives within the legal academy.