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Secondary Courses Taught by Secondary Faculty: A (Personal) Call to Fully Integrate Skills Faculty and Skills Courses into the Law School Curriculum Ahead of the NextGen Bar Exam

By O.J. Salinas. Full Text.

This Essay focuses on the disconnect between what law schools say they value and who they value. The Essay highlights how law faculty and administrators often carry a survivorship bias that may prevent them from fully acknowledging or accepting that the law school experience may be challenging and unwelcoming for many students. The Essay also challenges members of the legal academy, particularly those solely in the doctrinal space, to question their superiority bias so that they can better support skills training and treat and value faculty who teach skills courses.

This Essay provides commentary on reimagining legal education for a new era—one that fully integrates skills faculty and skills courses into the law school curriculum ahead of the NextGen bar exam. The Essay includes observations and personal reflections—both from my work as a skills and academic support professor, as well as my experience as a first-generation student of color who almost quit law school. I summarize my struggles in the traditional law school classroom, where only certain skills and experiences seemed to be valued and appreciated, and I discuss my experience in the legal academy, where I (and many others) may often be considered a secondary faculty member who teaches secondary courses.