Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Friday, March 12, 2010

New Scholarly Impact Study Forthcoming

We'll be posting soon a new study of the scholarly impact of law faculties at the ranking site which looks at citations to faculty scholarship for the period 2004-through very early 2010 (it's an updated and expanded version of this study).  The top ten (factoring in per capita mean and median impact), with their normalized score in parentheses, are as follows:

1.  Yale University (100)

2.  Harvard University (87)

3.  University of Chicago (84)

4.  Stanford University (74)

5.  New York University (65)

6.  Columbia University (61)

7.  University of California, Berkeley (56)

8.  Northwestern University (49)

9.  University of California, Irvine (48)

10. Vanderbilt University (45)

Filling out the top 25, it is perhaps particularly notable that Florida State University came in at #23 (tied with Emory University and the University of California at Davis).  There will also be new specialty impact rankings, including Administrative Law, Family Law, and Property, as well as previous categories like Tax, Law & Economics, Legal History, and International Law, among others.

I hope the full study will be on-line by early April.

UPDATE:  To preempt questions, here's a fuller explanation of the methodology used:

This is a study that aims to identify the 25 law faculties with the most “scholarly impact” as measured by citations during roughly the past FIVE years.  The methodology is the same as used in the 2007 study, though now excluding, per suggestion from many colleagues and as we did last year, untenured faculty from the count, since their citation counts are, for obvious reasons, always lower.   The study also excludes judges who still do some teaching (like Guido Calabresi at Yale and Richard Posner at Chicago).

The study was conducted in early January of 2010 (the search parameters were date aft 2004 and bef January 15 2010), so incorporates some articles published in early 2010, but the bulk of the sample is made up of articles published in the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. 

In general, law faculty who have already accepted senior offers for next year are credited to the school where they will teach.  The study is limited to tenure-stream faculty, with some exceptions (e.g., Derrick Bell, who has been a “visiting professor” at NYU for many years now, so is a de facto tenure-stream faculty member).  Some faculty split their time between two schools; as long as they are actually teaching at both, the citations are credited in full to each.  (So, e.g., Richard Epstein splits his time between University of Chicago and NYU; Ronald Gilson splits between Stanford and Columbia; Kimberle Crenshaw between Columbia and UCLA.)  Faculty who have left for major government service, which may take them out of the academy for many years, are not included (e.g., Elena Kagan, Harold Koh, Cass Sunstein, among others).

The new law faculty at the University of California at Irvine presents a special case, since they have only filled about a third of their planned faculty slots.  Given Dean Chemerinsky’s very high citation count (he is now the most cited full-time law professor in the country, with Sunstein’s departure for government service), to simply add his cite count to the currently relatively small number of faculty would produce highly misleading results.   At the same time, as a new law school, some indication of its scholarly impact performance seems especially relevant, so I have adopted the following device:   I have assumed that the next hires will have the same scholarly impact as the third of the faculty already hired (not including Chemerinsky), and thus have estimated Irvine’s per capita impact score on that basis (so basically Chemerinsky’s citations plus (the total citations of all other faculty times 3) divided by the (current faculty size x 3) plus Chemerinsky).

Schools are rank-ordered by their weighted score, which is the mean X 2 plus the median (since mean is more probative of overall impact than median, it gets more weight in the final score).  The ten most cited faculty are listed in the final column; those over 70 in 2010 are marked with an asterisk.  In some cases, older faculty account for quite a lot of the result (e.g., three of NYU’s ten most cited faculty are between the ages of 76 and 80; four of Columbia’s ten most cited are 70 or older).

We studied 34 faculties based on the 2007 results as the ones likely to make it into the top twenty-five for the time period studied here.  Outside “the top 25” the faculties are not rank-ordered since it is possible that some faculties not studied might well have performed competitively.

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2010/03/new-scholarly-impact-study-forthcoming.html

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