September 28, 2016

50 Best Law School Faculties in Terms of Scholarly Distinction, 2016 edition

Here's a list of 76 faculties that might have some claim on having one of the 50 strongest law faculties in terms of scholarly distinction (with apologies to any wrongly omitted).  Have fun!  Detailed ballott reporting will make attempts at strategic voting obvious, so don't!  I'll call out your school!  Remember, this is about the scholarly distinction of the faculties, so if all you know is the U.S. News rank, don't complete the survey, or choose "no opinion" for those schools! 

BAD BEHAVIOR WATCH:  Remarkably, 4  people have ranked Arizona State ahead of Yale!  I wonder where they teach?  By way of comparison, only 3 people ranked Columbia ahead of Yale (though 5 did give that edge to Berkeley)--at least this voting is defensible, depending on one's benchmarks for scholarly excellence.  ASU is one of the top regional law schools in my judgment, but there's no honest ordering in which it comes out ahead of Yale.  (I use Yale as the comparison only because that's easy to read off the data, since Yale is currently #1--when Harvard was #1, the pattern was similar.)  If you want to get a sense of attempted strategic voting, take a look at how much schools lower down the list lose to Yale by:  most lose in a shut-out, but several, including ASU, do not.  Tsk, tsk!


September 28, 2016 in Rankings | Permalink

September 26, 2016

Law school enrollment trends 2010-2015 in one state: Indiana

The Midwest was hit slightly harder by the downturn in applications than other parts of the country, but still this chart shows where we are from the 2010 peak, and also that many schools are recovering a bit.  (2010, it is important to remember, was the peak for applications and enrollments.)


September 26, 2016 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

September 20, 2016

The turmoil at the University of Florida over its tax program

Blog Emperor Caron has been tracking this--one might start here.  One peculiarity of the critical analysis of the tax program by UF faculty member Robert Rhee is that, in discussing the Sisk data on faculty citations, he fails to note (at least not that I saw) that tax is a low-citation field compared to corporate or constitutional law or just about every other field!  That does lead me to wonder about the reliability of other parts of his analysis.

Meanwhile, the drama continues here, with Rhee replying to a colleague.  I must admit, the spectacle of this debate about a school's program playing out on blogs is an embarrassment by itself.  Between the Blog Emperor and the perpetually aggrieved Jeffrey Harrison (who naturally, has been weighing in on this affair), also a UF faculty member, Dean Rosenbury has her hands full!   Florida was fortunate to get a Dean of this caliber, folks there should behave better!


September 20, 2016 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

September 01, 2016

Law schools with the most alumni on the law teaching market 2016-17

This is based on the first FAR, and includes SJDs and LLMs, as well as JDs:

Harvard University (35)

Georgetown University (31)

Yale University (26)

New York University (25)

University of Michigan (18)

Columbia University (16)

Northwestern University (14)

Stanford University (12)

University of California, Berkeley (12)

University of Pennsylvania (9)

George Washington University (8)

Cornell University (6)

University of Texas, Austin (5)

University of Virginia (5)

Duke University (4)

University of Wisconsin, Madison (4)

Emory University (3)

University of California, Los Angeles (3)

University of Chicago (3)

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (3)

As I noted, this is an unusually small contingent for Chicago this year (we usually have 6-10 candidates), but we do work closely with the vast majority of our alums to time their entry to the teaching market when they can put their best feet forward.  Based on past success rates, I fear some schools may have too many graduates on the market.


September 1, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

August 26, 2016

Citations to faculty scholarship by federal and state courts

Courtesy of the good folks at St. Thomas.  The number of cites are remarkably few, even for those in "the top ten."  

UPDATE:  A colleage elsewhere writes with an explanation for why the numbers are artificially low:  "They only counted citations in the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and state supreme courts. Also, they only counted citations to traditional law review articles: Citations to books, treatises, etc were not counted." 


August 26, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

August 24, 2016

Law schools with the highest percentage of "most-cited" tenured faculty, 2010-2014 (CORRECTED 8/24)

Over the last several months, we've compiled "top ten" or "top twenty" lists of "most-cited" faculty (based on the Sisk data) in the following areas of scholarship:   Constitutional & Public Law; Administrative and/or Environmental Law; Criminal Law & Procedure; Commercial Law; Corporate Law/Securities Regulation; Torts; Property; Civil Procedure; Evidence; Tax; Antitrust; Legal Ethics/Legal Profession; International Law; Intellectual Property/Cyberlaw; Family Law; Law & Economics; Legal History; Law & Philosophy; Law & Social Science (excluding economics); and Critical Theories of Law.

Below, any school with at least three faculty on these lists are ranked by the percentage of tenured faculty (based on the Sisk count) who appeared in some "most cited" list (each faculty member is counted but once, even if they appeared on more than one list). 

 

Rank

School

Tenured Faculty in Sisk study

# of Highly-Cited

Faculty

% faculty highly-cited

1

University of Chicago

29

14

48%

 

Yale University

46

22

48%

3

Harvard University

82

30

37%

4

University of California, Berkeley

53

18

34%

5

New York University

82

26

32%

6

Columbia University

73

22

30%

7

Stanford University

49

14

29%

8

University of Pennsylvania

43

11

26%

9

Duke University

40

10

25%

 

University of California, Irvine

24

  6

25%

 

Vanderbilt University

32

  8

25%

12

University of California, Los Angeles

54

13

24%

13

Cornell University

35

  8

23%

14

Northwestern University

34

  6

18%

15

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

47

  8

17%

 

University of Minnesota

46

  8

17%

17

George Washington University

66

  9

14%

 

Georgetown University

81

11

14%

19

Case Western Reserve University

23

  3

13%

 

George Mason University

31

  4

13%

21

University of California, Hastings

38

  4

11%

 

University of Southern California

28

  3

11%

 

University of Texas, Austin

65

  7

11%

 

University of Virginia

66

  7

11%

 

Wake Forest University

28

  3

11%

26

Brooklyn Law School

33

  3

  9%

27

Boston University

36

  3

  8%

 

Fordham University

53

  4

  8%

 

Ohio State University

36

  3

  8%

 

University of San Diego

37

  3

  8%

Other schools with at least two tenured faculty on the most-cited lists were:   American University; University of Hawaii; University of California, Davis; Arizona State University; University of Arizona; Emory University; University of Illinois; Washington University, St. Louis; Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University; Indiana University/Bloomington; Temple University; University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill.


August 24, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

10 Most-Cited Family Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive) [CORRECTED; first posted 7/27]

MOVING TO FRONT:  Turns out family law has evolved quite a bit since the last time we looked at the field more than a decade ago, hence several wrongful omissions, now hopefully all fixed!

Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:    

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Martha Fineman

Emory University

  580

66

2

Naomi Cahn

George Washington University

  540

58

3

Elizabeth Scott

Columbia University

  520

71

4

Lynn Wardle

Brigham Young University

  380

69

5

Mark Strasser

Capital University

  360

61

6

June Carbone

University of Minnesota

  340

62

 

Nancy Polikoff

American University

  340

64

 

Robin Wilson

University of Illinois

  340

48

9

Joanna Grossman

Southern Methodist University

  310

48

 

Melissa Murray

University of California, Berkeley

  310

41

   

Runners-up:

   
 

Kerry Abrams

University of Virginia

  260

45

 

Susan Appleton

Washington University, St. Louis

  260

68

 

Jill Hasday

University of Minnesota

  250

44

 

Carol Sanger

Columbia University

  250

68

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Martha Minow

Harvard University

1160

62

 

Janet Halley

Harvard University

  420

64

 

Katharine Bartlett

Duke University

  380

69

 

Mary Anne Case

University of Chicago

  330

59

 

I Glenn Cohen

Harvard University

  320

38

 

 

 


August 24, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

August 12, 2016

Coming next week...

...a ranking of schools by the percentage of their tenured faculty that made it on to the most-cited faculty lists we've been publishing (based on the Sisk data).


August 12, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

August 08, 2016

10 Most-Cited Legal Ethics/Legal Profession Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive)

Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:  

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Deborah Rhode

Stanford University

1080

64

2

David Luban

Georgetown University

  930

67

3

William Simon

Columbia University

  630

69

4

Bruce Green

Fordham University

  530

61

5

David Wilkins

Harvard University

  440

60

6

William Henderson, Jr.

Indiana University, Bloomington

  400

54

7

Stephen Gillers

New York University

  330

73

8

W. Bradley Wendel

Cornell University

  280

47

9

Peter Margulies

Roger Williams University

  260

60

 

Russell Pearce

Fordham University

  260

60

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Ronald Rotunda

Chapman University

  590

71

 

Robert W. Gordon

Stanford University

  520

75

 

Richard Painter

University of Minnesota

  310

54


August 8, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

August 02, 2016

More on the uselessness of ranking law reviews by Google Scholar h-indices

The other day I remarked on what should have been obvious, namely, that Google Scholar rankings of law reviews by impact are nonsense, providing prospective authors with no meaningful information about the relative impact of publishing an article in comparable law reviews.  (Did you know that it's better to publish in the Fordham Law Review for impact than in the Duke Law Journal?)  The reason is simple:  the Google Scholar rankings do not adjust for the volume of output--law reviews that turn out more issues and articles each year will rank higher than otherwise comparable law reviews (with actual comparable impact) simply because of the volume of output.

When Google Scholar rankings of philosophy journals first came out, a journal called Synthese came out #1.  Synthese is a good journal, but it was obviously nonsense that the average impact of an article there was greater than any of the actual top journals in philosophy.   The key fact about Synthese is that it publishes five to ten times as many articles per year than the top philosophy journals.   When another philosopher adjusted the Google Scholar results for volume of publication, Synthese dropped from #1 to #24.

Alas, various law professors have dug in their heels trying to explain that this nonsense Google Scholar ranking of law reviews is not, in fact, affected by volume of output.  I was initially astonished, but now see that many na├»ve enthusiasts apparently do not not understand the metrics and do not realize how sloppy Google Scholar is in terms of what it picks up. 

Let's start with the formula Google Scholar uses in its journal rankings:

The h-index of a publication is the largest number h such that at least h articles in that publication were cited at least h times each. For example, a publication with five articles cited by, respectively, 17, 9, 6, 3, and 2, has the h-index of 3.

The h-core of a publication is a set of top cited h articles from the publication. These are the articles that the h-index is based on. For example, the publication above has the h-core with three articles, those cited by 17, 9, and 6.

The h-median of a publication is the median of the citation counts in its h-core. For example, the h-median of the publication above is 9. The h-median is a measure of the distribution of citations to the articles in the h-core.

Finally, the h5-index, h5-core, and h5-median of a publication are, respectively, the h-index, h-core, and h-median of only those of its articles that were published in the last five complete calendar years.

Obviously, any journal that publishes more articles per year has more chances of publishing highly-cited articles, which then affects both the h-core result and the h-median result.  But that's only part of the problem, though that problem is real and obvious enough.   The much more serious problem is that Google Scholar picks up a lot of "noise," i.e., citations that aren't really citations.  So, for example, Google Scholar records as a citation any reference to the contents of the law review in an index of legal periodicals.  Any journal that publishes more issues will appear more often in such indices obviously.   Google Scholar picks up self-references in a journal to the articles it has published in a given year.   Google Scholar even picks up SSRN "working paper series" postings in which all other articles by someone on a faculty are also listed at the end as from that school.   (Google Scholar gradually purges some of these fake cites, but it takes a long time.)   Volume of publication inflates a journal's "impact" ranking because Google Scholar is not as discerning as some law professors think.


August 2, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink