Monday, September 28, 2009

Best Law School Faculties in Law & Economics

So with more than 300 votes cast, the 'top ten' faculties in law & economics are as follows (*indicates a vote tally quite close to the school ranked ahead of it):

1.  Harvard University

2.  University of Chicago

3.  Yale University

4.  New York University

5.  University of California, Berkeley

6.  Columbia University

*7.  Stanford University

7.  University of Pennsylvania (tied with Stanford, but farther behind Columbia)

9.  University of Virginia

10. George Mason University

Northwestern University was very close to George Mason in the final vote tally.  Detailed results are here.

Although, as readers know, these polls are scientific--on a par with the science of macroeconomics even--I would caution that the faculty lists used in this case were particularly controversial.  In general, schools included more faculty as part of their L&E group than the lists reflected, though correspondents sometimes used different criteria for inclusion and exclusion:  e.g., many treated anyone who had presented at ALEA (American Law & Economics Association) as part of the L&E group, while others laid more emphasis on formal training.  For purposes of a specialist survey in the coming months, I think we will just present evaluators with complete faculty lists, and let them judge which faculty contribute significantly to the L&E strength of a law school.

One observation about our polls so far:  in two extremely high prestige areas of legal scholarship--constitutional law and theory, and law and economics--Harvard has bested Yale (by a significant margin in L&E, only slightly in constitutional law).  (NYU has also beaten Columbia in both categories, though that was, to my mind, less surprising.)  We'll see whether that outcome remains stable in the poll of specialists.

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