Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Best Law School Faculties in "Legal History": The Results

Yet another triumph for scientific Internet polling, with over 250 votes cast:

1. Yale University (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Harvard University loses to Yale University by 115–91
3. Stanford University loses to Yale University by 183–30, loses to Harvard University by 177–33
4. University of Virginia loses to Yale University by 189–19, loses to Stanford University by 116–69
5. Columbia University loses to Yale University by 194–17, loses to University of Virginia by 102–85
6. University of Texas at Austin loses to Yale University by 193–17, loses to Columbia University by 101–91
7. Tied:
New York University loses to Yale University by 189–20, loses to University of Texas at Austin by 101–75
University of Southern California loses to Yale University by 190–20, loses to University of Texas at Austin by 103–78
9. University of Chicago loses to Yale University by 193–14, loses to New York University by 93–78
10. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor loses to Yale University by 189–17, loses to University of Chicago by 99–66

Runners-up were Berkeley (loses to Michigan by 80-76) and Penn (loses to Berkeley 89-71).


 A few observations:  (1) Yale and Harvard dominate the area, the rest of the 'top ten' (plus runner-ups) seem sensible, though I would not put much weight on the precise ordinal ranking; (2) Lawrence Friedman at Stanford is 80, how would Stanford fare without him?; (3) strength in 20th-century American legal history clearly drove the voting (this became esp. apparent after Mary Dudziak [USC] at the Legal History Blog linked to the poll), but this may well reflect the relative importance of that sub-field within the American legal academy; (4) there are big differences in faculty size, ranging from just 3-5 faculty in the area (e.g., Penn, Chicago, NYU, USC) to eight or more (e.g., Yale, Harvard).

SIGNED COMMENTS ON THE RESULTS welcome:  that means full name and valid e-mail address.


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I was surprised that my colleagues here at UCLA did not fare better, but the will of the electorate must be respected. In any case, when are you going to research the best corporate and securities law faculties?

Posted by: Stephen Bainbridge | Nov 9, 2010 6:07:32 PM

Regarding Americanists and others -- I've often made the point that Americanists are favored in various kinds of rankings, including rankings based on cites in U.S. legal scholarship. The U.S. legal academy as a whole has a large majority of scholars who write about American law. When they read legal history, they are more likely to read U.S. legal history, and Americanists are the scholars they're more likely to download, cite and recognize in this sort of poll. So if there is an Americanist bias reflected, that's something predictable, and it appears in other measures. This is a reason that students and others looking for a law school that is strong in legal history need to look beyond these sorts of results. At the same time, though, the majority of the schools making the "top ten" have significant strength in non-U.S. history, including the top three.

Posted by: Mary Dudziak | Nov 10, 2010 6:40:40 AM

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