October 10, 2019

Enrollment rebounding at University of Minnesota Law School

It's been a wild decade, with enrollment declining by almost a third, but now almost back to pre-recession levels.

October 10, 2019 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

September 12, 2019

Top 40 law faculties according to readers of the blog

So with 214 votes cast, here are the results; I've added spaces to mark out schools that were "clustered" pretty closely together.


1. Yale University  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)

2. Harvard University  loses to Yale University by 107–78


3. Stanford University  loses to Yale University by 154–33, loses to Harvard University by 153–34

4. University of Chicago  loses to Yale University by 154–37, loses to Stanford University by 96–90


5. New York University  loses to Yale University by 157–37, loses to University of Chicago by 105–81

6. Columbia University  loses to Yale University by 177–18, loses to New York University by 102–83


7. University of California, Berkeley  loses to Yale University by 184–9, loses to Columbia University by 149–40
8. University of Pennsylvania  loses to Yale University by 183–9, loses to University of California, Berkeley by 95–83
9. University of Virginia  loses to Yale University by 184–7, loses to University of Pennsylvania by 95–77

10. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  loses to Yale University by 187–7, loses to University of Virginia by 87–86


11. Duke University  loses to Yale University by 189–5, loses to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor by 103–69


12. Georgetown University  loses to Yale University by 192–4, loses to Duke University by 106–69
13. Northwestern University  loses to Yale University by 189–6, loses to Georgetown University by 90–88
14. Cornell University  loses to Yale University by 189–6, loses to Northwestern University by 89–75

15. University of California, Los Angeles  loses to Yale University by 192–1, loses to Cornell University by 95–79


16. University of Texas, Austin  loses to Yale University by 193–0, loses to University of California, Los Angeles by 100–69


17. Vanderbilt University  loses to Yale University by 186–1, loses to University of Texas, Austin by 92–63


18. University of Southern California  loses to Yale University by 185–0, loses to Vanderbilt University by 99–42


19. Washington University, St. Louis  loses to Yale University by 183–0, loses to University of Southern California by 88–52
20. Boston University  loses to Yale University by 185–3, loses to Washington University, St. Louis by 80–67
21. University of California, Irvine  loses to Yale University by 188–1, loses to Boston University by 81–67
22. George Washington University  loses to Yale University by 187–1, loses to University of California, Irvine by 78–70

23. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul  loses to Yale University by 183–0, loses to George Washington University by 75–63


24. Emory University  loses to Yale University by 186–1, loses to University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul by 78–60
25. University of Notre Dame  loses to Yale University by 180–1, loses to Emory University by 73–69
26. Boston College  loses to Yale University by 180–2, loses to University of Notre Dame by 78–60

27. Fordham University  loses to Yale University by 185–2, loses to Boston College by 73–65


28. College of William & Mary  loses to Yale University by 180–2, loses to Fordham University by 73–55
29. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign  loses to Yale University by 178–0, loses to College of William & Mary by 64–60
30. University of California, Davis  loses to Yale University by 180–0, loses to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign by 60–57
31. University of Iowa  loses to Yale University by 180–0, loses to University of California, Davis by 70–53
32. University of Wisconsin, Madison  loses to Yale University by 175–0, loses to University of Iowa by 66–57

33. Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University  loses to Yale University by 174–6, loses to University of Wisconsin, Madison by 67–63


34. George Mason University  loses to Yale University by 178–3, loses to Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University by 72–49
35. Indiana University, Bloomington  loses to Yale University by 172–1, loses to George Mason University by 58–56
36. Ohio State University  loses to Yale University by 173–0, loses to Indiana University, Bloomington by 57–48
37. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  loses to Yale University by 182–0, loses to Ohio State University by 65–50
38. Arizona State University  loses to Yale University by 173–3, loses to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill by 65–56
39. Brooklyn Law School  loses to Yale University by 169–6, loses to Arizona State University by 61–57
40. Florida State University  loses to Yale University by 176–1, loses to Brooklyn Law School by 59–56

UC Hastings trailed Florida State by ten votes, and Alabama trailed Hastings by 3 votes.

Unfortunately, this looks a lot like the U.S. News overall rank, which is a nonsense number, although there are notable exceptions:  e.g., NYU coming out ahead of Columbia, but also places like George Mason, Brooklyn, and Florida State (but San Diego not making the top 50 was a sign of the pernicious influence of US News).  You can get an idea of which school's voters tried to get a strategic advantage by ranking their school ahead of Yale, as 6 voters for Brooklyn and Cardozo each did (while only 2 Fordham voters did so).   Condorcet largely washes out that kind of voting, but it may have some effect, I can't say for sure.

What's really needed is a survey that presents evaluators with faculty lists, rather than school names--perhaps down the line!  Or if someone else wants to try it, I can help publicize and/or offer advice.

September 12, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink

September 10, 2019

Top 40 Law Faculties in terms of scholarly distinction, 2019 edition

We haven't played this game in awhile, so here it goes:  66 choices in an attempt to find "the top 40".  Don't participate if your knowledge of law schools is limited to what you learned from USNEWS.com.   Only participate if you have an informed opinion about the scholarship these faculties produce.   Feel free to choose "no opinion" for faculties you don't know much about.  And have fun!

September 10, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink

July 19, 2019

International ranking of law journals

A group of Israeli legal scholars undertook this quantitative and qualitative study,resulting in a tiered ranking of journals as A*, A, B, C and unranked.   One could quibble here and there, but it's a reasonably sensible result.

July 19, 2019 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 01, 2019

Top 10 Corporate & Securities Articles of 2018

From Professor Thompson's website at Georgetown (I've added institutional affiliations):

The Corporate Practice Commentator is pleased to announce the results of its twenty-fifth annual poll to select the ten best corporate and securities articles.  Teachers in corporate and securities law were asked to select the best corporate and securities articles from a list of articles published and indexed in legal journals during 2018.  Just short of 400 articles were on this year’s list.  Because of the vagaries of publication, indexing, and mailing, some articles published in 2018 have a 2017 date, and not all articles containing a 2018 date were published and indexed in time to be included in this year’s list.

The articles, listed in alphabetical order of the initial author, are:

Yakov Amihud (NYU Business), Markus Schmid (St. Gallen) & Steven Davidoff Solomon (Berkeley).  Settling the Staggered Board Debate.  166 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1475-1510 (2018).

Tamara Belinfanti (New York Law School) & Lynn Stout (late of Cornell).  Contested Visions: The Value of Systems Theory for Corporate Law.  166 U. Pa. L. Rev. 578-631 (2018).

James D. Cox (Duke) & Randall S. Thomas (Vanderbilt).  Delaware’s Retreat: Exploring Developing Fissures and Tectonic Shifts in Delaware Corporate Law.  42 Del. J. Corp. L. 323-389 (2018).

Jill E. Fisch (Penn).  Governance by Contract: The Implications for Corporate Bylaws.  106 Cal. L. Rev. 373-409 (2018).

Jill E. Fisch (Penn), Jonah B. Gelbach (Penn, moving to Berkeley) & Jonathan Klick (Penn).  The Logic and Limits of Event Studies in Securities Fraud Litigation.  96 Tex. L. Rev. 553-618 (2018).

George S. Geis (Virginia).  Traceable Shares and Corporate Law.  113 Nw. U. L. Rev. 227-277 (2018).

Cathy Hwang (Utah).  Deal Momentum.  65 UCLA L. Rev. 376-425 (2018).

Dorothy S. Lund (Southern California).  The Case against Passive Shareholding Voting.  43 J. Corp. L. 493-536 (2018).

Edward B. Rock & Daniel L. Rubinfeld (both NYU).  Antitrust for Institutional Investors.  82 Antitrust L. J. 221-78 (2018).

Mark J. Roe (Harvard).  Stock-Market Short-Termism’s Impact.  167 U. Pa. L. Rev. 71-121 (2018).

May 1, 2019 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

March 13, 2019

HeinOnline and co-authored articles

Dru Stevenson (South Texas) writes:

I've enjoyed your recent blog posts about the law school rankings. As far as I can tell, HeinOnline counts two-author articles as an article for each coauthor, which means that when faculty at the same school coauthor an article, citations to that article count once for each author, and twice for the institution, no?  In other words, for lower-ranked law schools that are concerned about their scholarly rankings, co-authored publications from their own faculty count double.  When USNews starts using HeinOnline citation counts, it will reward  institutions where a lot of professors co-author articles.  I'm not sure this would be a bad thing - coauthorship is much more common in some other academic disciplines, and I think the legal academy might benefit from more collaboration and scholarly mentoring relationships.  But it also is susceptible to gaming, of course.  Any thoughts on this?

Does anyone know if this is how Hein searches will work?  And thoughts on Professor Stevenson's question also welcome.  Signed comments will be strongly preferred, thanks.

March 13, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 12, 2019

The USNews.com roller coaster

Blog Emperor Caron unwisely hypes his school's favorable overall ranking in the USNews.com charade.  This is unwise because it legitimates the nonsense number (i.e., the overall rank), which will likely come back to bite Pepperdine in another year (much as they got bitten rather unfairly last year).   With resources, any school can move up in the rankings by shrinking their student body (especially the 1L class) and holding everything else constant.   As I've noted before, almost every change, for better or worse, in the USNews.com overall ranking has nothing to do with reality:  it reflects moves to game the rankings either by the school doing better, or by one's immediate competitors for those schools that do worse.  

The Blog Emperor also usefully produces the "peer [academic] reputation" scores for the most recent law school rankings.   These scores typically track the overall USNews.com ranking in recent years, with small deviations.  This year's amusing small deviation is for Yale, which comes in at 4.8, behind Harvard and Stanford at 4.9.  Yale is still #1 in the overall ranking, while Harvard is #3, behind Stanford at #2--the way it's been for a number of years now. This result is entirely a function of one-and-only one factor (which USNews.com doesn't print):  spending per capita.  Harvard is rich but large, with economies of scale for which it is penalized in the ranking formula; Yale and Stanford are rich, but very small. Hence the results.



March 12, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink

March 07, 2019

$50 million gift to George Mason Law to endow 13 faculty chairs

Wow! And double wow!

March 7, 2019 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Attention Bob Morse: this is quite important in using Hein for a scholarly impact study (UPDATED--SEE BELOW, IMPORTANT!)

The point is due to Robert Anderson (Pepperdine):  "[T]o the extent that interdisciplinary work has an impact in law, it will be cited in law reviews and therefore captured in the ranking. Some of the papers most often cited in law reviews were published in economics or finance journals (Jensen and Meckling, Coase). The key here is ensuring that Hein and US News take into account citations TO interdisciplinary work FROM law reviews, not just citations TO law reviews FROM law reviews as it appears they might do. That would be too narrow. Sisk currently captures these interdisciplinary citations FROM law reviews, and it is important for Hein to do the same. The same applies to books."

It's not yet clear how they will utilize the Hein database.  When I search my own name in the law library journal, I get a much higher count than I do with Westlaw, because Hein actually has a much larger number of foreign law journals than Westlaw.  And I find citations to scholarship that did not appear in law journals as well, including books.  But maybe that isn't how it's going to be done?

UPDATE:  Kevin Gerson, Director of the Law Library at UCLA, writes with extremely helpful (but also alarming) information:

I’ve been reading with interest your posts and thoughts on the new US News scholarly impact ranking (along with all of your other posts). From the information we have available so far, I think it’s pretty clear how US News will make use of the Hein database. Two years ago, with Hein’s help, I set up UCLA Law faculty author profile pages within HeinOnline. In order to create those pages, Hein sent me an information request by way of an Excel spreadsheet that included about a dozen informational columns to be filled out. The columns included such things as Known Name Variations, Affiliation Website Link, and Author E-mail Address. The tell is that when US News made their information request of law schools in mid-February, they sent a nearly identical information request by way of the same Excel spreadsheet that also included a Known Name Variations column. What this means is that US News is having Hein create the very same author profile pages that I (and others) had created for their schools. Those author pages include: (1) journal article citations to the author’s articles that are contained in Hein but only if those citations are made by other articles also contained in Hein and only if those citing articles use a recognized citation abbreviation, such as the Bluebook; and (2) case citations to the author’s articles that are contained in Hein but only if those citations are made by cases available in HeinOnline or Fastcase. Citations to books will not be included. Nor will citations to journals not contained in Hein. By using this method, US News has designed a purely automated way to calculate “impact.”

When you searched for yourself in the HeinOnline Law Journal library, you were conducting a different search than the one used to create author pages. You were thus able to pull up references to books not contained in Hein. Try instead searching in the Law Journal Library (under the advanced search) for yourself using the Author/Creator field. The results you see there, along with the citation counts, are what form the basis of your Hein faculty author page, and that is what will be used for the US News metric, IMO. The only unknown is how US News will combine that impact metric with a “productivity” metric during the same period.

If Mr. Gersen is correct about what U.S. News is planning on doing, then their impact study will be garbage, since law review citations to work in other law reviews is only a small part of the landscape of scholarship and impact, as Professor Anderson noted.  Yes it is more work to search names, as Sisk and colleagues too, but it is far more complete and meaningful then what appears to be in the offing.

March 7, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink

February 25, 2019

More on USNews.com's proposed scholarly impact rankings

It appears concerns about which faculty would count for impact purpose have been heard:  as the Blog Emperor notes USNews.com will still ask schools to list all tenure-stream faculty, but will also ask for their primary role to be identified (e.g., "doctrinal" or "clinical" or "legal research and writing").   USNews.com has not yet decided what to do with this information, but I have some advice:  study the scholarly impact only of the academic or "doctrinal" faculty.  If other categories are included this will have the effect of leading schools to exclude them from the tenure track, given that, typically, they are not expected to produce scholarship as much as the doctrinal faculty.

February 25, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink