These law schools are top in scholarship


The ranking uses law journal citations to determine “scholarly impact” of law faculties
Yale Law School stayed at No. 1, but there was plenty of movement throughout the top 10
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(Reuters) – Yale Law School reigns supreme when it comes the scholarly impact of its faculty.

The law school again snagged the No. 1 spot on University of St. Thomas law professor Gregory Sisk’s closely watched triennial ranking of the most-cited law school faculties, released this week. But it wasn’t all business as usual this year.

University of Chicago Law School unseated Harvard at No. 2, pushing the Ivy League school down to the No. 3 spot. Sisk attributed Harvard’s drop to the recent retirement of several oft-cited faculty members.

New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School held on to their No. 4 and 5 positions, respectively, while University of California, Berkeley School of Law moved up one spot to tie Stanford Law School at No. 6. The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Vanderbilt Law School each moved up one spot to Nos. 8 and 9, respectively. The University of Virginia School of Law rounds out to top 10 by tying Vanderbilt for the No. 9 spot—making an impressive move up from the No. 16 spot on the 2018 ranking.

“Virginia has had a tremendous lateral hiring surge in the last couple of years of really highly cited scholars,” Sisk said. “That was certainly a significant upward movement.”

Every three years, Sisk and his co-authors, who this year included St. Thomas research librarian Nicole Catlin and law students Alexandra Anderson and Lauren Gunderson, compile data on law journal citations from the previous five years and rank schools based on the mean and median number of citations of their tenured faculty. The Sisk ranking is widely considered by legal educators as the most credible measure of a faculty’s scholarly impact.

The new rankings also include data on the most-cited law professors from the past five years. Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, who is currently on leave to serve as a senior counsel in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, would have been the top-cited scholar were he included in the list, Sisk noted. Among current faculty members, Berkeley law dean Erwin Chemerinsky racked up the most citations, followed by Stanford law professor Mark Lemley.