Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties: Extending the Leiter Rankings to the Top 70 (2010)

11 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2010 Last revised: 21 Jun 2012

Gregory C. Sisk

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

Debby Hackerson


Mary Wells


Valerie Aggerbeck

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)

Date Written: September 30, 2010


This study explores the scholarly impact of the faculties at all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association and then ranks the top seventy law faculties. Refined by Professor Brian Leiter, the “Scholarly Impact Score” for a law faculty is calculated from the mean and the median of total law journal citations over the past five years to the work of tenured members of that law faculty. This study extends Professor Leiter’s study of the Top 25 law faculties to rank the Top 70 law faculties in order by scholarly impact (by reason of ties in ranking position, 71 schools actually are included). Following the same methodology and search parameters, we also applied a discount rate to back-date Scholarly Impact Scores to January 15, 2010, so that the results for additional law faculties could be integrated with Professor Leiter’s Scholarly Impact Ranking for the Top 25 law faculties reported earlier this year. See Brian Leiter, “Top 25 Law Faculties in Scholarly Impact, 2005-2009.” In addition to a school-by-school ranking, we report the mean, median, and weighted score for each law faculty, along with a listing of the tenured law faculty members at each ranked law school with the highest individual citation counts.

Representing about one-third of accredited American law schools, the law faculties ranked in this study have demonstrated concretely a strong collective commitment to legal scholarship. As previously ranked by Professor Leiter, the law faculties at Yale, Harvard, Chicago,and Stanford stand out nationally in scholarly prominence, followed by several others that are traditionally ranked among the elite law schools. The new law school at California-Irvine shows early signs of becoming a scholarly leader, while Florida State continues its upward movement by entering the Top 25.

Extending the ranking to the Top 70, Cardozo and Ohio State fall just outside the Top 25, while George Mason, Hofstra, Case Western, the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), Pittsburgh, Hawaii, Brooklyn, Nevada-Las Vegas, the University of San Diego, Chicago-Kent, and Missouri-Columbia achieve strong rankings well above those assigned by U.S. News. Several law schools accredited within the past twelve years - the University of St. Thomas, Nevada-Las Vegas, Chapman, and Florida International - have already made a scholarly impact that dramatically outpaces their academic reputations.

Note: Scholarly Impact Ranking for 2012 will soon to be posted.

Keywords: Legal Scholarship, Scholarly Impact, Law Schools, Law School Ranking

Suggested Citation

Sisk, Gregory C. and Hackerson, Debby and Wells, Mary and Aggerbeck, Valerie, Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties: Extending the Leiter Rankings to the Top 70 (2010) (September 30, 2010). University of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-24. Available at SSRN: or

Gregory C. Sisk (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
651-962-4892 (Phone)

Deborah K Hackerson


No Address Available

Mary Wells


No Address Available

Valerie Aggerbeck

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )


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