Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2012: Applying Leiter Scores to Rank the Top Third

31 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2012 Last revised: 26 Jan 2016

Gregory C. Sisk

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

Valerie Aggerbeck

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

Debby Hackerson


Mary Wells


Date Written: July 16, 2012


This study explores the scholarly impact of law faculties, ranking the top third of ABA-accredited law schools. 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. 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 one-third of accredited American law schools, the law faculties ranked in this study have concretely demonstrated a collective commitment to legal scholarship. The law faculties at Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, and New York University continue to stand out nationally in scholarly prominence. Vanderbilt at #8 and Cornell at #9 have both risen a couple of places since 2010 into the Scholarly Impact top ten, with Columbia at #6, the new law school at California-Irvine at #7, and California-Berkeley at #10.

Rounding out the top 20 are other law schools traditionally ranked among the nation’s elite institutions — Pennsylvania, Duke, Northwestern, Michigan, UCLA, Virginia, George Washington, Georgetown, Minnesota, and Texas. Inside the top 25 for Scholarly Impact ranking are Boston University, George Mason, California-Davis, USC, and Cardozo. Just outside the top 25 are Emory, Washington University, Illinois, and Colorado. Three law faculties are tied for the #30 position: Ohio State, the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), and Washington & Lee.

Brooklyn, Cardozo, Case Western, Chapman, Colorado, Florida State, George Mason, Hawaii, Hofstra, Houston, Missouri-Columbia, Nevada-Las Vegas, New York Law School, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers-Camden, Seattle, and the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) achieve Scholarly Impact Scores well above the rankings assigned by U.S. News. Three newer law schools accredited within the past two decades — the University of St. Thomas, Nevada-Las Vegas, and Chapman — have already made a scholarly impact that dramatically outpaces their present academic reputations.

Keywords: scholarly impact, scholarly impact study, Leiter scores, legal scholarship, law schools, law faculties, legal education

Suggested Citation

Sisk, Gregory C. and Aggerbeck, Valerie and Hackerson, Debby and Wells, Mary, Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2012: Applying Leiter Scores to Rank the Top Third (July 16, 2012). University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Forthcoming; U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-21. 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)

Valerie Aggerbeck

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


Deborah K Hackerson


No Address Available

Mary Wells


No Address Available

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