What Should Law School Rankings Measure and How Should We Measure it: A Comment on Heald & Sichelman's Rankings

7 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2019 Last revised: 17 Dec 2019

See all articles by Adam S. Chilton

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Jonathan S. Masur

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: November 7, 2019

Abstract

There are obvious benefits to ranking academic departments based on objective measures of faculty research output. However, there are considerable difficulties associated with producing reliable and accurate rankings. In this short comment, we offer an evaluation of Heald and Sichelman's recent foray into the project of ranking law schools. Heald and Sichelman are to be commended for the transparency and rigor of their rankings effort. At the same time, it is important to note that their rankings involve a series of contestable discretionary choices and could give rise to potential counter-productive gaming by law schools seeking to improve their place in the rankings. In particular, Heald and Sichelman's system places a thumb on the scale on behalf of more senior faculty who publish in traditional law reviews and write in popular substantive areas like constitutional law. This raises the concern that rankings of this type could discourage law schools from hiring faculty that are young, produce interdisciplinary scholarship, and write in otherwise under-represented fields. Nonetheless, Heald and Sichelman have taken an important step forward, and other scholars should look to build profitably upon their work.

Keywords: citations, tenure, law schools, rankings, downloads

Suggested Citation

Chilton, Adam S. and Masur, Jonathan S., What Should Law School Rankings Measure and How Should We Measure it: A Comment on Heald & Sichelman's Rankings (November 7, 2019). Jurimetrics, Vol. 60, Issue 1 (Forthcoming 2019), University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 893, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3483202 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3483202

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

Jonathan S. Masur (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773.702.5188 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/masur/

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