Fuck and Law Faculty Rankings
24 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2007
Date Written: April 2007
This essay questions the methodology of Brian Leiter's latest addition to his Law School Rankings, the Most Downloaded Law Faculties, 2006. Leiter's new ranking purports to rank the top fifteen most downloaded law schools for 2006. While the ranking uses annual download data from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), he excludes two schools entirely: #8 Emory School of Law and #10 Ohio State Moritz College of Law. In Leiter's own words, It was necessary to exclude Ohio State and Emory whose presence in the top 15 was due entirely to one provocatively titled article by Christopher Fairman who teaches at Ohio State and is visiting at Emory. The paper he refers to is entitled Fuck. It explores the legal implications of the use of the word. An earlier version of the piece is available on SSRN as a working paper; it is now available in final form at 28 Cardozo Law Review 1171 (2007). In this essay, I question Fuck's exclusion on three grounds. First, from a procedural standpoint, Leiter has not articulated precisely why this scholarship was excluded. Absent some articulation, authors are unable to predict future results. Is it the title, the subject matter, the author or article downloads that trigger exclusion? Second, from a scholarly perspective, Leiter's exclusion appears to be word taboo at work - precisely the theme of the article he now bans. Third, exclusion of any scholarship illustrates Lawrence Solum's right people thesis. In this case, Leiter's exclusion marginalizes the scholarship of others on the premise that the right people can't possibly be downloading in such large numbers. Hopefully, this Essay will advance the conversation on whether as a community we benefit from this type of law school ranking.
Keywords: ranking, law school, law faculty, SSRN, taboo, fuck, Leiter
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation