September 23, 2011
SSRN Graduate Tax Faculty RankingsUpdated Sept. 29, 2011: Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.) has updated his ranking of the Top 15 Graduate Tax Faculties, as measured by the number of SSRN downloads (through Sept. 9, 2011). To minimize the distortive effect of his own rankings articles, he has eliminated from Loyola-L.A.’s count downloads attributable to his own two most downloaded articles, neither of which pertains directly to tax. He has not eliminated downloads of non-tax articles from the counts of any other author.
F or purpose of Ted’s analysis, a tax professor is initially defined as any full-time law professor at a U.S. law school (1) self-identifying with one of the tax categories in the AALS faculty listing, (2) who has posted at least one tax or tax-related article in abstract or full text on SSRN. Paul Caron’s listing of new hires and lateral transfers is also reflected. Further corrections are made as requested. As is true of Paul Caron’s ranking of individual tax professors, downloads of all SSRN postings of any tax professor, so defined, are then tallied. Articles co-authored by members of a single faculty are counted only once towards that faculty’s tally.
For more on the use of SSRN downloads in law school rankings, see Bernard S. Black & Paul L. Caron, Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83 (2006).
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Remarkable! Shame on you, Harvard, Yale, and Chicago!
How many of these schools advertise their tax strength?
It's interesting to compare this to the US News Tax Law rankings:
It's curious when the generally less prestigious schools are so much stronger in research. Or is there something wrong with the SSRN download methodology? Too much practitioner download? (an interesting topic)
Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Sep 23, 2011 8:28:23 AM
Eric - Even beyond the question of whether SSRN downloads tell you much about research prowess, Seto is only counting the schools that have a graduate domestic tax LLM program. That doesn't include Harvard, Yale, and Chicago (or any of the other schools in the US New Tax Law rankings that aren't on Seto's list). The US News rankings aren't much better though. Historically, the voting in the tax program rankings has been split among people who only list schools with tax LLM programs and people who rank only based on scholarly reputation (and perhaps number of tax faculty/JD tax courses) and therefore exclude many of the tax LLM programs on this list. The result looks odd to both groups of voters because they are applying different standards of measurement. Plus, both ways of ranking programs might be wrong depending upon the reader. A JD student interested in tax might be ill-served going to a school with a strong tax LLM program, since the faculty and classes focus on the LLM students and not the JD students, while an LLM student interested in tax might be ill-served going to a school with a strong JD reputation and a general LLM program but not a lot of tax classes beyond the normal JD courses.
Posted by: Anon | Sep 23, 2011 12:26:37 PM
Disagree with anon about tax-interested JD students. I am a JD student (not JD/LLM) at LLS. I have taken numerous tax classes and have been extremely satisfied with my experience. It is false to suggest that a JD student interested in tax should not attend Loyola over say UC Davis.
Posted by: Anon | Sep 27, 2011 7:06:19 PM