Friday, August 26, 2016
Valerie Aggerbeck, Nick Farris, Megan McNevin & Gregory C. Sisk (all of St. Thomas-Minnesota), Judicial Impact of Law School Faculties:
This study is a follow-up to our scholarly impact study published in 2015, Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third. Looking at an expanded time period (2005-2014), we assessed the extent to which extensive citations in the legal literature translated into citations by courts. It is important to acknowledge that the judicial citation rates were very low, precluding extensive analysis and making it difficult to regard some of the results as reliable and robust. Our study indicates that a certain subset of scholars are both noticed and cited by the judiciary as well as their peers.
To identify the scholars who are most cited by courts, we leveraged the same data (roster of names and name variations) and used a similar methodology to our 2015 scholarly impact study. Using the school rosters from the scholarly impact survey, we identified scholars with two hundred and fifty or more citations in the legal literature. We then created a very broad search that would include any academic article cited by courts, but would exclude amicus briefs, testimony, judging, and any other incidences of writing or impact. We studied three different court cohorts: citations to scholarly works by the Supreme Court, citations to scholarly works by the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and citations to scholarly works by all state high courts (whether formally called Supreme Courts or Courts of Appeal).
There is a moderate correlation between citations in the legal literature and citations by courts. The correlation is stronger at the federal level, weaker at the state level. Overall, there is a relatively weak correlation between schools’ performance in the scholarly impact study and the judicial impact study.