Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Bradley A. Areheart (Tennessee), The Top 100 Law Reviews: A Reference Guide Based on Historical USNWR Data:
The best proxy for how other law professors react and respond to publishing in main, or flagship, law reviews is the US News and World Report (USNWR) rankings. This paper utilizes historical USNWR data to rank the top 100 law reviews. The USNWR rankings are important in shaping many – if not most – law professors’ perceptions about the relative strength of a law school (and derivatively, the home law review). This document contains a chart that is sorted by the 10-year rolling average for each school, but it also contains the 5-year and 15-year rolling averages. This paper also describes my methodology and responds to a series of frequently asked questions. The document was updated in March 2018.
Isn’t US News peer assessment (or “peer rep”) a better metric?
Peer rep is a better metric than any one year’s current overall ranking, because any changes in peer rep are more glacial and less subject to wild swings. But as I stated above, the metric that makes the most sense for placement decisions is the one that other law professors most frequently use. Here, I believe that more people are aware of a school’s USNWR overall rank than their ranking by peer rep. Also, peer rep is derived from USNWR surveys that only allow one to rank any particular school on a 1-5 basis. In this vein, one might view peer rep as just as specious as overall USNWR rank. Additionally, peer rep has only been around since 2007 and thus would not allow as much data capture. Finally, I have read that, in proverbial tail-wag-dog fashion, overall rank appears to drive peer rep. If that is true, it would be one more reason not to worry much about peer rep.