Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Citation Counts By Field: Is Con Law 5 Times More Important Than Tax?

Following up on my previous post, Leiter: Citation Counts Vary By Field—Tax Is 19th Among 21 Subject Areas (Aug. 17, 2021):  Brian Leiter (Chicago), Citation Counts Vary By Field, 2016-2020 Edition:  

Here's an updated version of a post from last summer, now using the Sisk data for the period 2016-2020. ...

Of the ten most-cited faculty in the U.S. in the last Sisk study, eight worked at least partly in constitutional law.  Indeed, constitutional law is the most high-citation field, although corporate, law & economics, criminal law & procedure, law & technology, and intellectual property also get cited a lot.  By contrast, tax, evidence, and health law, among others, are low-citation fields.   300 cites in a five-year period will get you into the top five in tax, but not anywhere close to the top 20 in constitutional law (maybe the top 50?).

Stephen Bainbridge (UCLA), Citation Counts By Field of Expertise--Is the Constitutional Law Really All That Important?:

Constitutional law is ranked #1 (4,880 citations). Tax is 24th (880) and evidence is last (26th; 630 citations). I get that most legal academics think constitutional law is sexy. But is it really 5 times as important as taxation? Is it really 8 times as important as evidence?

I think it speaks to the skewed values of the legal academy. The bread and butter of legal practice, which affects more people's lives, get short shrift.

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