On the heels of our recently concluded Nance-Steinberg Article Selection Forum (Paul Caron aggregated all the posts here), I ran across this article by Robert Jarvis and Phyllis Coleman (Nova Southeastern Law), "Ranking Law Reviews by Author Prominence--Ten Years Later." It just appeared in the Law Library Review.
The authors published a similar study ten years ago, which ranked general interest student-edited law journals based on the prominence of its contributors (i.e., "drawing power") during the 1991 to 1995 time period. The new study is a replication based on 2001 to 2005 data (7573 discrete authors).
The methodology includes an unusual--and, no doubt some will argue, arbitrary--scale of author prominence. For example, if the President of the United States publishes remarks in your law review, it is worth 1,000 points. Here are other examples:
- 850, U.S. Senator
- 750, State Governor
- 725, U.S. Circuit Court Judge
- 625, Law professor at USN Top 25
- 525, Partner NLJ 250 firm or GC at Fortune 500 company
- 475, Law professor at USN Top 50
- 275, Law professor at USN Tier 3
- 250, Mayor or equivalent
- 225, Law professor at USN Tier 4
- 125, Community college professor
- 75, JD Student
- 50, Paralegal
Boy, am I glad I did not have to draw those lines! No surprise that journals at the top are Yale Law Journal (score = 553, which is remarkable since it includes student notes), Harvard Law Review (551), Columbia Law Review (543), etc.
What is surprising--at least to me--is the severe dropoff as one moves down the hierarchy. For example, Houston Law Review is a ranked #50 with a score of 337; #100 Penn State Law Review = 239; #150 Gonzaga Law Review = 196; #171 (dead last) Western State Univ. Law Review = 141. I hope deans of all the new law schools consider this data before agreeing to subside yet another law journal.