About “The Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time” (Posting 4)

An article just published in Michigan Law Review, written by me and Michelle Pearse, includes an updated version of my study of the most-cited law review articles. Students of legal education may be interested in which law schools and law reviews contributed the most supercited articles.

On the list of the most-cited legal articles of all time, Harvard Law Review dominated with 36 of the 100 papers, followed by Yale Law Journal (18), Stanford Law Review (10), Columbia Law Review (5) and Michigan Law Review (4). On the list of the 100 most-cited articles of the last 20 years (actually consisting of the 5 most-cited articles published in each of the years from 1990 to 2009), Harvard Law Review edged out Yale Law Journal, 18 to 17, followed by Stanford Law Review (11), Columbia Law Review (9), and Michigan Law Review (9).

Analyzing the all-time top 100 articles by which law schools the authors taught at at the time of publication, Harvard is narrowly ahead of Yale, 16.3 to 15.5 (multiple articles by an author count multiple times and coauthors receive fractional credit). Stanford has 8.5, University of Chicago 4.8, and Columbia 4. On the recent-articles list, Yale has 16.3 authors to Harvard’s 10.3, University of Chicago has 9.3, UCLA has 6, and Berkeley, Columbia, and NYU tie with 5.

Another way of looking at the leaders among schools is a “where are they now” breakdown of authors. Here Yale is at the top with 19.7, followed by Harvard with 15.8, Stanford with 9.5, UCLA at 6.5, and Columbia with 5.5.

Brian Leiter. on his Law School Reports website, states that I mistakenly credited Cass Sunstein to Harvard, even though he is no longer on the Harvard faculty. This is an intriguing assertion, since taking away credit for Sunstein would elevate Yale to a tie with Harvard on the all-time faculty tabulation based on “where are they now” and put YLS way ahead of HLS on the recent-articles faculty “where are they now” numbers. However, I believe it is reasonable to expect that Sunstein has a good likelihood of returning to Harvard after his stint in the Obama administration, and to count his articles in the Harvard totals.