US News To Add New Law School Ranking

US News To Add New Law School Ranking

A new type of law school ranking may be coming to US News.

The ranking publication announced that it may publish a new ranking, separate from the overall “Best Law Schools”, that measures faculty research prowess.

“The intent is to analyze each law school’s scholarly impact based on a number of accepted indicators that measure its faculty’s productivity and impact using citations, publications and other bibliometric measures,” US News reports.

US News will be collaborating with William S. Hein & Co. Inc., the world’s largest distributor of legal periodicals, to complete the analysis.

The Importance of Scholarly Impact

Scholarly impact is a critical component of legal studies. Yet, few rankings take scholarly impact into consideration.

“University administrators should find it helpful for comparing the impact of their own law faculty’s scholarship with the scholarship of law faculties at other universities,” Gary M. Lucas, Jr, of Texas A&M University School of Law, says in his paper “Measuring Scholarly Impact: A Guide for Law School Administrators and Legal Scholars.”

Lucas says the primary obstacle to comparing scholarly impact is a lack of available information.

His paper recommends that each law school should create a Google Scholar profile for its faculty.

“By acting on this recommendation, administrators would dramatically improve our ability to assess the impact of legal scholarship,” Lucas writes.

How US News Will Approach Scholarly Impact

US News will begin assessing schools by asking them to provide the names and details of their fall 2018 full-time turned and tenure-track faculty.

“This information will be used to link the names of each individual law school’s faculty to citations and publications that were published in the previous five years and are available in HeinOnline, an online database with more than 2,600 legal periodicals,” US News reports “This includes such measures as mean citations per faculty member, median citations per faculty member and total number of publications.”

The publication will then create a comprehensive scholarly impact ranking of law schools.

Scholarly impact will not be a factor in the overall “Best Law Schools” ranking.

Sources: US News, Texas A&M University School of Law