University of Chicago Professor Brian Leiter devised the rubric for Scholarly Impact Scores. Professor Gregory C. Sisk and his University of St. Thomas School of Law colleagues, co-authors of the study, previously updated and reported the rankings in 2012, 2015 and 2018. The triennial study is held in high regard by law professors around the country and, according to the authors, has been described as “’the industry standard’ for ranking on scholarly impact.”
An examination of the new study’s findings yields the following insights:
- The study included data on each of the ranked schools, including each school’s mean, median and weighted citation scores. William & Mary was the 21st most-cited faculty by median citation score. This indicates that William & Mary’s performance resulted from strong contributions from many faculty members rather than from only a handful of highly cited faculty.
- William & Mary’s Scholarly Impact Ranking of 27 is higher than that of 11 schools that currently rank above William & Mary in the U.S. News ranking.
- William & Mary Law School Dean A. Benjamin Spencer is among 30 law school deans in the country who are listed among scholars with the highest citation counts at their respective schools. The scholars with the highest citation counts at William & Mary are (in alphabetical order): Professor Jeffrey Bellin, Professor Aaron-Andrew Bruhl, Professor Evan Criddle, Professor Neal Devins, Professor Adam Gershowitz, Professor Darian Ibrahim, Professor Allison Orr Larsen, Professor Paul Marcus, Professor Nathan Oman, Dean A. Benjamin Spencer, and Professor Timothy Zick.
- In citation studies, it is common for the most-cited faculty to be senior professors because they have had many years to write articles that can be cited. William & Mary’s list of most-cited faculty is notable for its relative youth. The majority of William & Mary’s most-cited faculty are under the age of fifty. Six of the most-cited faculty on the list were hired laterally in the last decade.
“William & Mary is a wonderful community of influential scholars,” said Spencer, who became dean of the law school in July 2020. “I am delighted to lead a faculty that continues to advance legal knowledge and increases its well-deserved renown.”
About the Study
For the most recent iteration of the study, the authors compiled a list of all law schools that had ranked in or near the top 70 in the earlier three studies. They then collected the names of tenured law professors “who have traditional scholarly expectations” at each of the schools. The authors then searched for total law journal citations over the past five years. The study included data on each of the ranked schools, including each school’s mean, median and weighted citation scores.
About William & Mary Law School
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America’s first law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.