The Most Cited Legal Academics 2013-17 (Updated)

A new report on the academic influence of law faculties and tallies of legal citations by specialty.


As Eugene noted, there is a new, updated study of law school "scholarly impact" by Gregory Sisk, et al. This study looks to measure the impact that different schools' law faculties have upon legal scholarship by looking at citation counts. (VCU isn't ranked, but as Ilya noted, it would apparently do quite well.)

In light of the new study, Brian Leiter has posted updated lists of the most cited legal scholars over the 2013-2017 period. Here are the top ten:






Age in 2018


Cass Sunstein

Harvard University


Constitutional, Administrative, and Environmental Law, Behavioral Law & Economics



Erwin Chemerinsky

University of California, Berkeley


Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure



Eric Posner

University of Chicago


Law & Economics, International Law, Commercial Law, Contracts



Mark Lemley

Stanford University


Intellectual Property and Cyberlaw



Richard Epstein

New York University, University of Chicago


Constitutional Law, Torts, Law & Economics



William Eskridge, Jr.

Yale University


Constitutional Law, Legislation



Akhil Amar

Yale University


Constitutional Law



Thomas Merrill

Columbia University


Administrative, Constitutional, and Property Law



Mark Tushnet

Harvard University


Constitutional Law, Legal History



Jack M. Balkin

Yale University


Constitutional Law, Cyberlaw


In addition, Leiter has started to post lists of the most cited law faculty by subject area. Here are the fields he's tallied thus far:

In addition, Rick Hasen has posted the most cited legal scholars in Election Law over the same period at his Election Law Blog. (Leiter's list of Eleciton Law scholars is here.)

Leiter has announced he will post additional subjects in the coming days, and I will update this post as his rankings appear.

UPDATES: Here are additional rankings in particular specialty areas posted by Leiter:

UPDATES: Here's a post on how Sisk and Leiter address name misspellings and the omission of author names in multi-author articles.

Here's a list of the most cited Originalist scholars at the Originalism Law Blog.

Here, in addition, is an interesting post about the pros and cons of using the Westlaw JLR database as opposed to Google Scholar, or some other metric.

Here's a list of health law scholars, including professors from other fields, put together by Mark Hall and Glenn Cohen.

NEXT: Opening a File After A Hash Was Made and Matched to Known Image of Child Pornography is Not a "Search," Fifth Circuit Rules

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This list suggests the roster at Balkinization could constitute a formidable faculty.

    A Balkinization-Volokh Conspiracy joint venture could be one hell of a thing, perhaps even enough to challenge Prof. Sunstein.

  2. How should this be corrected for “same-school bias?”

    My guess, only that, is that law professors may cite their faculty colleagues more freely than others, and that may even extend to former teachers, classmates, or students, etc.

  3. Does the study make any distinction at all between a favorable citation and an unfavorable citation? For example, while Erwin Chemerinsky has published a few articles that I really like and find persuasive, like his defense of freedom of speech from the heckler’s veto, and his analysis of sovereign immunity, he has also written some very bad scholarship on Second Amendment rights, and some pretty disturbing stuff on federalism. So, if a court cites a Chemerinsky article on federalism or on Heller as an example of sloppy thinking on the subject, is that counted exactly the same as a favorable nod to a Chemerinsky on the subject of sovereign immunity?

    1. I wonder how well Scalia would qualify on the “most cited” metric – given all the articles (or parts of articles) devoted to criticizing him.

    2. My impression is that this counts only citations in law review articles, not court opinions.

  4. I am glad that Mark Lemley made the list. He and I first met on Cyberia-L, and then in person when we moved to Austin about the same time. First met EV in person (he was also on Cyberia-L) when he was a speaker at one of Lemley’s CyberLaw conferences there in Austin. Mark still sends me packages of his articles a couple times a year – he is an article writing machine.

    His work maybe more significant than his ranking here would indicate. There is probably no academic with anywhere near his influence and effect in the patent world. While still at UT in Austin his research was used by Congress to justify converting the US patent system from 17 year from issue term, to 20 years from original (priority) application. And in the decades since then, he developed the definitive database on the realities of patent prosecution, which he and his coauthors continue to mine to this day. Which is weird for a guy with essentially no real technical background before he started teaching law. We don’t always agree on interpretation of his data, but he still is really still the only source of objective data when it comes to patent policy in this country.

  5. this is very important think, as i think… we can’t lose it… Jasa SEO

Please to post comments