Legal Scholarship

The Most Cited Law Faculty, 2016-2020 (Updated)

A few Volokh Conspirators are among the most cited legal scholars in their fields.


[Reposted with an updated list of subject matter.]

Publication of the 2021 Sisk, et al., study of law faculty scholarly impact, Brian Leiter has been compiling lists of the most cited law faculty by subject areas for the period 2016-2020, as well as an overall list of the most cited law faculty.

Leiter's tabulations are based upon the same data as the Sisk study, which looked at citation counts in articles contained in the Westlaw journals database (as of June of this year) for the 2016-2020 period. Search results were checked for over-counting and rounded.

Here are the lists of most cited faculty by subject area. Note that one reason to list citation counts by subject area is that there is a tremendous disparity in citation counts across fields, reflecting a variety of factors (including what law review editors like to publish). I will update this list as additional subject areas are posted.

In addition to the above posts on Brian Leiter's Law School Reports blog, the Legal Planet environmental law blog has posted a list of the most cited Environmental and Energy Law scholars. Note that this list includes some folks (including myself) who work in multiple areas, which may affect citation counts.

Update: The Originalism blog has posted a list of the most cited Originalism scholars, on which Randy Barnett, Will Baude, Ilya Somin, Keith Whittington, Stephen Sachs, and Josh Blackman are all listed.

NEXT: Are Biden Administration's Offshore Wind Plans Just a Fantasy?

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. they should create a category for most tangents in any given topic of discussion somehow leading to how complete unchecked 3rd world immigration into 1st world countries is the greatest thing since sliced bread and Ilya would top it by a skyscraper.

    1. Is there a list of academic citations in judicial decisions or in legislative deliberations, or in executive regulation or policy?

      If not, what does the list of citations in academic journals, mean, other than the view is popular?

      1. Jeremy Waldron, the leading author in Law and Philosophy, is a leading critic of the “compatibility of judicial review with the very principles of democracy.”

        1. Democracy is a system that is not compatible with liberty. If judicial review preserves liberty over and above the principles of democracy, then I have no problem with that.

          1. His argument is that the legislature is the best place to achieve the law. The Founders agreed, and gave all law making powers to the Congress. You can elect them out.

            If you want judicial review, amend the constitution. It should not be a hard amendment to enact. Is it OK to have a mass lie at the center of constitutional law? Is it OK to have rules that allow only nitpicking, loophole finding, instead of competence as the sole subject of the appellate court? We are limited to reviews of errors of law. That is totally ridiculous. The appellate court should have the very best investigators to review the facts of a mistaken decision in a low court.

            1. The list says, you can be cited 1000 times, thought of as right and useful. Yet, zero change results.

              I think money talks louder in the law than citations.

  2. I was thinking that, if blog posts counted as publications; Josh Blackman would probably be #1 in just about all areas of law.

    (Same sort of snideness as AmosArch did earlier, just on the other side of the ideological spectrum.)

    1. There are people on Twitter including lawyers who blog about almost every moment of their mindnumbingly boring selfabsorbed lives. Coincidentally falling more on the screaming leftwing end of the spectrum (if for no other reason than Twitter tends to banhammer other opinions). I guess there may be people who talk more about immigration than Ilya. But that number is almost certainly smaller than people posting more than Blackman.

  3. I am astounded Eric Posner is #2 nothing he writes seems particularly insightful or differentiating. Is he simply prolific at giving mainstream takes over a lot of areas so he’s become the default “people are saying XXX” citation, where XXX is a totally mainstream thought?

    I mean, who else could bring us:

    “We examine federal judicial cases involving non-religious civil-liberties challenges to COVID-19-related public health orders from the start of the pandemic to June 29, 2021. Consistent with the tradition of judicial deference toward the state during emergencies, we find a high level of success for governments. However, governments did lose in 13.7% of the cases, and in those losses, there is evidence of partisan or ideological influence. Republican-appointed judges were more likely to rule in favor of challengers when they brought claims based on gun rights and property rights, while Democratic-appointed judges were more likely to rule in favor of challengers when they brought claims based on abortion rights. We conclude by arguing that courts should exercise greater deference to public health orders issued during emergencies.”

    1. I found his 13% success rate to be useful. Thanks.

  4. “what law review editors like to publish”
    So, what your telling us is that law review editors have poor taste.

    Some of us already knew that.

  5. these lists are just stupid navel gazeling

  6. I learned that Eugene, Orin and especially William are but babes in this group.

  7. Amazing that Richard Epstein is high on the list even after completely torching his credibility by going, as he typically does, way out over his skis predicting with absolute confidence that like 50 people would die from covid.

    1. The man who has brought dishonor upon the surname Epstein.

  8. I note Laurence Trie failed to make any lists. Perhaps not the best source of advice when attempting to shit on the Constitution (happy Constitution Day, BTW). Perhaps he’s on the ultra-secret list of attorneys who will tell you what you want to hear along with powerhouses like Cohen, Giuliani, and Powell.

    1. The list does not include emeritus profs.

      1. Sure, but other than that . . . it was a great comment!

  9. “Conspirators Eugene Volokh, Randy Barnett and William Baude are 7, 10, and 18 respectively”

    Looks like 6, 10, and 18 actually.

    EV and WB are among the youngest on the list.

    1. Yes, 6 not 7. Corrected.

  10. Josh Blackman needs an 8 part series on Josh Blackman’s inadvertent deletion from the list, Josh Blackman’s contributions to law in general and how Josh Blackman can’t be quantified on a list of people who are not Josh Blackman. Maybe Josh Blackman will even get a new tie and a haircut for this discussion of Josh Blackman.

  11. ” The Originalism blog has posted a list of the most cited Originalism scholars ”

    Within the legal mainstream, that one is known as the Kardashian Compendium . . . (or is it Kompendium?).

  12. Congratulations to all concerned. I was also happy that Prof. Baude was spared being named in Justice Alito’s angry rant against critics of the shadow docket. Perhaps Brian Leiter should compile a list of who gets named most in SCOTUS Justices’ angry rants.

Please to post comments