All law reviews are not created equal. We all know this.
But the prestige of your law review isn’t directly correlated to the prestige of your law school. One obvious case of that is the fact that the Harvard Law Review is widely considered to be the most prestigious law review, even though Yale has a better law school (according to U.S. News… and people who don’t like crowds).
Unfortunately, U.S. News does not rank law reviews — at least not yet. One day, U.S. News will rank everything from high school debate programs to cremation operations; for now, we are left with only our general assumptions about who has the best law review.
But not anymore. The good people at Concurring Opinions have found a website that puts together a fairly competent rating of the nation’s best law reviews. Finally, students who edit the best law reviews, and professors who publish in them, can point to a list when they are trying to use their prestige to pull digits at a bar.
And this list passes the smell test, which is to say it pretty much tells us what we already think we know…
Lawrence Cunningham at Concurring Opinions explains how the website Eigenfactor can be used to come up with a ranking of law reviews:
The latest way to measure scholarly influence is the eigenfactor, a term to describe various algorithms used to quantify aspects of knowledge. The linked web site enables people to find top lists using assorted measures, including the top law reviews using article influence proxied by citation histories.
I didn’t really understand all that, but who cares. Prestige whoring awaits! Here are the top ten law reviews:
1. Harvard Law Review
2. Yale Law Journal
3. Stanford Law Review
4. Columbia Law Review
5. NYU Law Review
6. Virginia Law Review
7. Texas Law Review
8. Michigan Law Review
9. California Law Review
10. Penn Law Review
Go Texas! It’s the only law school outside of the top 14 that cracked the top ten when it comes to law reviews. Also, UCLA Law Review ranked #12; law reviews at Cornell and Georgetown fell out of the top 14 on this list.
You can see the top 25 law journals here.
The results are from the data that Eigenfactor was using in 2008. It’s the most recent sample available. But it’s possible that because of excellent work over the past two years, your law review isn’t a crappy as it would appear based on this list.
All kidding aside, no matter where you go, being on the law review is a great credential to have. Especially in this market. Especially in a world where nobody really gives a damn if you were on your moot court.
Is this list wrong in any substantial way? I don’t really read law reviews, mainly because being bored to death sounds like a horrible way to go. But is there a law review that didn’t make the top 25 that should have? I’m looking at you, Boston College Law Review, because right now BU’s law review pnws you.
Let us know what you think in the comments. But if you are going to bitch about where your law review is ranked, please suggest an alternative methodology for ranking law reviews, different from the one employed by Eigenfactor; I’m sure U.S. News is listening.
The Top Law Reviews (Eigenfactor) [Concurring Opinions]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of law reviews