Here are the top specialized journals, according to the Washington and Lee law review rankings for 2013 (based on “combined score”):
1. Harvard Journal of Law & Technology
2. Harvard International Law Journal
3. Supreme Court Review
4. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review
5. Harvard Journal on Legislation
6. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy
7. Virginia Journal of International Law
8. The Harvard Environmental Law Review
9. Yale Journal on Regulation
10. University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law
So, Harvard kids, even if you didn’t make the
#1 #2 law review in the country, you might have a decent shot at working for a leading specialty law journal. Also, note how Chicago Law redeems itself somewhat; it publishes the Supreme Court Review (the #3 specialty journal and #40 journal overall).
UPDATE (5:55 p.m.): Yes, commenters, we realize that the Supreme Court Review is not student-edited. We said that the list above is of the top 10 “specialized” journals (selected by checking the “specialized” box on the W&L website). If you check the “specialized” box and the “student-edited” box, the Supreme Court Review drops off, everyone else moves up a notch, and Northwestern’s Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology takes the #10 spot.
What about the world beyond the Washington and Lee rankings? Here are the Google Scholar rankings (with each publication’s W&L rank noted parenthetically):
1. Columbia Law Review (3)
2. Harvard Law Review (2)
3. Stanford Law Review (1)
4. University of Pennsylvania Law Review (5)
5. Yale Law Journal (4)
6. Georgetown Law Journal (6)
7. Michigan Law Review (8)
8. UCLA Law Review (7)
9. Texas Law Review (11)
10. Virginia Law Review (10)
The order differs slightly — congrats, Columbia Law Review! — but the top 10 reviews on W&L and Google Scholar are almost identical. The Texas Law Review doesn’t make W&L’s top 10 (although it just misses, at #11), and the California Law Review (Boalt Hall) doesn’t make Google’s top 10 (it’s #14). For more about the Google Scholar rankings, including a discussion of their methodology, see Robert Anderson’s post over at Witnesseth.
It’s fitting that Google is getting into the law review ranking game, since law reviews are getting into the technology game. Here is what one tipster told us, praising the way that law journals have embraced the web (and praising the law journal for which I once worked):
Many of the top law reviews have amazing websites now where they post articles for everyone to read, and some have online articles or blogs. I have a crush on the Yale Law Journal’s website:
One of Yale Law Journal’s online articles went viral:
“One article, Bad News for Mail Robbers: The Obvious Constitutionality of Health Care Reform, is the most viewed article in the history of the Yale Law Journal Online (over 100,000 hits in the first month of posting).”
And, of course, law reviews are on Twitter. Here is a post by Steve Klepper, who thinks Twitter can save law reviews, and loves Penn Law Review’s Twitter:
This is, by the way, a great time to be talking about law review rankings (a topic that we haven’t covered in several years). Law review boards are turning over right now, and the February submission window for law review articles is wide open. Congratulations to the new editorial boards, and good luck to both law professors and law reviews during the hectic and exciting submission process.
 Some argue that law reviews aren’t cited that much in case law and that this reflects their irrelevance. See, e.g., The Lackluster Reviews That Lawyers Love to Hate, by Adam Liptak. But others view such critiques as unfair. See, e.g, In Defense of Law Reviews, by Will Baude; The Relevance and Readership of Student-Edited Law Reviews, by Orin Kerr.
Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking, 2006 – 2013 [Washington and Lee School of Law - Law Library]
Google Scholar Metrics – Law [Google Scholar]
Google Ranks Law Reviews [Witnesseth]
That’s Right: Yet Another Post on Law Review Rankings [Witnesseth]
The Lackluster Reviews That Lawyers Love to Hate [New York Times]
The Relevance and Readership of Student-Edited Law Reviews: Another Response to Liptak [Volokh Conspiracy]
In Defense of Law Reviews [Volokh Conspiracy]