August 08, 2004

Ranking law journals by quality of student notes

There have been many attempts to rank law reviews (some listed here), most commonly by the number of citations to the articles they publish (a recent example is here).

While law professors might want to know where the best articles get published, it seems to me that law students might instead want to know which law reviews (and other student-edited law journals) publish the best student notes.

Although student work in law reviews isn't going to be cited anywhere near as often as articles are, student notes and comments occasionally do get a cite or two. I'm curious to know which law reviews and journals consistently publish the most-cited student notes, because this might tell us something about what factors lead to good student scholarship in the first place. Especially if the routines at these journals differ significantly from one to another, we might be able to conclude that the environments provided by certain journals at certain schools are more supportive of good student research. Other journals might be able to grab a good idea or two for the benefit of their student editors.

For instance, it might be that having too many associate editors relative to the number of issues published, or the number of articles published, leads to poorer-quality student notes because the students have too little time to research their note. Or, if a law journal publishes more frequently, does this provide a better experience for students relative to their own research and writing? Until we know which journals put out the best notes, we can't really answer these questions.

Citation rankings for student notes might not be reliable because of the low total number of citations. But that's just a worry, not a firm conviction, and there are other ways of doing the rankings, like reputation surveys, that might also be helpful.

And after we rank law journals based on the quality of student notes, we can rank law schools based on the quality of student blogs. I'm sure Michigan will lock that one up. Yeah.

Posted by Carey at August 8, 2004 11:28 PM

You mean, after we rank law journals on the number of citations to student notes. Which is not synonymous with quality of journal.

Posted by: Heidi at August 9, 2004 08:23 AM

What do you think about elections?

Posted by: James Lekheto at October 2, 2004 04:47 AM - fine thing :)

Posted by: Maminov Onopko at October 3, 2004 04:04 PM