Posted Feb 19, 2009 09:27 pm CST
A new law school at the Irvine campus of the University of California doesn’t even have any students in attendance yet.
But it has tied with the University of Pennsylvania for the final spot in a top-10 list published today by Brian Leiter’s Law School Rankings, based on the faculty’s scholarly impact as measured by citations in academic publications over the past four years or so.
Yale Law School, the University of Chicago Law School and Harvard Law School ranked one, two and three, respectively.
According to an explanation provided by the law blog, the top-10 ranking didn’t even, perhaps, give full credit to the academic reputation of Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who is the nation’s most-cited full-time legal academic now that Cass Sunstein has joined the Obama administration.
Instead, because the Irvine law school doesn’t yet have a full slate of faculty, the rankings essentially double the citations of the roughly half-staff faculty group that has been hired, and adds Chemerinsky’s stats to those of a doubled, somewhat hypothetical faculty group. This special approach was taken in an effort to come up with a more accurate estimate of what the situation will be when the law school actually has made all of its faculty hires.