Blogging Law Profs Can Disrupt the Rankings and Increase SSRN Downloads, Analysis Suggests
Law school rankings can change when professors are able to attract attention for their schools by blogging, according to University of Denver law professor J. Robert Brown Jr.
Brown practices what he preaches. He blogs at TheRacetotheBottom.Org and has posted a paper on faculty blogging at SSRN that is mentioned on another blog, the Faculty Lounge. Law faculty blogs “have the capacity to disrupt law school rankings,” Brown writes in a blog post.
Reputation is the single largest component in the rankings by U.S. News & World Report, based on ratings by academics, practitioners and judges, Brown says. Blogging can increase name recognition for schools and promote the reputation of faculty members, he writes, making it possible for schools to rise in the rankings.
One faculty blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, has been cited 45 times in court opinions, Brown says in his paper. The faculty blog cited most often in law reviews and other legal publications is the Volokh Conspiracy, with 742 citations.
In another blog post, Brown tells of a possible correlation between blogging and popular papers posted at SSRN. Brown looked at the top 140 law faculty members for most SSRN downloads and determined which ones had regular blogs.
Few faculty members at top 10 law schools who appeared on the download list had blogs. The situation changed for faculty at law schools just outside the top 10. The number of law professors on the download list who blog was three out of four at Georgetown, two out of three at the University of California at Los Angeles, four out of six at George Washington University, and two out of two at Washington University.