Only 2 women make list of most cited legal scholars
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A list of the 50 most cited U.S. legal scholars of all time contains many well-known names but only two women.
The women are Catharine MacKinnon, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, ranked No. 40, and the late Deborah Rhode, a professor at Stanford Law School, ranked No. 45.
Reuters has coverage.
Shapiro attributed the low number of women on the top 50 list to “the historical scarcity of women in legal academia and the legal profession; prejudice against those women who did participate in law; and sociological factors, such as the greater demands on women to juggle work and family obligations.”
Shapiro also compiled a separate list of most cited younger scholars. Six of the top 16 are women. In the top 10 on that list are Rachel Barkow, a professor at the New York University School of Law, and Oona Hathaway, a professor at Yale Law School.
Shapiro thinks the numbers will increase as more women graduate from law school.
“The most eye-opening statistic is that, in 2020, every one of the editors-in-chief of the flagship law reviews at the 16 law schools highest-ranked by U.S. News and World Report was female,” he wrote.
The top five on Shapiro’s list of the 50 most cited legal scholars of all time are:
Retired U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago, with 48,852 citations
Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School, with 35,584 citations
The late Ronald Dworkin, a professor at the New York University School of Law, with 20,778 citations
Laurence H. Tribe, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, with 20,745 citations
Richard A. Epstein, a professor at the New York University School of Law, with 16,782 citations
Most of the top 50 cited legal scholars taught at 13 law schools. They are:
• University of Chicago, 15
• Harvard University, 15
• Yale University, 13
• Columbia University, 7
• Stanford University, 7
• University of Minnesota, 5
• University of California at Berkeley, 4
• Georgetown University, 3
• University of Illinois, 3
• Northwestern University, 3
• University of Pennsylvania, 3
• University of Texas, 3
• University of Virginia, 3
Most top 50 cited legal scholars attended these law schools:
• Harvard University, 17
• Yale University, 16
• University of Chicago, 6
• University of California at Berkeley, 2
Shapiro’s list, built from a HeinOnline database, included citations to law review articles and books.
Shapiro noted that citations counting favors scholars who have had long careers. There is also a bias toward people active in the last few decades as law review literature increased.