Dave Hoffman aptly describes the contours of a lot of the blog debate over Brian Leiter’s citation rankings of law professors by specialty:
Objection: “But you didn’t measure X…”
Leiter: “True. Let a hundred flowers bloom, and do your own data collection!”
I’ve got to say, I’m not sure that I really understand any of the objections to Leiter’s provision of this service. I suspect my initial reaction to the rankings was not unlike many law profs — I perused the rankings to look for scholars in my primary field: antitrust.
Apparently, antitrust scholarship is not as heavily cited as other areas in the business law classification with which antitrust is grouped (corporations, securities, commercial law, and bankruptcy). Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly given the breadth of the category, there are not many antitrust types that make the list. But there are a few. A quick look at the rankings in business law and law and economics yields the following folks that I recognize as antitrust scholars (even if it is not their primary field):
- Richard Epstein (University of Chicago), 3390 citations
- Mark Lemley (Stanford University): 2110 citations, age 41.
- William Landes (University of Chicago): 1550 citations, age 68
- Herbert Hovenkamp (University of Iowa), 1450 citations
- Louis Kaplow (Harvard University): 1370 citations, age 51.
- George Priest (Yale University): 870 citations, age 60.
I’m probably missing a few.
Categorizing these folks is obviously a very difficult task. Each of these six has published extensively in a number of other areas (IP, tax, law and economics, etc.) as well as made significant contributions to the antitrust literature. Still, my own sense (based mostly on casual empiricism) is that Professor Hovenkamp should be categorized as an antitrust person as I suspect an overwhelming majority of his citations are in antitrust. This change would make Hovenkamp #3 in Business Law. George Priest (#10 on the L&E list) is another candidate for an “antitrust” representative in the Business Law category. But this is a much closer call than Hovenkamp given Priest’s wide ranging publications across L&E generally and its pretty difficult to quarrel with the L&E category classification.
Besides — if I did have a serious quarrel — I guess I could just make my own antitrust ranking! I don’t. But I’ve decided that I’ll work on an antitrust-specific ranking since I’m curious as to what the top 10-20 in antitrust would look like. I’ve assigned an RA to work on tracking down some citation data and will post them along when we’ve got results. Feel free to email me (or comment) if you have thoughts on what a useful set of antitrust scholarship rankings would look like.