May 16, 2005
Corporate Law Scholars Ranking
Posted by Gordon Smith

Brian Leiter has compiled a ranking of law schools based on their corporate law scholars. The input data are from Bob Thompson's annual survey of the best corporate law articles for the Corporate Practice Commentator. Having participated in the survey sporadically and having appeared on that list of top articles once, I am not sure that this is a very useful way to think about corporate law scholars.

The survey tends to reward established names and articles in top journals. Every year Bob distributes a list of all of the eligible articles, which typically runs into the hundreds, and I have read only a small fraction of them. That's why I usually don't participate in the survey, though others are not so constrained. When I have participated in the survey, I notice that my choices are driven by papers I have seen presented at conferences or papers by people I know. Occasionally someone from a lower-ranked school breaks through, but it's difficult. As a result, I suspect that any ranking based on this survey is likely to be somewhat derivative of the law school rankings.

Thanks to Kaimi Wenger for the tip.

UPDATE: I didn't intend for this to sound like sour grapes because Wisconsin is not on the list. Actually, Brian's rankings largely track my intuitions about the best faculties for corporate law, and, unlike Brian, I am not surprised that Chicago did not appear in the Top 10. Also, I don't really object to this sort of ranking. My point was merely that the rankings tend to reinforce our intuitions precisely because the inputs are generated largely from our intuitions.

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