April 16, 2010
Why doesn't US News rank business law as a specialty?
Posted by Erik Gerding

The specialty rankings are based solely on polling legal educators.  As Brian Leiter notes, reputation scores are not "wholly meaningless" (that's a ringing endorsement from him).  There are some legitimate questions about what would constitute "business law."  Is it more than corporate and securities?  Does it include commercial law?  Banking?  Employment law?  Trusts and estates?  It seems this defintional issue could still be addressed and US News could provide information on an area many prospective law students care about. 

The upside of not having this information though, is that it may encourage students to seek out better sources - like Leiter's own rankings.  Leiter's recent solution to the category question when ranking scholarly impact is to look at "Commercial Law/Bankruptcy" and "Corporate/Securities" as separate categories.  In a similar 2007 study of scholarly impact, he had categories for "Business Law" (lumping in Corporate, Securities, Commercial, Bankruptcy and Antitrust), "Labor and Employment" and "Wills, Trusts, and Estates."

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