UC Irvine Law’s 7th place national ranking of scholarly reputation by Greg Sisk and colleagues using the Leiter methodology is very heartening for me as a member of the new school. Great to be in the same company as Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, NYU and Columbia. And even better to see we’d still rank 11th even if we removed our excellent and prolific dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, entirely from the study.
As Brian explains, some adjustments had to be made (in both his earlier scholarly impact study and the new Sisk study) to deal with the fact that Irvine is a new school and our dean is exceedingly prolific. Brian writes: “UC Irvine has expanded its faculty a good bit since the 2010 study, and is probably around half its full strength. Professor Sisk and colleagues explain in their essay how they chose to handle the mean impact ranking for Irvine this year, given Chemerinsky’s very high citation count due to his influential treatises and texts; their approach makes sense to me.”
Here’s the approach in the study:
Because it has not yet finished hiring its tenured faculty, because the number of tenured faculty remains well below that of other law schools that rank in the top 10 by Scholarly Impact Score, and because Dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s high number of citations makes him an outlier, an adjustment was made to the raw mean score for the University of California at Irvine. In 2010, Professor Leiter explained:
The new law faculty at the University of California at Irvine presents a special case, since they have only filled about a third of their planned faculty slots. Given Dean Chemerinsky’s very high citation count (he is now the most cited full-time law professor in the country, with Sunstein’s departure for government service), to simply add his cite count to the currently relatively small number of faculty would produce highly misleading results. At the same time, as a new law school, some indication of its scholarly impact performance seems especially relevant, so I have adopted the following device: I have assumed that the next hires will have the same scholarly impact as the third of the faculty already hired (not including Chemerinsky), and thus have estimated Irvine’s per capita impact score on that basis (so basically Chemerinsky’s citations plus (the total citations of all other faculty times 3) divided by the (current faculty size x 3) plus Chemerinsky).
Following that same approach, but adjusting the calculation to assume that California-Irvine has grown to approximately half of its eventual tenured strength, California-Irvine still ranks very high in Scholarly Impact Scores.25
FN 25: The scholarly strength of the California-Irvine faculty and the validity of the projection of continued strong hiring (amply evidenced since 2010) is confirmed by the fact that, even if Dean Chemerinsky’s citations were to be removed altogether, the faculty would achieve a Scholarly Impact Score that would rank the school at #11.