Friday, September 07, 2007

Does the Difference Make a Difference? A Survey

Today I ran across Brian Leiter's most recent impact ranking by schools which also includes the top ten "impact" writers at each school. Impact here means citations -- evidently of any kind, including the use of your work as an example of what not to do and your own self citations -- as measured by hits using data base tp-all in westlaw. Brian's own discussion of the limitations of this measure is excellent and funny.

This made me wonder whether the top ten under tp-all would match a top ten under allcases so I ran an experiement with my own school. "Allcases" is much less reliable than tp-all because it has your name as a party, an attorney, the writer of something that is cited, etc. And, you cannot really access Supreme Court citations.

So I checked and the top ten under tp-all is actually different from the top ten under allcases. In fact, there is only about a 50% overlap. I guess I should not be surprised but it did lead to a moneylaw question. My hunch, and it is only that, is that hiring committees, to the extent they are influenced by "impact" at all, prefer tp-all citations over judicial citations. I am not sure which way I cut on this myself so here is a survey:

If you could look at only one and the numbers were accurate, which would you prefer to look at in making a hiring decision
number of law review citations
number of judicial citations
Free polls from


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