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Jurimetrics Fall 2019

Volume 60 Issue 1  


Legal Education

Ranking the Academic Impact of 100 American Law Schools

ABSTRACT: U.S. News & World Report and rankings-minded scholars have constructed several measures of faculty impact at U.S. law schools, but each has been limited in a variety of ways. For instance, the U.S. News “peer assessment” rankings rely on the qualitative opinions of a small group of professors and administrators and largely mirror the overall rankings (correlations of 0.96 in 2016).


Legal Education

Measuring Law Faculty Scholarly Impact by Citations: Reliable and Valid for Collective Faculty Ranking

ABSTRACT: No single metric of faculty scholarly activity can fully capture every individual contribution. For that reason, evaluating a single professor’s scholarly work requires a nuanced, multifaceted, and individually focused assessment. However, for a contemporary sketch of the collective scholarly impact of a law school faculty, citation measurements in the legal literature are both reliable and valid.

Legal Education

What Should Law School Rankings Measure and How Should We Measure It: A Comment on Heald and Sichelman’s Rankings

ABSTRACT: There are obvious benefits to ranking academic departments based on objective measures of faculty research output. However, there are considerable difficulties associated with producing reliable and accurate rankings. In this short comment, we offer an evaluation of Heald and Sichelman's recent foray into the project of ranking law schools. Heald and Sichelman are to be commended for the transparency and rigor of their rankings effort. At the same time, it is important to note that their rankings involve a series of contestable discretionary choices and could give rise to potential counterproductive gaming by law schools seeking to improve their place in the rankings.

Legal Education

Measure for Measure: The Risks of Incorporating Citations Data Into U.S. News Rankings

ABSTRACT: Paul Heald and Ted Sichelman’s Ranking the Academic Impact of 100 American Law Schools provides a rigorous analysis of law school faculties’ citation and download statistics. Their recommendation to incorporate these statistics into U.S. News & World Report’s annual law school rankings, however, appears misguided. Heald and Sichelman do not fully take into account the concerning gaming behavior and problematic incentives related to faculty hiring that such incorporation would likely produce over time.



Stopping the Confusion: Why Widening the Preemption Gap Through the Parallel-Claims Exception Promotes Off-Label Uses of Medical Devices

ABSTRACT: This Comment discusses how the circuit split on medical device preemption impacts and curtails off-label usage of Class III medical devices. In some jurisdictions, this deepening circuit split, arising from the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the Medical Device Amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, provides effective immunity from tort liability brought by plaintiffs injured by a medical device. The confusing landscape caused by the split has particularly affected off-label use of Class III medical devices. Off-label uses, widely utilized throughout the medical community, should be promoted by the courts as they ease administrative burden and encourage medical ingenuity.

Letting Google into the Jury Room: A Proposed Study on the Effect of Abolishing the Juror Research Admonition

ABSTRACT: This Comment explores the juror research problem plaguing state and federal courts in the United States. The Digital Age has given society access to information at the tip of our fingers, causing humans to develop an inherent need for more information. This evolution in human nature directly conflicts with the court system today, which goes to great lengths to control the information received by the jury and to protect jurors from outside influence. Currently, all courts use one or more methods of deterring juror misconduct, including updated jury instructions, juror questions, juror monitoring, sequestration, cell phone bans, and juror punishment.