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Faculty Scholarship Support: Law Journal Rankings

This guide is intended to help law faculty navigate the process of submitting papers to law journals.

Law Journal Rankings

Google Scholar
Google Scholar Metrics Top Publications
 -- This list is updated annually and includes the 20 law journals with the highest h-index values based on citation data in Google Scholar. While Google Scholar data is generally more comprehensive than that of proprietary databases, its inclusion of working papers and other gray literature often results in higher citation counts than other platforms. More information about the metrics and coverage is available on the Google Scholar website.

HeinOnline Law Journals – Most Cited Authors

This analysis is run over the more than 1,800 legal periodicals available in the Law Journal Library. The figures are calculated based on Bluebook citation analysis across all the title available in HeinOnline and are updated on a monthly basis. This information can also be found at any time inside the Law Journal Library at the browsing level.

HeinOnline's Law Journals - Most Cited (login required) -- This list of the 100 most cited law journals in HeinOnline is updated monthly and relies on a Bluebook citation analysis of all titles available through the platform. As with Washington & Lee's ranking, this list may not accurately represent the impact of law journals that are heavily cited by scholars in other disciplines due to its reliance on HeinOnline citation data. 

Journal Citation Reports

Journal Citation Reports presents academic journal analytics that evaluate, rank, and compare journals using citation data drawn from core journals in the sciences, technology, and social sciences. Facilitates the identification of highly ranked journals for publication.

Scopus CiteScore

CiteScore is the number of citations received by a journal in one year to documents published in the three previous years, divided by the number of documents indexed in Scopus published in those same three years.

Scimago Journal & Country Rank 

The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator is a measure of the scientific influence of scholarly journals that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where the citations come from.

University of Illinois Law Review Online Rankings

University of Illinois Law Review Online maintains a list of all online law reviews ranked by Westlaw citations-per-article. The ranking also includes journal impact factors and U.S. News rankings.

Washington & Lee's Law Journal Rankings

This ranking is based on Westlaw citation data for the previous eight years and is updated annually by the Law Library at the Washington & Lee Law School. The list of more than 1,500 journals allows users to sort by the total number of journal or case citations, impact factor, or a combined score. It generally excludes bar journals, magazines, and newsletters, as well as law journals that primarily publish in languages other than English. The impact of law journals that are heavily cited by scholars in other disciplines may not be accurately represented by this list, given its reliance on Westlaw citation data. Visit the About and Methodology pages for more information. 

Leiter-Sisk Reports

Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2021: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third. The Sisk group's 2021 five year study update of the scholarly impact ranking the top third of ABA-accredited law schools.

Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2018: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third. The Sisk group's 2018 five year study update of the scholarly impact ranking the top third of ABA-accredited law schools.

Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third. The Sisk group's 2015 five year study update of the scholarly impact ranking the "top third of ABA-accredited law schools.

Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2012: Applying Leiter Scores to Rank the Top Third. The Sisk group's 2012 five year study update of the scholarly impact ranking the top third of ABA-accredited law schools.

Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties: Extending the Leiter Rankings to the Top 70 (2012).

10 Most-Cited Legal History Faculty (in law schools) in the U.S., 2016-2020.

20 Most-Cited Corporate & Securities Law Faculty in the U.S., 2016-2020.

20 Most-Cited Criminal Law & Procedure Faculty in the U.S., 2016-2020.

10 Most-Cited Property (including Wills & Estates) Faculty in the U.S., 2016-2020.

15 Most-Cited Law & Social Science (excluding economics) Faculty in the U.S., 2016-2020.

Top 25 Law Faculties In Scholarly Impact, 2005-2009.

Top Ten Law Faculties in Scholarly Impact, 2005-2008.

Top 30 Law Faculties Based on Scholarly Impact, 2007.

Faculty Quality Based on Scholarly Impact, 2005.


Here is a list of core—not comprehensive—recommendations and best practices related to the responsible promotion and evaluation of legal scholarship.(From Karen L. Wallace, Rebecca Lutkenhaus & David B. Hanson, Assessing Heinonline as a Source of Scholarly Impact Metrics, (2021), (last visited Feb 22, 2023)):

1. Seize opportunities to discuss your scholarship in the developmental phase. Attending paper workshops or faculty exchanges or presenting a conference poster session can improve the quality of your final product (the most critical goal) and also increase awareness of your work.

2. Be cognizant of your own potential bias in preferring a source based on who wrote it or the prestige of the journal in which it was published. Instead, cite the scholarship that makes the best substantive contribution to the topic at hand. Such scholarship can be identified through well-crafted searches of electronic databases and catalogs. If you want to expand your search skills, ask your institutional librarians whether they can provide training.

3. Cite yourself when appropriate. Avoid superfluous citations to your own work, but do not hesitate to cite relevant, helpful scholarship using the same selection standards as for other works.

4. Make your scholarship as discoverable and easy to retrieve in full text as possible, preferably in a searchable PDF format accompanied by metadata. Articles freely accessible on the internet have a 53 percent citation advantage by subsequent law review articles.

5. Ensure you know your rights as an author and retain copyright of your work.

6. When posting drafts in online repositories, encourage others to cite the final published version of the article by adding a note on the first page of the draft. For instance, if posted without a placement citation, include something like Please do not cite to this preprint without the express permission of the author.

7. Replace drafts posted in a repository with the final version and edit the repository page to include complete citation information for the published article.

8. Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) provide persistent, unique identifiers for your scholarship, thus facilitating discovery and retrieval. Although some of your work may already have a publisher assigned DOI, this is unlikely because law journals typically do not assign DOIs as part of their publication process. When you have an article accepted for publication, inquire whether the publishing journal will assign a DOI as part of the publication process. If authors consistently ask about DOIs, it will raise awareness and increase the likelihood that journals will integrate the assignment of DOIs into their workflow.

9. When you are citing a work, determine whether it has a DOI. If it does, incorporate the DOI into your citation, if supported by the citation rules you are following.

10. Regardless of the number of authors, name each individually in your citations rather than truncating credit by using et al.

11. Create an ORCID iD to take advantage of its HeinOnline integration and the benefits of a unique, persistent author identifier: preventing authorship confusion and reducing the possibility of search algorithms missing citations to your work due to typographical errors.

12. Improve your scholarly visibility by creating and curating your ORCID record and your HeinOnline, Google Scholar, and SSRN scholar profiles. Use the same email address across all platforms. 

13. Consider how factors such as article length, title length, and the use of colons in titles might affect citation to your articles. Include an abstract and table of contents, as these elements correlate with higher citation. Carefully consider the abstract wording to ensure it both represents key concepts and incorporates the terms other researchers use.

14. Promote your work effectively but not coercively. In addition to sharing work through preprints or open access repositories, communicate your publication news with colleagues through discussion lists, social media, conference presentations, and other suitable venues. Selective, personal emails to other scholars who publish in the same area can also be effective, but avoid spam.


What is the Impact Factor?

According to Clarivate Analytics, which publishes the Journal Citation Reports, the IF "is a measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period," calculated by dividing the number of citations by the number of articles published over a given period.

What is the h-index?

At the journal level, an h-index of h signifies that the journal has published h articles that have been cited at least h times. For example, a journal with an h-index of 45 has published 45 articles that have been cited at least 45 times.