Best law reviews: Stanford tops list

Stanford Law Review, Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review are the best law reviews in the nation, according to reports by Washington and Lee University School of Law and Google Scholar.

The Washington and Lee University law review rankings are updated annually, and rank journals based on citations.

Stanford Law Review was ranked first in the Law Journal Ranking Project, followed by Harvard law Review and Columbia Law Review. Filling out the top five were Yale Law Journal and University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

“The primary purpose of our site is to be a tool for legal scholars to find suitable publications to which they may submit their work,” said Stephanie Miller, Electronic Services Librarian at Washington and Lee University. “Scholars use our site both as a directory to law journals and as a means to evaluate journals based on citation data.”

Miller said the Law Journal Ranking Project currently offers citation data from a 10-year span – from 2003 to 2013. She added that new citation data from each journal in the database is collected each year.

“We use Westlaw to search for citations to each journal in cases and in other journals,” Miller said. “The rankings are calculated purely on hard data. There is no subjectivity involved in the methodology.”

The Law Journal Ranking Project offers a combined- score ranking, which is a composite of each journal’s impact-factor and total cites count. The impact factor shows the average number of annual citations to articles in each journal.

Additionally, the rankings offer a cites-per-cost ranking, which is the average of yearly number of cites to the journal divided by the annual cost in dollars to academic libraries.

Miller said the rankings provide assistance to legal scholars who are seeking publications to submit their work.

“The site is important because it is a working tool that scholars may use on a daily basis,” she said. “With it, a scholar can evaluate journals in their subject area, in their country, with their preference of editing or format and find a journal that will give their work the highest visibility and likelihood of citation.”

In addition to the Law Journal Ranking Project, Google Scholars and US News & World Report also create a list of law journal rankings.

Yale Law Journal ranked first in the US News & World Report rankings, and Columbia Law Review ranked first in the Google Scholar rankings. Stanford Law Review was ranked second in US News & World Report’s rankings, and third in the Google Scholar rankings. Harvard, also ranked second in US News & World Report’s rankings, was ranked second in the Google Scholars rankings. 

W&L's Top Law Reviews
1  Stanford Law Review 100
2  Harvard Law Review 97.9
3  Columbia Law Review 95.7
4  The Yale Law Journal 91.8
5  University of Pennsylvania Law Review 83.9
6  The Georgetown Law Journal 82.9
7  UCLA Law Review 81.9
8  Michigan Law Review 76.3
9  California Law Review 75.1
10  Virginia Law Review 73.8
11  Minnesota Law Review 72.3
11  Texas Law Review 72.3
13  New York University Law Review 68.3
14  Fordham Law Review 68.2
15  Cornell Law Review 65.8
16  Notre Dame Law Review 65.4
17  Northwestern University Law Review 62.9
18  Iowa Law Review 60.6
19  Duke Law Journal 59.3
20  Vanderbilt Law Review 59.2
21  William and Mary Law Review 56.9
22  Boston University Law Review 52.5
23  The University of Chicago Law Review 52
24  University of Illinois Law Review 50.8
25  Boston College Law Review 50.2
26  Cardozo Law Review 49.6
27  North Carolina Law Review 49.3
28  U.C. Davis Law Review 48.6
29  Indiana Law Journal 46.9
30  Southern California Law Review 45
31  The George Washington Law Review 44.5
32  Emory Law Journal 42.8
33  Hastings Law Journal 42.6
34  Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 41.2
35  Florida Law Review 40.7
36  Connecticut Law Review 40.4
37  Wisconsin Law Review 39.8
38  Washington University Law Review 38.4
39  Harvard International Law Journal 38
40  Supreme Court Review 37.8
41  Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 37
42  Wake Forest Law Review 36.3
43  American University Law Review 36.2
44  Washington Law Review 35.3
45  Harvard Journal on Legislation 34.4
46  Arizona Law Review 33.8
47  Lewis & Clark Law Review 33.2
48  Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 33.1
48  Ohio State Law Journal 33.1
50  Virginia Journal of International Law 32.3
50  Washington and Lee Law Review 32.3