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Harvard Law Professors Top Citation Rankings

Langdell Hall houses the library of Harvard Law School.
Langdell Hall houses the library of Harvard Law School. By Megan M. Ross
By Aidan F. Ryan, Crimson Staff Writer

Twelve of the top 100 most-cited law professors of all time teach at Harvard Law School, according to the Social Science Research Network—and professors Lucian A. Bebchuk and Steven Shavell took the first two spots.

An electronic service that aims to make research papers and scholarly articles easily accessible, the SSRN contains over 650,000 documents by more than 360,000 authors. The service calculates the number of citations each author receives in other papers in the SSRN’s e-library. These citations only count for public, full-text papers.

The rankings are updated every year, and Bebchuk retained his spot at number one.

“The rankings reflect the significant impact that the Harvard Law School faculty has on policy research and the legal academy,” Bebchuk wrote in an email.

Law Professor Cass R. Sunstein ’75, who ranks in fourth place with 1,484 citations, said he thinks there is a significant benefit to publishing work on SSRN.

“I think it’s a good thing if you have a paper that’s published and that could benefit from the comments and criticisms of others,” Sunstein said. “You can send it to the Social Science Research Network and you’ll often get some very helpful reactions.”

The list also includes Law professors Louis Kaplow, Reinier H. Kraakman ’71, Mark J. Roe, Jesse M. Fried ’86, Alma Cohen, Allen Ferrell, John Coates IV, Oren Bar-Gill, and J. Mark Ramseyer.

Law School Dean John F. Manning ’82 wrote in a statement he was impressed with the rankings.

“This extraordinarily strong showing attests to the Harvard Law School faculty’s deep commitment to research and the scholarly enterprise,” Manning wrote.

Sunstein previously placed high in a 2016 study by professors at the University of St. Thomas Law School examining the frequency of law review article citations nationwide. That study highlighted gender disparities in citations. Of the 12 Law School professors who ranked in the SSRN top 100, only one—Alma Cohen—is a woman.

—Staff writer Aidan F. Ryan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @AidanRyanNH.

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