An empirical study of the judicial and law journal citation frequencies for a large and comprehensive sample of 550 articles that were published from 1996 through 1998 in fifteen selected law journals resulted in several findings. First, these articles averaged only 0.4 judicial citations and 14.5 law journal citations through May 30, 2003. Second, both courts and scholars cite articles that are published in the three most prestigious law journals at much higher rates than they cite articles that appear in either mid-level or lower-tier law journals. Third, courts virtually ignore altogether legal scholarshipthat appears in lower-tier law journals. Finally, firm normative conclusions are difficult to draw from these findings because it is unclear whether these differential citation frequencies are based only upon relative journal prestige, or whether some or all of this variation can be explained by differences in author prestige or article quality.
Santa Clara Law Review
citation frequencies, law journals, legal scholarship, judicial citations, law review citations, empirical study
Gregory Scott Crespi, Judicial and Law Review Citation Frequencies for Articles Published in Different Tiers of Law Journals: An Empirical Analysis, 44 Santa Clara L. Rev. 897 (2004)