Is There a Correlation Between Law Professor Publication Counts, Law Review Citation Counts, and Teaching Evaluations? An Empirical Study

Authors

  • Benjamin Barton

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville
      *University of Tennessee College of Law, 1505 W. Cumberland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37996; email: bbarton@utk.edu.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • The author specially thanks Indya Kincannon, Glenn Reynolds, Eugene Volokh, James Lindgren, Brian Leiter, James Maule, Richard E. Redding, Brannon Denning, Tom Galligan, Joan Heminway, Mae Quinn, Greg Stein, Jennifer Hendricks, Geroge Kuney, Jeff Hirsch, Chris Sagers, the participants of faculty forums at the Villanova University School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, the University of Tennessee College of Law, the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Panel on Empirical Research, the University of Tennessee College of Law for generous research support, and the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz. The author thanks the faculty and administration (and particularly the deans and associate deans) of all the participating schools: the University of Colorado School of Law, the University of Connecticut School of Law, the Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, the University of Iowa College of Law, the Lewis & Clark Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of North Dakota Law School, the Northwestern University School of Law, the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University, the Penn State Dickinson School of Law, the Southwestern Law School, St. John's University School of Law, the University of Tennessee College of Law, the Texas Tech University School of Law, the University of Toledo Law School, the UCLA School of Law, the Villanova University School of Law, and the Wayne State University Law School.

*University of Tennessee College of Law, 1505 W. Cumberland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37996; email: bbarton@utk.edu.

Abstract

This empirical study attempts to answer an age-old debate in legal academia: whether scholarly productivity helps or hurts teaching. The study is of an unprecedented size and scope. It covers every tenured or tenure-track faculty member at 19 U.S. law schools, a total of 623 professors. The study gathers four years of teaching evaluation data (calendar years 2000–2003) and tests for associations between the teaching data and five different measures of research productivity/scholarly influence. The results are counterintuitive: there is either no correlation or a slight positive correlation between teaching effectiveness and any of the five measures of research productivity. Given the breadth of the study, this finding is quite robust. These findings should help inform debates about teaching and scholarship among law school and other faculties and likely require some soul-searching about the interaction between the two most important functions of U.S. law schools.

Ancillary