From the abstract for J.B. Ruhl, Michael P. Vandenbergh & Sarah Dunaway, Total Scholarly Impact: Law Professor Citations in Non-Law Journals (Sept. 10, 2019):

This Article provides the first ranking of legal scholars and law faculties based on citations in non-law journals. Applying the methods, as much as possible, of the widely used Leiter-Sisk “Scholarly Impact Score,” which includes only citations in law publications, we calculate a “Interdisciplinary Scholarly Impact Score” from the non-law citations over a five-year period (2012-2018) to the work of tenured law faculty published in that period in non-law journals. We also provide the weighted scores for law faculty at the top 25 law schools as ranked by the US News rankings, a school-by-school ranking, and lists of the top five faculty by non-law citations at each school and of the top fifty scholars overall.

The work of legal scholars outside of law journals is not trivial. Over 600 faculty members from the 25 schools in our cohort published almost 3,000 articles in non-law journals from 2012-2018, and those articles received close to 21,000 citations in non-law journals. The faculties that rank in the top ten based on weighted scores for Interdisciplinary Scholarly Impact using the Leiter-Sisk weighting method (2x the mean + the median) for all faculty with at least one publication in the study period are: Minnesota, Stanford, Yale, Duke, Cal-Irvine, Georgetown, Boston University, USC, Vanderbilt, and George Washington. The rankings, although subject to limitations similar to those faced by the law journal citation studies, demonstrate that it is possible with reasonable effort to include citations in both law and non-law journals in rankings of legal scholars and law school faculties.

Legal scholars are cited in non-law journals for the work they publish in legal journals and, in many cases, for work they publish in non-law journals. Counting only their citations in law journals thus underestimates both the impact of their legal scholarship and their interdisciplinary impact. Non-law journals are widely read by law and policy scholars, scientists who influence legal scholarship, and policymakers, and publications and citations of legal scholars in non-law journals can be an indication of work that has transcended the conceptual frameworks, assumptions, or methods of legal research. Publications and citations in non-law journals thus provide an additional indication of the influence of legal scholars. Citations in non-law journals also provide an indication of the influence of legal scholars on the overall scholarly enterprise outside of law, and accounting for non-law citations in legal rankings can also encourage interdisciplinary scholarship. Scholars from non-law fields have made important contributions to legal scholarship, but the reverse should also be the case. Acceptance by other fields of legal scholars’ proposed legal reforms can play an important role in determining their success, which is made more likely when legal scholars are included in the work of other disciplines.

For these reasons, we suggest in the Article that future evaluations of legal scholars’ work include both the Law Scholarly Impact Score and the new Interdisciplinary Scholarly Impact Score, or combine the two into a Total Scholarly Impact Score. Although there is some mismatch in the citation engine capacities and the time frames for our non-law journal citation study and the most recent Sisk et al. law journal citation study, a combination of the two can provide a rough approximation of the Total Scholarly Impact Score. The top ten law faculties based on this combined measure are: Yale, Harvard, Chicago, NYU, Stanford, Columbia, Duke, Cal-Berkeley, Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt.

The databases used in the law and non-law studies and their search capacities differ, making it difficult to develop a citation study method that captures all of a faculty members’ law and non-law publications and all citations to them in defined time frames. We are working to improve the non-law citation study database and search capacity.

Following an introduction to the project, in Part I we discuss why accounting for legal scholars’ non-law publications and citations is important when assessing scholarly impact. Part II describes our methodology. Part III presents our results, and Part IV discusses the results.

H/T to Bob Ambrogi for featuring results from the 2019 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey. The survey results answered the question: What technology tools rank most important to lawyers in driving efficiency? In the section on technology tools and cloud adoption, the survey asked lawyers about the technology tools that have the greatest impact on their ability to work efficiently and manage their work effectively. Out of 18 categories of tools, the two lowest ranked were AI and blockchain. Knowledge management ranked seventh. Details on LawSites.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published the ARL Annual Salary Survey 2018–2019. From the announcement:

“This report analyzes salary data for all professional staff working in the 124 ARL member libraries during FY2018–2019. Data for 10,718 professional staff members were reported this year for the 116 ARL university libraries, including their law and medical libraries (856 staff members reported by 72 medical libraries and 712 staff members reported by 74 law libraries). For the eight nonuniversity ARL members, data were reported for 3,318 professional staff members.”

The 2018–2019 data show that salaries for professionals in Canadian and US ARL university libraries salaries did not keep pace with inflation; whereas, salaries for professionals in US federal and public ARL libraries surpassed inflation. The median salary for professionals in US ARL university libraries in 2018–2019 was $74,482, an increase of 1.5% over the 2017–2018 median salary of $73,357. The US CPI rose 2.9% during the same period. The Canadian CPI rose 3%, and median salaries in Canadian university libraries increased from $99,912 (Canadian dollars) to $100,699 (Canadian dollars), a rise of 0.8%. The median salary for US federal and public ARL libraries increased 5.7% from $90,067 in 2017–2018 to $95,166 in 2018–2019.

H/T InfoDocket.

To get AI systems off the ground, training data must be voluminous and accurately labeled and annotated. With AI becoming a growing enterprise priority, data science teams are under tremendous pressure to deliver projects but frequently are challenged to produce training data at the required scale and quality. Nearly eight out of 10 organizations engaged in AI and machine learning said that projects have stalled, according to a Dimensional Research’s  Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Projects Obstructed by Data Issues. The majority (96%) of these organizations said they have run into problems with data quality, data labeling necessary to train AI, and building model confidence.

If 2017 was a good year for law firms, 2018 was better. On the heels of a year considered to be the strongest for the Am Law 100 since the Great Recession, the nation’s top law firms took their performance a step further. On aggregate, revenue grew at a muscular 8 percent clip over the last year, hitting a record $98.7 billion. That’s well past the 5.5 percent growth rate from 2017, the previous high-water mark in the post-recession new normal. See this review article and here’s the link to the 2019 Am Law 100 (Available exclusively through Legal Compass).

From the introduction to the 2019 World Press Index:

The RSF Index, which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories every year shows that an intense climate of fear has been triggered — one that is prejudicial to a safe reporting environment. The hostility towards journalists expressed by political leaders in many countries has incited increasingly serious and frequent acts of violence that have fuelled an unprecedented level of fear and danger for journalists.

Norway is ranked first in the 2019 Index for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th), where two reporters who cover organized crime have had to live under permanent police protection. An increase in cyber-harassment caused Sweden (third) to lose one place. In Africa, the rankings of Ethiopia (up 40 at 110th) and Gambia (up 30 at 92nd) have significantly improved from last year’s Index.

H/T Gary Price’s InfoDocket.

From the introduction:

Two years ago, Republicans and Democrats had similar views of the fairness of the tax system. Today, 64% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say the present tax system is very or moderately fair; just half as many Democrats and Democratic leaners (32%) view the tax system as fair. The share of Republicans who say the tax system is fair has increased 21 percentage points since 2017. Over this period, the share of Democrats viewing the tax system as fair has declined nine points.

Overall views of tax law little changed; fewer Republicans ‘strongly approve’ The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted March 20-25 among 1,503 adults, finds that more than a year after the new tax law was enacted, public approval remains relatively unchanged (36% approve of the tax law, while 49% disapprove). However, fewer Republicans strongly approve of the law than did so in January 2018.

US News & World Report has announced that it is creating a new ranking, separate from the overall Best Law Schools, that measures faculty productivity and impact. The intent is to analyze each law school’s scholarly impact based on a number of accepted indicators that measure its faculty’s productivity and impact using citations, publications and other bibliometric measures. U.S. News is collaborating with William S. Hein & Co. Inc. to complete this analysis.

For reactions to this change by law professors, see the links in this post.

In its sixth presidential ranking since 1982, 157 scholars surveyed by the Siena College Research Institute ranked Trump the third worst president of all time after Andrew Johnson (who was impeached) and James Buchanan (whose presidency was followed by the Civil War).

Respondents ranked each of 44 presidents on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) on each of twenty presidential attributes, abilities and accomplishments. Overall rankings were computed by assigning equal weight to each of those twenty categories. Trump ranked last for integrity, intelligence and overall ability. Details here.

Excerpted from the press release:

The Association of Research Libraries has published the ARL Annual Salary Survey 2017–2018 (paywalled), which analyzes salary data for professional staff working in the 123 ARL member libraries during FY 2017–2018. The 2017–2018 data show that Canadian ARL librarians’ salaries kept pace with inflation, but US ARL librarians’ salaries did not. The median salary for professionals in US ARL university libraries in 2017–2018 was $73,357, an increase of 1.1% over the 2016–2017 median salary of $72,560. The US CPI rose 1.7% during the same period. The Canadian CPI rose 1.2%, and median salaries in Canadian university libraries increased from $97,380 (Canadian dollars) to $99,912 (Canadian dollars), a rise of 2.6%.

H/T InfoDocket.

In the history of law library-vendor relations, Thomson Reuters traditionally has been viewed as “the evil vendor” for its long history of nasty B2B relations with law libraries due to the company’s past aggressive duopolistic business practices. No longer in my opinion. One clear impression I got from reading Feit Consulting’s 2019 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey Summary for Survey Respondents is that LexisNexis is the new evil vendor.

It takes a lot to replace Thomson Reuters for this “honor.”  Despite TR trying to gouge law libraries by attempting to charge as much as a 20% premium for Westlaw Edge and pricing Practical Law too high according to survey respondents, dissatisfaction with the functionality of LexisNexis’ search platform, pricing trends, and new tying tactics is so widespread and passionate among survey respondents that LexisNexis is clearly entrenched as our new evil vendor.

I’m not sure how LexisNexis ended up here.  Perhaps because of –

  • the decline in cost recovery practices for search services along with the reduction in the number of firms that provide both Westlaw and Lexis since 2008;
  • the 2011 not ready for prime time release of Lexis Advance;
  • the nearly annual corporate-wide reorganizations, and executive, managerial and account rep staff replacements (voluntary or not);
  • the perception that the company is now offering a search product inferior to Westlaw Edge (While most Feit survey respondents do not license Westlaw Edge yet a majority of Westlaw respondents say they will within the next 3 years.); and
  • the company’s new tying tactic leverages the popularity of its legal news products in an attempt to prop up Lexis Advance’s install base and revenue stream (And which appears to be backfiring according to the verbatim comments found in the Feit survey.).

My bottom line:  LexisNexis needs a turnaround specialist in its C suite.

States are addressing cybersecurity through various initiatives, such as providing more funding for improved security measures, requiring government agencies or businesses to implement specific types of security practices, increasing penalties for computer crimes, addressing threats to critical infrastructure and more. NCSL compiles a 50-state survey of legislation each year. Here is the 2018 survey.

According to the 2018 survey’s introduction at least 35 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico introduced/considered more than 265 bills or resolutions related to cybersecurity. Some of the key areas of legislative activity include:

  • Improving government security practices.
  • Providing funding for cybersecurity programs and initiatives.
  • Restricting public disclosure of sensitive government cybersecurity information.
  • Promoting workforce, training, economic development.

At least 22 states have enacted 52 bills so far in 2018

Michael Feit offers some tantalizing preliminary results from Feit Consulting’s 2019 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey. The survey found that 54% of Am Law 200 firms use either Lexis or Westlaw but not both. Firms that have gone sole search provider are more satisfied with the remaining vendor.

In another post, Feit reveals how satisfied firms are with their vendors generally. 70% of firms are moderately/extremely satisfied with Westlaw. Wolters Kluwer scores a 55% moderately/extremely satisfied response, Lexis 32% and Bloomberg 20%. In view of the satisfaction ratings, the preliminary results for firms considering cancellation at the next contract renewal is not surprising. 46% of firms are considering canceling Bloomberg, 33% of firms with Lexis, 14% of firms with Westlaw and 13% of firms with Wolters Kluwer are considering cancellation of those vendor contracts.

As 2019 commences, it looks like Westlaw and Wolters Kluwer are market leaders in their respective search markets — general for Westlaw, and specialist market for Wolters Kluwer. I wonder how much Lexis and Bloomberg’s recent product tying changes have contributed to their dismal performance in Feit Consulting’s 2019 Legal Information Vendor Market Survey.

From Public Attitudes Toward Computer Algorithms (Nov. 16, 2018): “Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that the public is frequently skeptical of these tools when used in various real-life situations. … This skepticism spans several dimensions. At a broad level, 58% of Americans feel that computer programs will always reflect some level of human bias – although 40% think these programs can be designed in a way that is bias-free. And in various contexts, the public worries that these tools might violate privacy, fail to capture the nuance of complex situations, or simply put the people they are evaluating in an unfair situation. Public perceptions of algorithmic decision-making are also often highly contextual. The survey shows that otherwise similar technologies can be viewed with support or suspicion depending on the circumstances or on the tasks they are assigned to do.”

H/T InfoDocket.

A Tulane University study that found Republicans and Democrats weren’t persuaded to abandon false beliefs about election fraud after reading correct information from fact-checking organizations. What did work? Surprisingly, both sides were most persuaded when the factual information was believed to be from conservative news source Breitbart.

H/T Gary Price’s InfoDocket post.