BERKELEY LAW FACULTY INFORM HIGH-COURT RULINGS AND POPULATE RANKINGS FOR MOST-CITED ARTICLES
Schools often herald faculty members as “renowned” or “influential” without defining their criteria. Quantifying academic prominence can be tricky, but recent metrics indicate that Berkeley Law’s faculty enjoys elite status in legal scholarship.
A study of the 50 most-cited private law articles published in law reviews from 1990 through 2015 included seven by Berkeley Law faculty—10, if one includes articles Mark Lemley ’91 published while a professor at the school.
Longtime professor Robert Merges authored three—including one ranked No. 2, on the complex economics of patent scope. Another intellectual property titan, professor Pamela Samuelson, had two entries. Other Berkeley Law faculty on the list: the late Joseph Sax, known as the “father” of modern environmental law, and newly retired Melvin Eisenberg, one of his generation’s leading contract theorists.
“It’s a real testament to our exceptional scholars,” says professor Holly Doremus ’91, associate dean of faculty development and research. “Their groundbreaking work has been hugely influential in the legal academy.”
Samuelson, Sax, and Eisenberg also joined fellow Berkeley Law professors Daniel Farber and William Fletcher and deceased faculty members Max Radin, William Prosser, and Philip Frickey on a recent listing of the 250 most-cited legal scholars. Compiled by HeinOnline, the ranking tallies how often authors have been cited by cases, and by articles from the past 10 years, as well as how often their works are accessed online.
Another affirmation source: the U.S. Supreme Court, which last year cited the work of several Berkeley Law faculty members.
Justice Anthony Kennedy noted research by professor Jonathan Simon ’87 in his Davis v. Ayala concurrence, which urged courts to consider more closely the solitary confinement of prisoners. Noting that penology and psychology experts “continue to offer essential information and analysis,” Kennedy mentioned Simon’s The Sage Handbook of Punishment and Society.
Kennedy also appreciated an amicus brief of family law scholars coordinated by faculty member Joan Hollinger, a leading advocate for children raised by gay and lesbian parents, in Obergefell v. Hodges— which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. His majority opinion closely mirrored the brief’s language while discussing the harm children suffer when their same-sex parents cannot marry.
The court cited repeatedly an amicus brief coauthored by professor Alan Auerbach in rejecting Maryland’s personal income tax structure. Relying on Auerbach’s analysis, the court called the system “inherently discriminatory” and noted that the state taxed residents on income earned inside and outside Maryland without providing full credit against taxes paid to other states.
While banning “race neutral” housing policies that have the same effect as intentionally discriminatory policies, the court noted a brief co-authored by senior fellow Richard Rothstein. It described how federal public housing programs have “maintained and often exacerbated segregation, and concentrated poverty in many U.S. neighborhoods since the Fair Housing Act was enacted in 1968,” Rothstein says.