PUBLISHED:October 15, 2019

Study ranks Duke Law faculty No. 4 for influence on other disciplines


A new study ranks the Duke Law School faculty fourth among top law schools for the influence of its scholarship in disciplines outside of law.

Last year, Duke Law ranked sixth in the nation in a comparison of median citations to law articles using a similar methodology. Citation counts are one of many ways to measure an article’s influence on a scholar’s field. The new study shows that Duke faculty are influential not only in the legal academy, but in many other fields, as well.

The study, conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University, measured the number of times that articles in non-legal publications by each school’s professors were cited by other articles in non-legal journals. Duke ranked no. 4 out of the top 25 schools in the latest U.S. News ranking on this “Interdisciplinary Scholarly Impact Score.”

Two members of the Duke Law faculty ranked in the top 50 most-cited authors in the interdisciplinary impact study. Nita Farahany ’04, PhD ’06, Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, a leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies, has published highly cited articles in top scientific and medical journals on such topics as regulation of consumer genetic tests and the ethics of experimentation with human brain tissue. Matthew Adler, the Richard A. Horvitz Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, Philosophy, and Public Policy, whose scholarship draws from welfare economics, normative ethics, and legal theory, has contributed highly cited articles in top economic and scientific journals on such topics as climate change's impact on human well-being, distributional concerns in cost-benefit analysis, and the social cost of carbon.

Numerous other Duke Law scholars whose work led to Duke’s high ranking have published highly cited articles in fields ranging from economics (Michael Frakes and Mitu Gulati) and medicine (Kimberly Krawiec, Arti Rai, Barak Richman, and Doriane Coleman) to management science (John de Figueiredo), international affairs (Laurence Helfer), climate change (Jonathan Wiener) and general science (Jerome Reichman).

“I am so proud of Duke Law’s performance in this study,” said Kerry Abrams, James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law. “The number four ranking shows how broadly interdisciplinary our faculty is and how influential our scholars are in fields outside of law. Our performance is not the result of one single faculty member but instead reflects the collective strength of the faculty across a variety of fields.”