How Often Do Courts Cite Student-Written and Non-Student-Written Articles?

I've just come up with some estimates of this, based on samples from the first five months in 2007, and searches in MEGA;MEGA on Lexis. The estimates are only estimates, for a variety of reasons, but I think they're good ballpark judgments.

So my riddles to you:

(1) How many times per month do U.S. courts — in Lexis-accessible opinions — cite student-written law review articles (denominated Note, Comment, Case Note, and Casenote, though excluding faculty-written works denominated Comment)?

(2) How many times per month do U.S. courts cite non-student-written law review articles?

Let's see who can get closest to right, or at least closest to my estimates of what's right. (By the way, there are a total of about 25,000 Lexis-accessible cases put out per month.) [UPDATE: I should also note that there seem to be about 2500 student articles published per year, and about 9000 non-student articles.]

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Citations of Student Articles:
  2. How Often Do Courts Cite Student-Written and Non-Student-Written Articles?
The River Temoc (mail):
Sorry, what is a "faculty written comment"? I had thought that comments were by definition not faculty-written.
6.1.2007 6:21pm
elChato (mail):
80 by professors, 40 by students.
6.1.2007 6:21pm
1. 5
2. 150
6.1.2007 6:24pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
The River Temoc: Some journals use "Comment" to refer to brief responses, essays, and other things that for some reason they don't want to call "Article." Other journals use "Comment" to refer to student articles (what most journals call "Note"). And still others don't use the term at all, and call things "Article," "Essay," "Response," and so on.
6.1.2007 6:35pm
Dave N (mail):
5 student; 35 faculty. Those are sheer guesses. I think it is very safe to say that most cases cite neither but occassionally a faculty member and on rare occassion a student have something innovative to say on the law that the caselaw does not.
6.1.2007 6:57pm
I would actually guess that student works get cited more often than professor works, because student work is more likely to be narrowly focused on a statutory issue or conflict between circuits, or otherwise on fairly directly applicable legal doctrine, while professor works are much more likely to be theoretical and less directly applicable. As for numbers, oh, how about 400 for students and 200 for non-student?
6.1.2007 7:01pm
Roger, my guess is based on my supposition that, while student articles are more narrowly focused, they're also generally of lower quality, more prone to analytical errors, and more useful as finding aids for cases (which courts often don't feel the need to cite) than as analysis.

I'm interested in seeing Prof. Volokh's estimates, though, and will be fascinated if I'm proven wrong.
6.1.2007 7:05pm
Anonymous Skeptic (mail):
The use of treatises vastly undermines the need for most citations to academic sources, and since students tend to focus on small gaps in the law whereas professors dream up grand (and often useless) theories, I'm gonna guess that Student Notes are almost as popular as Professorial Articles. How about: 120 for student notes and 150 for professorial articles.
6.1.2007 7:19pm
Jim FSU 1L (mail):
40 for professor, 80 for student and probably most of those student citations are for one or two articles that fill in some useful hole in the current research.
6.1.2007 11:00pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
I wouldn't hazard any numerical guesses, but I would make one prediction:

You'll see lots more citation of student-written pieces in state-court appellate opinions than in federal-court appellate opinions.
6.1.2007 11:59pm
TomHynes (mail):
I suspect each case cites one law review article on average, so about 25,000 citations. I think if a judge finds a good cite in a law review, he won't not cite it because it is student written, so I am willing to go with the same percentages.

Therefore, maybe 5,000 student citations and 18,000 non student, total of 23,000 citations.

I am several orders of magnitude off from everyone else.
6.2.2007 12:56am
TomHynes (mail):
Divide the above by 12. Citations per month, law review articles per year.
6.2.2007 12:58am
(1) 200
(2) 200
6.2.2007 1:36am
25,000 Lexis-accessible cases per month...
2,500 student written articles (10% of 25,000)....
9,000 non-student written articles (36% of 25,000)....

I'll say 25 student and 90 non-student.
6.2.2007 8:55am
such sweet thunder (mail):
Don't forget. A student wrote perhaps the most important law review article in history.

6.2.2007 9:19am
such sweet thunder (mail):
Warren &Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 (1890).
6.2.2007 9:22am
nickjuneau24 (mail):
In Trivia Pursuit, the proper way to answer a numbers question that you have no idea of the answer is to say either (a) none, (b) one, or (c) all of them. Try it in the game, and see how often you are correct.

For this question, I'll guess one student note per year, and all of the professor's articles (which I think was 9000). I think I'll be pretty close! :)
6.2.2007 11:21am
Many times, I've noticed an interesting "conincidence" when reviewing cases that cite student law review articles: at the time the opinion was written, the citing court had a clerk who attended the same law school (or college) as the author of the cited student-article.

6.2.2007 2:44pm
Just Trying to Grasp the Meaning of it All (mail):
When I was a student, my note was fortunate enough to be cited in a federal appellate decision. I went to a top ten law school, and it was the first time that had ever happened at my school, so I'm guessing it's pretty rare. About 4 or 5 professors had articles cited in opinions while I attended that fine academic institution. When I was a clerk on an appellate court, no scholarship was cited in any decision by any panel member that year.

Based on this, I'd say 2 for student notes, 78 for non-student written pieces.
6.2.2007 6:16pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
such sweet thunder: Warren and Brandeis were partners in a law firm in 1890; they had graduated over 10 years before.
6.3.2007 12:38am
Also, the answer "United States" will get you far if you have no idea "which country...?"
6.4.2007 9:23am