Court Citation Counts For Harvard, Yale, and Stanford Student Notes:

Looking at citations from 2001 on, and controlling for different numbers of notes in each journal by dividing by the count of all published notes from 1995 on:

  1. Harvard: 358 citations.

  2. Yale: 106, with 78% of the number of notes in Harvard.

  3. Stanford: 48, with 40% of the number of notes in Harvard.

I count here only articles denominated as "Note" (not "Recent Case" or some such), and citations that refer to them as "Note." There are a few false positives and surely some false negatives in each query, but I have no reason to think they'd throw the results off.

Stanford Grad:
I know that many of the Stanford journals don't add "Note:" to the front of their note titles. They are listed as notes in the TOC, but I don't think that is reflected in the West versions.
6.6.2007 2:41pm
I would be very interested to hear how Chicago compares. (Though there student works are called Comments instead of Notes.)
6.6.2007 2:43pm
Michael Last (mail):
Stanford has 40% the number of notes of Stanford, and yet a non-zero number? I believe you meant Harvard....though as it is the Stanford of the East, it is an easy mistake to make:)
6.6.2007 2:47pm
Why would you include Stanford, with its substandard Law Review, in this analysis, and leave it at that?
6.6.2007 4:18pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Confused: A fair bet is that doing queries for three journals is only half the work of doing them for six, and only a tenth of doing them for thirty. And given that Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are the usual suspects for 1, 2, and 3, in whatever order -- whether rightly or wrongly -- those are the ones I quickly ran.

I hope in coming months to have much more comprehensive data on this and more.
6.6.2007 4:43pm
Very interesting, Eugene.
6.6.2007 5:00pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Orin: You only say that because you're a Harvard man!
6.6.2007 5:12pm
YLJ notes are signed by the author, HLR notes are signed as "Note." Presumably this means HLR notes are more likely to be denominated as "Note."
6.6.2007 5:16pm
Alex 2005 (mail):
What would be really interesting to learn is whether the (federal?) court (i.e. Judge) citing a particular note was employing its author at the time (or whether the author clerked for that particular judge at any time).
6.6.2007 5:35pm
I'd happily take the other side of Professor Volokh's bet. I am quite confident a substantial amount of the work involved in doing something like this is basically fixed (eg, coming up with the methodology, posting this report, and so on), and therefore the costs of doing it for more journals would not be perfectly proportional.

In fact, the marginal work for the professor in particular may be negligible, insofar as it is just a matter of stating a different number to the relevant RA.
6.6.2007 5:41pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
ATRGeek: No RA's were harmed during the making of this post; posting the report was very quick; the method had already been created for a different project; doing more journals means more queries, which I wasn't inclined to do today. But, yes, when my coauthor and I take the time to do this for more journals, we'll post the results.
6.6.2007 6:22pm
guest (mail):
Maybe another interesting thing to look at: How many of those citations are to one (or a few) individual notes? I know of several famous "Harvard notes" from over 30 years ago that are often cited as authority for certain specific propositions.
6.6.2007 11:45pm
Michael Last (mail):
In support of guest, I looked at the numbers for the most cited mathematicians a few months back.

Of the top-ten, one of the authors of a seminal paper from the mid-90's made the list, though which author changed year-by-year. I'm pretty sure the high ranking was driven by one paper, with the rest of their corpus making the small contribution which determined who was in the top-ten.
6.7.2007 11:52am