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Preemption Checking: Checklist

6. Identify & Consult Experts

The resources outlined below are designed to assist with identification of leading experts in various areas of legal scholarship. In general, there are two reasons one might want to identify leaders: 1) there is arguably a strong likelihood that a work in progress might be preempted by a leading scholar; and 2) the scholars, if accessible and responsive, would have knowledge to assess whether or not a work has been preempted. Scholarly rankings can be controversial but they do give you some idea of the major players in a field of law.

Though many law journals regularly solicit feedback from professors as a review safeguard, it is less common for students to do so independently. While we encourage you to do so, be sure to tread lightly, politely, and keep expectations in line--particularly if you do not enjoy an existing level of familiarity.


Hein's Most-Cited Authors list is a good tool for viewing citation rankings by author, article, or journal. Unfortunately, Hein does not classify citation rankings by subject. 


Prof. Brian Leiter's Blog

Leiter's blog offers a wide variety of ranking posts, but you may have to do some intensive browsing before finding the right list, because it is not a search-enabled database. That said, it is worth spending the extra time to browse because the blog will offer qualitative context clues about reputation and credibility that a mere citation rank will not. Leiter also covers the rankings of publications in a subset of scholarly areas.

The Berkeley Law Faculty Experts Database

The Berkeley Law Faculty Experts Database helpfully allows the user to search by area of expertise, keyword search, or faculty member name. It is, however, limited to Berkeley Law faculty, and will not serve as any relational point of comparison across law schools. Nonetheless many of our faculty our experts in their field and can be a wonderful resource for you.
Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties
The authors of this updated paper, Sisk et. al (August 2021) offer an alternative rankings system to assess the influence of particular academics. 

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