Brown Gavel With Medical Stethoscope Near Book At Wooden Desk In Courtroom.

Most-Cited Health Law Scholars in Westlaw, 2016-2020

By Mark A. Hall and I. Glenn Cohen

A few years ago, to highlight the growth and maturity of the health law field we undertook to measure and rank the scholarly impact of health law professors according to the frequency their work is cited. Our principal ranking followed the methods Gregory Sisk and Brian Leiter have used for many years to rank professors in other fields of law.

Leiter has now included Health Law in the pantheon of ranked legal fields. Accordingly, we will not undertake an independent ranking. Instead, because the data Sisk and Leiter use are restricted to professors with a primary law school appointment, we provide the following modest supplement: We replicate Sisk and Leiter’s citation counting methods for two health law professors known to be highly cited who do not have a primary law school appointment: Aaron Kesselheim and Sara Rosenbaum. (We did the same for several others, but their citation counts in the Westlaw database were below Leiter’s cutoff range). Here is the augmented ranking:

Rank Name School Citations 
1 Lawrence Gostin Georgetown University 430
2 I. Glenn Cohen Harvard University 410
3* Aaron Kesselheim Harvard University (Medical School) 330
4 Nicholas Bagley University of Michigan 310
5 Mark Hall Wake Forest University 280
6 Michele Goodwin University of California, Irvine 270
7 David Hyman Georgetown University 240
Mark Rothstein University of Louisville 240
9 Michelle Mello Stanford University 220
10 George Annas Boston University 160
Scott Burris Temple University 160
Henry Greely Stanford University 160
Sharona Hoffman Case Western Reserve University 160
* Sara Rosenbaum George Washington Univ. (Public Health) 160
Other highly cited scholars who work partly in this area
Abbe Gluck Yale University 710
Einer Elhauge Harvard University 540
Carl Schneider University of Michigan 410
Robin Wilson University of Illinois 260
Lars Noah University of Florida, Gainesville 210

*   Non-law-school faculty. Citation count tabulated by Hall and Cohen.

Missing from this list are other productive colleagues whose citation counts are not as high. Our previous rankings were somewhat longer, but the length of the current ranking is more consistent with Leiter’s rankings in other legal fields, which typically go no further than 10, except in the broadest and most active fields that produce much higher citation counts.

We also note that this ranking does not correct for several deficiencies noted previously. Primarily, it does not include citations outside of legal literature — a limitation especially salient for a heavily interdisciplinary field. In addition, this ranking corrects only partially for Westlaw’s tendency to neglect additional authors of multi-authored publications. As prior discussion here and elsewhere make plain, every ranking method is imperfect and we make no claim that the Sisk/Leiter method is best. Moreover, any attempt to rank citation counts misses some of what makes the work we do impactful. Thus, we encourage others who wish to undertake improvements. Our goal from the beginning of this effort has simply been to have our field recognized as meriting inclusion among other productive and influential fields of legal scholarship.

The Petrie-Flom Center Staff

The Petrie-Flom Center staff often posts updates, announcements, and guests posts on behalf of others.

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