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June 16, 2011

Law Journal Rankings

Would you like to know which are the top law journals in a specific area of law? Want to submit your article for publication to a law journal?

Then check out the Law Journals Submissions and Ranking database from Washington & Lee School of Law.* With this deceptively powerful resource, you can retrieve a list of journals in a specific area and/or country ranked by various factors, including impact factor, number of citations from journal articles or cases, currency factor, cost, or a combination of these factors.

You can also include contact information for the editors of each journal if you wish, and download it all into a spreadsheet.

* Although Current Law Journal Content from Washington & Lee has ceased updates, I've been told that the law journal ranking database will continue to be updated.

Current Law Journal Content Has Ceased Updates

I was disappointed to learn that Current Law Journal Content, from Washington and Lee Law School, ceased to be updated in May 2011. CLJC was a free service through which you could search and subscribe to current tables of contents from over a thousand law journals.

Compiling Lists of Most Cited Law Review Articles

Last week, a faculty member asked me to compile a list of the 100 most cited law review articles in Constitutional law. It turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be, so I thought I'd share how I did it.

In the Hein Online Law Journal Library, go to the advanced search. In the search for box, enter a percent sign. This will allow you to retrieve all results without having to choose a particular keyword. Next, select a subject (area of law) or leave it at all subjects if you want a general ranking. Then scroll down a bit to the sort by pull down box and change it to Number of Times cited. Run the search.

In the search results page, change the number of results returned from 25 to 100. That's it - a quick and easy way to compile the most cited law review articles.

A caveat - Note that it only counts citations to other sources available in Hein Online, so it's not a true measure, especially for more interdisciplinary articles which may have been cited by non legal journals.

Since the faculty member for whom I compiled the list is a Zotero user, I went one step further and created the list as a library that he could access in Zotero. This was very easy to do by capturing the cites into my Zotero account, creating a group for the cites and then sharing it with him so he could access it in his Zotero account.

June 2, 2011

IL Moves to Public Domain Citation

Effective July 1st, Illinois will join Wisconsin and about a dozen other states in using public domain case citation.

Although the changes require official citation to the public-domain numbering and paragraph scheme, they continue to allow parallel citations to the unofficial regional reporters such as the North East Reporter and Illinois Decisions.

For more, see the Madison Record.

Redaction Failures in PACER Documents

A few years ago, a survey by Carl Malamud revealed that PACER contained more than 1600 cases in which litigants submitted documents with unredacted Social Security numbers.

Now Timothy B. Lee of the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy has
found thousands more PACER documents in which parties tried to redact sensitive information but the redactions failed for technical reasons. For more on the study, see the Center's blog.

With the prevalence of electronic filing, it's very important to know how to properly redact content. Lee recommends reviewing the National Security Agency's primer on secure redaction.

He also suggests using this simple step to check your redactions:

Regardless of the tool used, it's a good idea to take the redacted document and double-check that the information was removed. An easy way to do this is to simply cut and paste the "redacted" content into another document. If the redaction succeeded, no text should be transferred. This method will catch most, but not all, redaction failures.