Mason Law Alums Launch New Journal of Legal Metrics

Three Mason Law Alumni have launched a new law journal designed to solicit and publish the efforts of scholars whose work demonstrates the explanatory power of numbers and statistics in the legal context.

The Journal of Legal Metrics came about through the efforts of editors-in-chief Adam Aft (’10), Craig Rust (’10), and Alex Mitchell (’11) and is part of Mason Law Professor Ross Davies’ Journal of Law project that acts as an incubator for law journals.

The content of the Journal of Legal Metrics is scholarly in nature but allows the reader immediate access to data from all aspects of the law, legal education, and legal practice. While the authors offer their thoughts on the data, it is presented for others interested in the law to examine and draw their own conclusions.

“We live in a more and more data-driven world as computing and technology improve to allow us to access more data at our fingertips,” says Aft. “We hope to be a home for that data in the law, from data on law schools to the Supreme Court.”

The first issue of the new journal contains historical data articles, including a Supreme Court Sluggers update regarding Justices Fortas and Goldberg; Dave Hatton and Professor Jay Wexler’s Original Jurisdiction Standings dealing with how the states have fared at the Supreme Court; and information on the law-making process in Congress, with articles about the Tea Party, maverick voting, and the bills viewed on THOMAS.

In addition, Aft and Tom Cummins (’10) consider a new metric for measuring the United States Courts of Appeal and how they fare at the Supreme Court, while Rust examines the numbers resulting from Justices Stevens’ and Scalia’s time on the court and offers some conclusions about what can be learned from those numbers.

The journal also presents updates to two annual metrics on law schools and law reviews: the law school website rankings (in which Mason Law was ranked tenth) and Davies’ annual law review circulation numbers.

Aft, Rust, and Mitchell are no strangers to the collection and summation of data. Aft and Rust are part of Davies’ Supreme Court Sluggers baseball card project, for which they collect and refine data for each justice. Mitchell concentrates his efforts on the student-run FantasyLaw project, tracking data regarding Congress and its members to facilitate scholarship and a game modeled on fantasy sports. As separate entities, the Sluggers and FantasyLaw projects lend editorial support to the new journal.

“With the common theme of numbers and metrics throughout our projects, we wanted to capitalize on the potential synergies and join forces to produce the Journal of Legal Metrics,” Aft explains.

Aft, Rust, and Mitchell enjoy the support of an editorial team that includes several other alumni of the School of Law.

Read the inaugural issue of Journal of Legal Metrics here.