38 Nevada Lawyer
STATE BAR OF NEVADA
Nevada Lawyer Magazine
H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H
THE SCHOLARLY MISSION AND ACHIEVEMENTSOF THE BOYD SCHOOL OF LAW
“...we have our sights clearly set onimproving our scholarly reputation as wecontinue to improve all the features bywhich an excellent law school is measured.”
BY GUEST WRITER FRANCIS J. MOOTZ, III,
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
Past dean’s columns have described the manyways in which Boyd has become part of the socialand legal fabric of Nevada during the past 12 yearsof its rapid development as the first law school inthe state. Through clinical programs, quality CLEprograms and the education of skilled and ethicallawyers, Boyd has worked hard to contribute to theNevada legal system and to local communities. We areproud of these achievements but we are equally proudto be recognized as one of the most productive andinfluential scholarly faculties in the country.Brian Leiter, a law professor at the University of Chicago, has developed an influential ranking of the top25 law faculties by measuring their scholarly impact. As a new school, recently suffering sharp cutbacks instate funding, it should be no surprise that Boyd hasnot been among his list of elite law schools.
Recently,law professors at St. Thomas University in Minnesotaextended Leiter’s methodology to determine the top70 law faculties. Released in September, their studyreports that Boyd ties for the 40th most influentialscholarly faculty with schools such as Arizona State,Fordham and William and Mary and is ranked higherthan schools such as Boston College, BYU, Florida,Georgia, Utah and Wisconsin.
This study measures the performance of theentire tenure-track faculty and so this showingemphasizes the depth of scholarly commitment atBoyd. This achievement is particularly impressivebecause the faculty was shouldering the institutionalresponsibilities of building an entirely new law schoolwhile producing renowned scholarship. This studyranks Boyd higher than the more questionable
U.S. News and World Reports
study, which is based to largedegree on historical reputation, financial resources,and the grades and LSAT scores of incoming students. Although we have a very good ranking in U.S. News,we regard that as a lagging indicator that will followthe scholarly reputation of the faculty.What does this superb performance by the Boydfaculty mean for Nevada? First, it means that studentswho are considering law school need not travel toanother state to find an expert faculty engaged atthe highest levels of research and scholarship. It alsomeans that Nevada has resident experts who canassist the legislature, executive and judiciary, to bringthe latest learning to bear on problems relating to the justice system. Finally, it means that local media canturn to Boyd faculty to help educate the public aboutnovel and complicated issues by drawing on currentresearch, thereby strengthening our democracy.For example, Professor Jeffrey Stempel was justawarded the Liberty Mutual Prize by Boston CollegeSchool of Law, in recognition of having written thebest insurance law article of the past year. Stempel is aprodigious scholar, having written numerous articles,books and treatises that have helped to shape the lawof insurance and to provide resources for lawyers and judges as they grapple with emerging issues. He isregularly quoted by local and national press in orderto provide context for stories about insurance casesand reforms.Professor Nancy Rapoport is sought afternationally as a speaker on topics relating tobankruptcy and legal ethics; she writes importantbooks and articles in this practice area, and localand national media regularly look to her to explainthe complex proceedings surrounding the economic