Saturday, April 16, 2011
Law Review Submissions: Superstitions and Expeditions
A nascent thread is forming on an earlier post, but I thought it might make sense to create a new one to get more folks on board. I know I have a number of thoughts/concerns/fears about the submission season this year. Maybe other profs and law review editors might want to fill us in on topics like this:
- Are ExpressO submissions still increasing?
- Are reviews making deadlines on offers to publish earlier?
- Are articles still in the 25K-30K word range, or are they creeping up in size?
- Are law review editors using the special theory of relativity to create more hours in the day?
Your thoughts are appreciated.
UPDATE: Bumped to the top, as requested. (Thanks, Dan!) From the comments, it looks like the process is going really slowly this year. And as a result, the Anxiety-O-Meter is off the charts. So what is going on? Has supply exceeded demand? Are editors changing over later, or taking more time? Or is our group of commenters unrepresentative? Your thoughts would be appreciated.
UPDATE 2: Here is a link directly to comments 151-200.
UPDATE 3: Bumped again. Here's a link to comments 250-300. It looks like some optimism is breaking out on the board. The available anecdotal evidence suggests that many reviews are choosing late this year.
Also, a PSA for ExpressO submitters: if you plan on expediting and you get an offer, please withdraw your article from those journals to whom you are not expediting. It will make the process a lot easier for all concerned. And of course, withdraw from all remaining journals once you have accepted an offer.
UPDATE 4: Once more, with feeling. The action continues! Some journals may be full, but many remain open. Here's a link to comments 400-450.
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Just based on my own experiences:
I use ExpressO unless the journal requires some other method.
My experience with top-20 journals is that offers are open for no more than 72 hours (and sometimes fewer than 24 hours), even if those hours fall over a weekend, and that journals resist extensions.
My articles are usually fewer than 30,000 words, but I have seen several articles published very recently that seem to have significantly more.
I don't know how law-review editors do it, but I certainly commend them for their herculean efforts at reading and responding to submissions.
Posted by: Scott Dodson | Feb 22, 2011 12:14:00 PM
As I note in a recent post on my patent scholarship blog about the patent-paper analogy, articles editors (at least at Yale) still value brevity: "we rejected otherwise outstanding articles for being way too long, and the long articles we took were accepted in spite of, not because of, their length."
Posted by: Lisa Larrimore Ouellette | Feb 22, 2011 5:15:22 PM
It's acceptable to submit articles where the short-form cites to articles previously cited in the footnotes contain blanks (as in "See Bodie, supra note _, at 147"), right?
I haven't pulled the Expresso trigger yet; I'm still waiting for some feedback from readers. Previously-documented alleged sightings of Redyip notwithstanding, it's still early days, right?
Posted by: anon | Feb 22, 2011 7:24:39 PM
It's early. Leaving blanks -- who knows? If I were an article editor, I would fear that if you can't figure out how to use the cross-reference function in Word (and really, it's pretty darned easy), then you won't know how to use track changes, either. Which would make my life difficult.
Posted by: BDG | Feb 23, 2011 12:51:33 PM
Its amazing how fast law review editors can read papers, I am most impressed with the editors at Missouri who managed to read and consider my 25k word article in no less than 20 minutes. An incredible feat...
Posted by: anony | Feb 23, 2011 1:27:28 PM
Missouri has a TERRIBLE reputation for that. Last year, myself and three of my colleagues (at a top 50 school) all had our articles rejected from Missouri in less than half an hour. And all of our articles went on to place in a top 50 journal. Not sure what' up at Missouri -- I was hoping they just had a bad articles editor last year, but sounds like this may be institutional.
Posted by: AnonProf | Feb 23, 2011 3:40:44 PM
AnonProf, I hate instant-rejections as much as the next person, but if your article went to a higher placed journal, they were right to instant-reject it. It saved them the effort of reading an article that they would have lost anyway.
Posted by: TJ | Feb 23, 2011 4:50:29 PM
My experience is that many top journals simply have an automatic delay built in to their automatic-rejection-letter software, which waits a seemly amount of time (a few days or a week) before telling an author that their article has been rejected-- even if it was rejected after a five-minute skim, as many are.
So my guess is that Missouri doesn't review articles any more cursorily than comparable schools-- they just don't have the software hide what they're doing.
Posted by: WPB | Feb 23, 2011 4:52:32 PM
It's my first time submitting an article (as the son of Redyip, I had to wait for the honored one to give me an individualized go-ahead). I just sent the piece yesterday and had one journal send me an email saying they have received and are reviewing it. Is there any significance to that, or is that just a form email? I see from other comments that some journals give instant rejections, so wondered if the "we received and are reviewing" email indicates some interest--or, perhaps, they are simply providing some deference to Redyip's offspring.
Posted by: son of Redyip | Feb 24, 2011 8:40:12 AM
S.o.R., I'm not familiar with the particular journal you're asking about, but in my experience those are usually form letters.
Posted by: WPB | Feb 24, 2011 10:32:06 AM
thanks WPB--perhaps sometimes even Son of Redyip needs more than name recognition to achieve success
Posted by: son of Redyip | Feb 24, 2011 10:56:52 AM
Son of Redyip,
Yes, as Will says, that's just an automatically-generated form letter.
Posted by: Orin Kerr | Feb 24, 2011 11:24:23 AM
I just got a near instant rejection from Baylor ... though apparently they gave the 30,000 word piece "careful consideration."
Posted by: tm | Feb 24, 2011 3:19:54 PM
I submitted 55 minutes ago. Still no rejections! Does that mean I should go ahead and expedite at Top 20 places?
Posted by: Joe | Feb 24, 2011 4:35:35 PM
I just got a rejection email from Fordham, and I haven't submitted yet. I thought the letterhead was supposed to help.
Posted by: First Year Prof | Feb 25, 2011 2:01:34 PM
Rejections from Baylor, BYU, Chicago, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Penn. This process is excruciating.
Posted by: gulp | Feb 27, 2011 11:51:46 AM
Hey, Gulp, what day did you submit?
Posted by: Still writing | Feb 27, 2011 12:47:26 PM
Feb. 15-22, probably too early.
Posted by: gulp | Feb 27, 2011 12:56:35 PM
Gulp, I got rapid rejections from the first 5 schools on your list, and I submitted around the same time as you. No worries. There are many other law reviews out there.
Posted by: Anon | Feb 27, 2011 2:22:10 PM
I just got an offer with a one-week acceptance window -- is that standard, or an unusually short time frame?
Posted by: tm | Feb 27, 2011 6:52:52 PM
tm, my experience is that outside the top 20 or so journals a week is not unusual, but you can often bargain for more.
Posted by: Anon2 | Feb 27, 2011 8:29:17 PM
Two more rejections this morning. I wish I could feel reassured that there are lots of other law reviews out there, but the nightmares aren't helping.
Posted by: gulp | Feb 28, 2011 9:53:01 AM
I've now gotten offers from a few journals, two of which gave me 5 days to accept. One is a top 50, one is a top 75.
Posted by: AnonProf | Feb 28, 2011 10:43:00 AM
People with offers, to what do you attribute them (aside from the merit of your submissions)? Or editors, on what factors have you based decisions so far?
Posted by: gulp | Feb 28, 2011 11:34:10 AM
Also, how did you get the offer? Phone? Email?
(I've gotten two dings after submitting last Thursday. Baylor and Missouri.)
Posted by: Joe | Feb 28, 2011 12:00:36 PM
I submitted Feb. 23 and am now wondering whether (as Gulp notes) this was too early. I just learned that the editorial staff at one top 25 journal doesn't even begin looking at submissions until March 21.
Joe - I also got early rejections from Baylor and Missouri.
Posted by: tm | Feb 28, 2011 12:42:04 PM
Do you all justify your right margins before submitting? (Volokh's book recommends it, but I think that just makes it harder to edit.)
Posted by: anon | Feb 28, 2011 12:43:56 PM
I do submit with the right margins justified, but perhaps I shouldn't. It's not difficult to change text from full- to left-justified in Word, though. Do editors have a preference?
Posted by: gulp | Feb 28, 2011 2:17:25 PM
same thing happened with me at missouri. i'm amazed how quickly they could digest my 28k word article. brilliant!
Posted by: anonprof | Feb 28, 2011 2:18:22 PM
I received quick dings from Baylor and Mizzou, too. They better be careful, or they'll start to get a reputation.
Posted by: South | Feb 28, 2011 2:26:56 PM
Baylor and Missouri apparently have the same level of super-talent. If only my students could process information so quickly!
Posted by: anonprof | Feb 28, 2011 3:01:17 PM
If only one journal could see so quickly that, in fact, a lot of people would want to read and cite my article!
Posted by: gulp | Feb 28, 2011 4:09:23 PM
Somewhat glad to find this thread--I, too, received quick rejects from Baylor and Missouri, within a day of their confirmation receipt.
Posted by: anon | Feb 28, 2011 4:12:35 PM
I'm curious how soon people normally receive decisions on expedited requests? Do those typically come within a few days or do they usually take the entire 1-2 weeks given?
Posted by: Anon | Feb 28, 2011 4:53:54 PM
this is my first time going through the expresso process (in the past, i have sent to a handful of speciality journals and gone with the first one to say yes). in the first 6 days, out of 70 journals, i got 7 rejections (penn, minnesota, duke, chicago, etc.) i'm curious whether that's about standard or not-- i know lots of profs get offers within the first week but i'm a practitioner. has anyone seen statistics on how many pieces submitted to lots of law reviews get zero offers, vs some (any!) offer? or is it too early for me to panic ;)
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 1, 2011 10:24:49 AM
Wellcaffininated, Expresso collected some information on this several years ago: http://law.bepress.com/expresso/2007/one.html. I'm not aware of anything more recent.
Posted by: gulp | Mar 1, 2011 10:48:46 AM
Sorry to mangle your name like that. Insufficient caffeination.
Posted by: gulp | Mar 1, 2011 10:53:50 AM
no worries. thanks for your response. 8% receiving no offers is a lot lower than i'd guessed, given all the stories about top journals receiving 3,000 submissions and publishing 12 or so.
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 1, 2011 11:15:12 AM
I think those figures cover all of the journals serviced by Expresso. I.e., the offers include offers from journals at fourth-tier schools. I suspect they are less informative than they look initially. My (unverified) theory is that Expresso really involves two markets: one market for the top journals, which is competitive and has an oversupply of submissions, and a largely separate market for journals at third- and fourth-tier schools (and many specialty journals), in which there is overall an undersupply of submissions. There are more potential offers per journal as you move down the top 100, but the real turning point is between second-tier (still lots of submissions to choose from in making offers) and third-tier schools' journals (often looking for submissions). For practitioners whose submissions have not been solicited by a journal, the competitive market might be even more competitive than it is for academics. I'd be interested to hear others' theories.
Posted by: gulp | Mar 1, 2011 11:40:47 AM
good point. to further complicate the issue in this case, my piece is a book review, and i haven't found many third or fourth tier journals that publish those (though i found a few).
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 1, 2011 12:13:29 PM
On the off-chance this is helpful for those going through the ExpressO process for the first time:
1. The first week or ten days is pure torture and nothing but rejections. Some of these rejections may be for reasons other than the quality of the piece (i.e., the board hasn't turned over and they're not letting submissions pile up). I've never been able to survive this period without a massive crisis of confidence, ranging from "my article is stupid and I'm an idiot" to "XYZ Law Review probably rejected me because of that typo in footnote 231. Why didn't I spend more time proofreading!"
2. There's no "merit pyramid"--you can get dinged by literally dozens of lower-ranked journals and still get an amazing offer.
3. Even after you accept your amazing offer (and tried to withdraw on ExpressO) the rejections will keep streaming in.
Hang in there--it's really hard the first few times.
Posted by: anon | Mar 1, 2011 12:34:54 PM
My theory isn't of a merit pyramid, but of a situation where supply and demand differ radically depending on which journal you're talking about. It seems undeniable that there is an oversupply of submissions for the top journals (an oversupply that gets greater as you move up the chain), but I don't believe the top journals' offer decisions are based on submissions' merit. The supply issue does mean it's more likely for an outsider to get an offer from a journal in the group that has an undersupply of submissions (or an undersupply of accepted offers).
Posted by: gulp | Mar 1, 2011 12:47:44 PM
very helpful comments-- much appreciated. do offers typically come by e-mail?
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 1, 2011 1:16:09 PM
Thanks anon, that is reassuring to hear and much appreciated.
Posted by: son of Redyip | Mar 1, 2011 1:30:24 PM
Sure thing. In my experience, offers are 90% email and 10% phone.
Posted by: anon | Mar 1, 2011 1:33:52 PM
Can anyone address how soon expedite offers might arrive after making an expedite request?
Posted by: Anon | Mar 1, 2011 5:00:57 PM
FWIW, I've received offers one day after making an expedite request and also literally on the day of the deadline. (As you might've heard, it's a good idea to tell journals that your deadline is 12 hours earlier that it really is when you make your expedite request).
Posted by: anon | Mar 1, 2011 6:26:57 PM
I'm curious...do most folks actually get offers out of expedites, or do they tend to get the one offer and ultimately accept there? Anyone care to shed some light on that?
Posted by: Anon | Mar 1, 2011 8:33:45 PM
Again, actual mileage may vary, but I've always gotten additional offers after shaking the expedite tree.
Posted by: anon | Mar 1, 2011 9:53:48 PM
For more data: I've only tried twice, but I've never gotten an offer out of an expedite.
Posted by: anon 2 | Mar 2, 2011 8:01:48 AM
This expedite business is very stressful. I cannot wait for this window to close.
Am I supposed to accept at the very last minute on my deadline? Or at some point do I just give up on the journals I haven't heard from?
Posted by: impatient | Mar 2, 2011 9:07:16 AM
Those with offers, would you be willing to tell us when you submitted and to how many journals?
Posted by: gulp | Mar 2, 2011 10:31:45 AM
Gulp -- 2 weeks ago, to 80 journals.
Posted by: impatient | Mar 2, 2011 10:48:04 AM
This thread is great. There is so little information out there that it is great to have this resource even if it is all anecdotal.
Impatient -- I think this can be the downside of submitting so early. Some journals that you expedited to are just getting up and running when your deadline comes up. Of course, maybe you got your offer because you got your article in early and an eager new board accepted it. It's impossible to know which is part of what is so maddening about this process. That's why, in my view, the disclaimer "your mileage may vary" applies to everything you hear and read about this process. Still, some anecdotal info is better than none.
I am a junior law prof and submitted last week. I too have gotten rejections from Missouri, Baylor and Minnesota. I can't wait to read the Nobel Prize winning scholarship that they do publish.
Posted by: yet another anon | Mar 2, 2011 10:57:51 AM
Baylor rejected me as well, and virtually immediately.
Posted by: impatient | Mar 2, 2011 11:03:12 AM
Thanks for the information. Best of luck with your expedite requests.
Posted by: gulp | Mar 2, 2011 11:23:26 AM
Again, actual mileage may vary, but I've always gotten additional offers after shaking the expedite tree.
Posted by: Mikey | Mar 2, 2011 11:49:27 AM
Anyone else gotten a very low number of automated emails from lawrevs confirming receipt of articles submitted via Expresso? I've gotten a literal handful--no more than 3-4. But in previous years, I've gotten 15-20 or so. It's not that important--these confirming emails are pro forma and don't indicate anything about the lawrevs' interest in the piece, but the difference is stark enough that it makes me wonder a bit about whether something's gone awry with the delivery process.
Posted by: Dave | Mar 2, 2011 11:54:22 AM
Mikey, how long did it take? A few rejected within a day or so, and the rest have been quiet.
Posted by: impatient | Mar 2, 2011 11:55:03 AM
I barely got any confirmation e-mails. As far as the confirmation link through ExpressO, a great many didn't click on that link until I expedited.
Posted by: impatient | Mar 2, 2011 11:57:52 AM
I submitted to 50 lawrevs and, like Dave, got only 3-4 automated emails confirming receipt. One looked like an acceptance as the text of the email said please open the attachment with regard to your article, but it turned out the attachment was only a automated acknowledgement of submission (this was West Virginia). Thanks to all for the many helpful comments--as others have noted, there's not much out there, especially for those of us who are new to the process, and I really appreciate and hungrily devour the tidbits of information provided here
Posted by: son of Redyip | Mar 2, 2011 12:54:04 PM
Ah, this is like the fear and loathing of AALS all over again. Except back then I got to actually interact with human beings. Now I just obsessively refresh my e-mail screen.
Posted by: Anon | Mar 2, 2011 1:37:58 PM
I too submitted through expresso. In the first week, I received "confirmation[s] of receipt" from about half of the journals to which I had submitted. But I haven't received a single confirmation through expresso in the last five days! (Articles Editors, have you literally been buried in an avalanche of submissions?!!)
Like Dave, I know that confirmation of receipt (whether by email or expresso) isn't terribly meaningful. But the radio silence is definitely causing my neuroticism to get the better of me....
Posted by: another anon | Mar 2, 2011 4:10:01 PM
I did not submit this cycle but offer my anecdotal experience from last winter in case anyone finds it helpful. I got a bunch of automated responses confirming receipt, mostly in the first few days but trickling after that. A few places never confirmed and a few confirmed after I expedited (more on this in a second).
I was able to leverage "better" offers by expediting up the chain several times. A few of these were relayed to me just as the deadline from the previous offer was set to expire. Finally, with two days left on the deadline given me by a top-50 law review, a top-25 law review finally clicked the confirmation button and presumably downloaded my piece. This was more than a month after I'd first submitted and two or three weeks after the original expedite request from my first acceptance. That law review then called me two hours before the deadline (already extended from the original one offered) to say that someone had liked it and the whole board wanted to review and vote but that I would have to get them three more days from the other law review. Though I felt kind of lousy about asking them, the top-50 review did agree to give me the extra time. The top-25 review then came through with an offer, this time about 5 hours before the new deadline, which I accepted. Somewhat ironically, the offer was an exploding one, only good for 48 hours - no 3 day extension from them!
Posted by: Anonsubmitter | Mar 2, 2011 4:31:42 PM
A few thoughts on other postings:
--At this point in the season, if you get an instant rejection or no confirmation of receipt, those are good indications that the board hasn't turned over yet. (I tried a couple of years ago to add a line in my cover letter saying, "If you haven't yet transitioned to a new board, please hold this piece for review by them" or something like it, to no apparent avail). Try again in a few weeks.
--I strongly dislike the idea of telling journals a false deadline. The process is fraught enough without adding in deceit. Also, there is an "unraveling" problem that could arise if lots of people do this: journals will simply miss deadlines on the assumption everyone is lying, leading to everyone lying even more, etc. Let's not start that, please. Editors, we tell you the truth! (If you, submitter, are a rational self-maximizer, let me add that many journals demand that you provide the phone number of a contact person at the offering journal. Do you really want to be black-listed to get yourself 12 hours?)
--I agree with the thought that many journals would welcome more submissions. First-time submitters should consider more than the top 50 unless "Supreme Court of the United States" appears on their c.v. Getting published is hard; turning up on westlaw search is easy.
Posted by: BDG | Mar 2, 2011 4:40:29 PM
BDG, I am relieved to see your post. I was honest in what I communicated as my expedite deadline, and I've been panicking ever since I read the earlier comment recommending some built-in padding.
Given that the deadline I communicated is the actual deadline, should I plan on accepting the original offer that evening, since no 5pm deadline was communicated?
Posted by: Anon | Mar 2, 2011 4:54:14 PM
What explanation (if any) do you give when you ask journal staff to give you more time to consider their publication offer? Do you openly say you'd like to wait to decide until you've had more time to hear from other journals?
I do want to negotiate for more time, but was wondering if anyone could volunteer some kind of delicate phrasing to use in this email that would help keep bad feelings to a minimum?
Posted by: clueless newbie | Mar 2, 2011 4:57:51 PM
I'm fascinated at these stories that people received a slew of e-mails confirming receipt, since I submitted a week ago to 70 journals and received exactly ONE e-mail confirmation. I have clicked on "delivery status" via expresso, though, and 32 of the submissions contain a date in the column called "confirmation of receipt."
I also racked up 9 rejections this week, all from those schools that *did* confirm receipt according to Expresso. Trying to sit tight per the advice of the various Anons and not consider it a clear message that I should under no circumstances embarrass myself by showing up at AALS this fall.
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 2, 2011 5:36:11 PM
What should I make of the fact that in the week since submission I've received precisely two acknowledgement emails and only three rejections? (Georgetown dinged me today.). I basically submitted to #25-125 if that matters. Does the fact that it was an empirical-ish piece mean it's going to take awhile because the boards have to run it by a prof? (And if so, yuck.)
Posted by: Joe | Mar 2, 2011 5:52:41 PM
Ten rejections for me! I'm changing my plan: I want to be the most-rejected submitter in Expresso history.
Posted by: gulp | Mar 2, 2011 6:16:08 PM
BDG, regarding your first thought: If your supposition about a later board turnover is correct, would you suggest withdrawing the piece from those journals from which one has yet to receive any kind of acknowledgment of receipt, and then resubmitting? And should the resubmitted piece bear a new title, or does that not matter? And does it follow that it might make sense to resubmit to those journals from which one received an immediate rejection?
(Others can feel free to ring in as well.)
Posted by: another anon | Mar 2, 2011 6:16:42 PM
Another anon --
I don't think that you should withdraw and resubmit the piece. Presumably, when the new board convenes, it will have a stack of submissions (including yours) to consider. I don't know that withdrawing and re-submitting helps any. To the contrary, it may confuse the process. I know that one top 25 law review will not consider submissions for another 2 weeks (and, in fact, they haven't sent any confirmation emails). But, they will be considering all submissions in due course.
As for the journals that immediately rejected the piece -- I think it depends on what the email said. If the email said that they carefully considered the piece and cannot extend an offer to you at this time then you shouldn't resubmit. If they sent an email with a mixed message ("Sorry, we are unable to consider your submission at this time. Our new board will begin reviewing submissions starting in March. We look forward to considering your work in the future."), then I might consider re-submitting in a couple of weeks.
Just my two cents.
Posted by: tm | Mar 2, 2011 7:17:05 PM
I don't necessarily agree with BDG's comment that early rejections (and I have gotten a few) are because the boards haven't turned over. All of my rejections at least imply -- and some flat out state -- that some sort of review was done. Of course, as others have already noted, a rejection of a 25,000 word pieces 45 minutes after submission suggests a less than thorough review, but the point is that I doubt resubmission will get you anywhere.
Posted by: yet another anon | Mar 2, 2011 7:40:46 PM
I freely admit that I have no specific information that leads me to think that a journal that bounces submissions in 45 minutes hasn't turned over yet. Yeah, maybe they just didn't like your piece. I was just rejected by a very good journal I know is reading within 36 hours of submission, so that certainly does happen. One hour is a different thing, though.
If you do re-submit, the best course to me seems to be to make it clear that you're doing that ("since it appeared that you were not yet reviewing submissions for the 2011-12 year..."), so that if the rejection was on the merits the journal doesn't waste resources screening it again. Even if you make it past through the first reader the second time around, what do you think will happen when the articles editor who dinged you initially sees you tried to full a fast one?
Also, to answer the other question, I think the convention is that deadlines expire at close of business in the relevant journal's time zone, i.e., around 5. As I've said before, I don't think it's cool to ask for more time just because you don't like the offer you've got, but reasonable minds can certainly differ on that one.
Posted by: BDG | Mar 2, 2011 9:06:43 PM
I know of at least one person who received an offer from Baylor, so "board turnover" is not the culprit. I was rejected by Baylor and have yet to hear from Missouri.
FWIW, I submitted in late February, and have received four offers, two top 100 and two top 50. Three of those four offers came as a result of an expedited review request (of course, my request for expedited review also produced quite a few rejections).
Posted by: AnonLawProf | Mar 2, 2011 9:24:56 PM
"I don't think it's cool to ask for more time just because you don't like the offer you've got"
Brian, is there any other reason to ask for more time except in the hope of getting a better offer?
Posted by: TJ | Mar 3, 2011 4:00:18 AM
team: fyi, columbia says it's not looking at pieces again until april and we can resubmit then. full text of email:
Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, we have already confirmed our final pieces for this year's issues and will be unable to consider your article. We begin reviewing articles again in April, and we invite you to submit this or any other articles then.
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 3, 2011 10:48:50 AM
I can't understand why journals would accept pieces in February when they won't begin to look at them until April? I guess if you're Columbia, though, you can do whatever you want.
Posted by: anon | Mar 3, 2011 11:06:42 AM
Does anyone have a sense of how hard it is to place response pieces in the online supplements to top law reviews? Do they typically only accept pieces from well-established authors (it is my sense that this is the case with Essays at most well-regarded law reviews, but I wasn't sure if the practice was the same for the online forums). Comments from current or recent law review editors on this issue would be greatly appreciated.
Posted by: Anon | Mar 3, 2011 12:49:49 PM
I got a different email from Columbia. Mine indicated they are currently reviewing articles. I would go ahead and submit to them--do not wait until April.
Posted by: anon | Mar 3, 2011 1:32:12 PM
@TJ: the "cool" reason to ask the offering journal for more time, IMHO, is because another journal has asked you to get an extension so they have time. (That's happened to me a number of times.) Just asking for more time in the distant hope someone else will pull it off the pile ties up the offering journal's slots, in exchange for very little benefit on your side in all likelihood. But not a major sin, certainly.
Posted by: BDG | Mar 3, 2011 4:47:38 PM
I apologize, I thought I had double-checked before posting- my e-mail was from a secondary journal at Columbia, but it only displays as "Columbia Journal of Law" in my inbox unless I open the e-mail and click to display the full sender info. So sorry to add to the confusion!
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 3, 2011 7:02:00 PM
I see. My own practice is to only ask for more time in the sense you describe, unless the journal offers less than a week to begin with. I do think that caveat is important. After all, the logical move for a journal if every professor subscribed to your theory, in extremis, would be to offer only exploding offers with no time to decide at all.
Posted by: TJ | Mar 3, 2011 8:06:04 PM
I don't have anything out there right now, but just to add my experience to the pile . . . First, I was and am a practitioner (for a couple more months anyway). I submitted via ExpressO to a total of about 95 general law reviews and one specialty journal. The general reviews were a rough combination of the top 100 from USNWR and the W&L journal rankings with the very top (Harvard, Yale, etc.) omitted (as well as some others that were not taking submissions in late July). I got my first acceptance 4 days after submission from what was likely the lowest ranked general law review to which I submitted. [Critically for me, however, this acceptance came the day before FAR forms were due and enabled me to include my article in the "accepted works" section rather than as a work in progress.] I expedited and got 2 more acceptances about 10 days after the expedite request. Both of these offers were from top 100 journals. Re-expedited and, at the last possible moment (literaly 15 minutes before I accepted one of the existing offers), I got an offer from a Top 50 journal. I actually re-re-expedited (as the T50 was not pushing for a fast response) and, having climbed as high as could have reasonably hoped, accepted the T50 offer exactly 1 month after I initially submitted via ExpressO.
I firmly believe that the acceptance, expedite, more acceptance, re-expedite enabled me to get the highest and best placement for the piece because it showed this was a hot (or luke warm) article that was worth reading and considering.
So, don't give up hope -- especially you practitioners. Plus, I landed a tenure-track position for next year despite the afformentioned article being my first academic publication (and having only 4 AALS meatmarket interviews).
Posted by: Atticus | Mar 4, 2011 11:53:45 AM
If you receive a final board read at a top five journal but your piece is rejected, what is the likelihood of receiving an actual offer from a top journal?
Posted by: Anon08 | Mar 4, 2011 7:55:54 PM
How did you know that you got a final board read? Do the journals normally tell you when they reach that step?
Posted by: Anon | Mar 4, 2011 8:06:00 PM
Some of them inform you that they have reached that stage, but if they ultimately reject your article, its difficult to tell what this means in the overall scheme of things. Theoretically, you could end up with no offers even if you had final board reads at top journals. That is why I am soliciting some anecdotal evidence about other people's experiences.
Posted by: Anon08 | Mar 4, 2011 8:19:47 PM
In my experience, it's pretty rare to get up to full review at such a high level without ultimately placing in an excellent journal (i.e., at least top 30ish.)
Posted by: anon | Mar 4, 2011 10:44:57 PM
If you know you are getting a final board read, should you contact other top 10 journals and let them know that?
Posted by: anon2 | Mar 4, 2011 11:35:53 PM
Atticus: I really appreciated hearing your experience. I too am a practicing attorney that one day hopes to join the academic ranks. I have a couple specialty journal publications (from invites), but have recently started work on a longer piece that I will eventually submit through the process we are discussing here. Glad to hear that some practicing attorneys are getting published this way. Good luck with your new position. I am happy for you.
Any advice for someone just starting to plan and research an article to submit for publication next year? Unfortunately firms aren't as supportive of law schools of writing law review articles, so I will need the year to write it.
Posted by: Anon | Mar 4, 2011 11:37:55 PM
For what little it may be worth, during last spring's submission season I was informed by a top 5 general law review that my piece had made it to a final board read, but that they had elected not to accept it. The piece ultimately was accepted by a top 30 journal approximately a month later.
Posted by: Business Law Prof | Mar 5, 2011 10:30:07 AM
I have an offer from a top-40 law review and am eager to accept, but I've still not heard anything from the 22 of the 25 journals I contacted for expedited review. My offer deadline is approaching in a couple of days. Does the silence mean they are actively considering it or that they aren't looking? Also, when should I accept the current offer -- is early afternoon sufficient? I'm eager to accept but I don't want to foreclose a higher placement if that is also in the cards...
Posted by: anon | Mar 5, 2011 10:32:55 AM
Any activity over the weekend?
Posted by: gulp | Mar 6, 2011 7:02:42 PM
Have people who submitted to the top 50 or so this season been getting offers without having to play the expedite ladder-up game (which is an unfortunate commentary on our legal and academic culture) . . .
How many more weeks do we have for "offer" season (which is perhaps distinct from submission season because of the lag time between submission and reading).
And finally, is it just me and my piece or have the offers taken unusually long to come this season? In the past, I've had offers within the first week. This is now the close of the second week since submission without an offer. Should I be worried? (This time around, I only submitted to the top 50 journals, some of which have not even clicked the acknowledgment button).
Posted by: Ansi | Mar 6, 2011 8:35:17 PM
Submitted in Fall 2009 (late August) to top 80 or so - not a nibble (a few rejections and silence). Submitted same piece (after major revisions) this past cycle to top 50 or so - acceptance after five days from a top 50 then expedited to the next 30. Offer from top 5 journal that I did not expedite to on day 6. The expedite yielded one offer from a top 25 and two other likely offers (one top 20 and one top 30) as revealed by the senior articles editors after I withdrew the piece. I'm not sure if it is a commentary on our legal and academic culture, but instead more of a reflection on the limitations of student selection processes and particularly the burdens on students of a system that yields an extraordinary number of submissions. As a result of these processes, students are very much reliant on whatever additional signals that they can get as to quality after reading the pieces that they can get to (or at least the abstract and intro of those pieces). And unfortunately the expedite is an important signal.
Posted by: FWIW | Mar 6, 2011 9:22:27 PM
@FWIW, I'm confused. If you got an offer from a top 5 journal without expediting, doesn't that kind of disprove (or at least undermine) your theory that "the expedite is an important signal"?
Posted by: TJ | Mar 6, 2011 10:45:56 PM
Not really. Expediting is an important signal, but not the only signal. It is an important signal because it got my piece read almost instantly by at least three journals that either extended an offer or indicated their intention to extend an offer (had I not withdrawn) after the expedite. But it is clearly not the only signal (since some journal has to accept before any expedite can be made) as reflected in the willingness of the top 5 journal to extend an offer without an expedite.
Posted by: FWIW | Mar 6, 2011 11:25:26 PM
Thanks FWIW. The account is instructive to newer folks - patience and revision are virtues that will ultimately find reward. I gather that the piece was submitted in fall 2009 and placed in fall 2010.
Posted by: Ansi | Mar 7, 2011 11:50:51 AM
I hope you're right about ultimately finding reward, Ansi. I've gone more than two weeks now, still nothing. And I submitted to more than the top 50. Acknowledgments and rejections less frequent in recent days.
Posted by: gulp | Mar 7, 2011 6:37:49 PM
One thought and one question from a practitioner:
1. I submitted about a week ago and letters of reception, acceptances and rejections are much slower than the last time I submitted (2 years ago).
2. For an aspiring academic (aspiring to teach at a 3rd or 4th tier school due to resume limitations), what is the lowest journal that is "worth" publishing in? I've previously published in a top 5 specialty journal and a cusp of tier 1/tier 2 law review, and I am afraid of tarnishing a "good" publication resume. How low should I be willing to go? I'm thinking that anything below a tier 2 LR might not be worth accepting, though I'm not sure (I'm currently accepted at a 3rd tier LR, and might be wary of accepting there). I recognize that I can always edit and re-submit in the fall.
Posted by: Mikey | Mar 7, 2011 9:08:53 PM
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