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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I think most people mean USNWR (or possibly peer rep, as measured by USNWR). I doubt many mean W&L. Even though W&L is a wonderful, wonderful source, few in legal academia are, say, familiar with the rough ordering of the top 50 in W&L - whereas most are somewhat familiar with the top 50 in US news or even the top 50 peer rep.
Posted by: Vap'in 4 the market | Apr 19, 2011 10:57:08 AM
I haven't heard from S/Y. I submitted last year, too, and I just checked when I got the email letting me know of that rejection. It was 5/4/10.
Posted by: gulp | Apr 19, 2011 11:20:40 AM
Thanks! I will be on the lookout for my rejection e-mail on or around 5/4!
Posted by: Anon | Apr 19, 2011 11:27:11 AM
Has anyone here landed what you'd personally consider a dream placement and if so can you share w/ us your story?
Posted by: anxious | Apr 19, 2011 12:39:40 PM
I got a placement that I was very happy with -- Top 15-20 journal (depending on what ranking system you use), I am preparing to go on the market next year. I submitted in early February to around the top 100, waited for about 5 weeks with only rejections. (Despite the fact that this was totally agonizing, I would think about submitting early again -- I think that it is too easy to get buried in the pile later in the process).
Got an offer from a 100-ish ranked journal, expedited, got the top 15-20 offer almost immediately (I suspect the piece must have already been under review given how fast I got the offer). I did not get any other offers off the expedite, although I did get told that I reached a full board review at one other journal.
If I had to guess what made a difference in the placement, I would say it was taking my time to do a major rewrite after getting initial feedback, including completely revising the introduction 3 times. Several of my readers gave me the helpful reminder that the introduction is often what sells (or doesn't) a piece, so it is really important to have it be: (1) well written; (2) concise; (3) frontload what your contribution is.
In any event, that was my experience FWIW. This process is crazy, so who knows!
Posted by: Non-Prawf | Apr 19, 2011 12:56:15 PM
@ Vap'in 4 the Market. Do you think that holds true for Tier 2 law schools? I have an offer from a journal from a school ranked in the 70s in USNEWS but below 100 in the W&L rankings. I'm expediting but submitted late so not sure how much interest I'll get. Trying to decide if this is my only offer whether to take it or withdraw my piece and try again in the fall cycle.
Posted by: anonymouse | Apr 19, 2011 1:34:32 PM
Yes I do. When we're talking about proxies (for how good an article is), a proxy needs to be well known in order to be a strong proxy. So, impact factor (average citations per article) of a journal might be a good proxy in theory, but most people are not super-aware of the impact factor ratings for, say, the top 100 journals. Conversely, everyone is generally familiar with US News rankings (though of course they fluctuate from year to year, so you should try to use a 5 or 10-yr average to have an accurate sense of how good a school is perceived as being, at least in recent history). Similar with peer rep, most people have at least a general sense of that (e.g., "oh, ______ has a really good faculty - a better faculty than their school's typical ranking.") I think it's generally safe (and ideal) to base a decision on a combination of 5-year averages for peer rep and us news ranking. Just my 2 cents. As to whether you should withdraw and resubmit, I suppose that's up to you - whether you're content with your current offer.
Posted by: Vap'in 4 the market | Apr 19, 2011 1:45:13 PM
disagree with prior comment. i know lots of folks who average usnews and w/l rankings to decide between two journals.
Posted by: anonprof | Apr 19, 2011 4:15:59 PM
I'm out. Accepted earlier today.
Posted by: Joe | Apr 19, 2011 7:20:31 PM
Here's my situation.
Starting Feb. 14, and continuing through the first week of March, I have submitted to 125 journals. Included are all the top 100 journals as well as roughly the 25 ranked thereafter.
So far no offers. 28 rejections, so 97 outstanding. I have received one notification of full board review from a secondary journal at at top 15 school, but ultimately my peice was not chosen. I am also receiving full board review from a law review at a school ranked in the 70s; no decision has been announced yet on that.
Here's my question. Given that I have received full board review at a couple of decent journals, is it safe to assume that a good chunk of the 97 journals that have not contacted me have me on a B list or are otherwise considering my peice, or is it just that an extremely high percentage of journals simply do not inform authors of rejections? I know that some journals never contact authors, but I didn't think it would be THAT high of a percentage.
Posted by: Anotheranon | Apr 20, 2011 1:05:29 PM
Based on my experience, now publishing my 4th piece: a large majority (greater than 50%, maybe much more) of journals do not contact you.
Journals review on a rolling basis. For example, I know several who are on break for exams now and will review starting in May for a few weeks and then shutter (reviewing only very slowly) during the summer, when people are off around the world doing summer internships. The pace picks up again in August...
So I think offers will still continue trickling in over the next weeks, but the pace should be slowing now.
Posted by: anxious | Apr 20, 2011 1:36:06 PM
Anyone receive an offer in the past few days? I am wondering if all the journals have mostly closed up shop for finals now.
Posted by: ? | Apr 21, 2011 3:56:43 PM
Nothing recent but a few rejections in response to an expedite request and a few others promising they would review in time for my deadline. The only journal that specifically stated that it was not reviewing anything, including expedite requests,until after finals was UCLA Law Review.
Posted by: anonymouse | Apr 21, 2011 4:31:25 PM
@anonymouse, when is your deadline?
Posted by: anxious | Apr 21, 2011 5:19:26 PM
Has anyone received any top 50 offers THIS week?
Posted by: anon | Apr 21, 2011 6:32:28 PM
Deadline is Monday.
Posted by: anonymouse | Apr 21, 2011 6:47:43 PM
anon at 6:32. Yes, I received a top 25 (or 30, depending on ranking you use) this week. Submitted to 150 or so journals in first week of March. 12 offers, two top 5 board reviews (both came back no). Before this placement (which I obviously am thrilled about), my "highest" offer was in the 70s. Some top journals are still reviewing, though others are on break until May as people have indicated. I am a junior prof and this is only my 2nd time playing the Expresso game.
Posted by: strange game | Apr 21, 2011 8:35:39 PM
So, having finished my piece now, I'm way too late to submit it aren't I?
Posted by: Sillyquestion | Apr 22, 2011 2:18:58 AM
Better to wait until early August at this point.
Posted by: Anon | Apr 22, 2011 8:12:51 AM
Congratulations strange game - that's great!
Posted by: anonymouse | Apr 22, 2011 9:43:00 AM
Please keep the comments coming re: Stanford/Yale JFF. I have not heard anything yet but would be curious to get any real-time info from folks as I'm also trying to make travel plans for May/June. Also, anyone heard from NYC area junior faculty workshop?
Posted by: sleepless | Apr 22, 2011 2:43:32 PM
I am out. Officially accepted offer from T40 law review, who was kind enough to offer me a 10 day extension for an offer from a T3 law review that asked for an extension. Eventually was dinged from T3 though.
Just want to echo Non-prawf at Apr 19, 2011 12:56:15 PM. Focus on being articulate and succinct. One of my major mistakes was allowing my article to become too long (65 pages). I just had time to finish, but not enough time to make things succinct.
Best of luck to everyone else...
Posted by: anxious | Apr 23, 2011 5:07:50 PM
Can anyone who served on law review (I did not) enlighten me regarding the approximate odds of an article being accepted, once it goes to a final board vote?
1 in 2?
1 in 3?
I'm sure it varies from year to year, and from journal to journal. I'd just like to get a rough sense.
Posted by: ? | Apr 25, 2011 4:06:47 PM
I was an articles editor at one of the top law reviews more than a decade ago. Maybe things are different now, but "final board review" status wasn't something we typically conveyed to authors, and literally scores of articles went to "final board review" during the high season. For us, at least, I suppose it meant that a first read by an articles editor was successful and that all the articles editors would thereafter read, discuss and vote on the piece. Getting to that point was no small accomplishment, given the volume of submissions we had (and no doubt, it would be even more impressive now), but overwhelmingly most of the pieces that reached "final board review" were eventually rejected. Of course, maybe "final board review" means something different at different schools. If it means that the articles editors gave the piece a thumbs up, but that the EIC still needs to sign off on it, then the odds were approaching 100 percent that the piece would be picked up. If it means that the articles board was still considering the piece but hadn't voted yet, I'd put the odds at something like 1 in 15, or 1 in 20.
Posted by: xyz | Apr 25, 2011 9:15:26 PM
Thanks, xyz. I wonder if perhaps the journals that do notify authors of pending board votes accept a significantly higher percentage than your journal did. (It would seem odd to give authors this information at all, if the chances of a publication offer were still so low.)
Anyone else still riding the law review submission anxiety train?
Posted by: ? | Apr 26, 2011 12:23:58 AM
I'm out too. Nothing doing from expedite requests so I accepted an offer from a T80 general law review. I submitted late so toyed with the idea of withdrawing and resubmitting in August but decided a bird in the hand...
Posted by: anonymouse | Apr 26, 2011 9:09:29 AM
I heard somewhere that you have a 1 in 4 chance of getting an offer if you make it to a board read, but I have no idea what the basis for that stat is so it definitely goes in the FWIW column.
I'm still in, but I am off the train. No sense in being anxious, it is what it is. I was nervous at first but then realized that we have no control over how this plays out. Good luck to all those still in the struggle!
Posted by: Anon2 | Apr 26, 2011 10:27:25 AM
anxiety train, choo choo beep beep!
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Apr 26, 2011 11:17:45 AM
Vap'in 4 the market -- are you out? Did your top-40 expedite shake any apples from the trees?
Posted by: a | Apr 26, 2011 3:03:14 PM
My top 40 expedite did shake a couple of apples, but not from journals that are much, much higher. I'm still in the 30s - also still have a little bit of time, though I fear most law reviews are through reviewing ... and that I will be accepting my offer soon. Is anyone else still getting offers (of the top 30 variety)? Or put another way - does anyone know if any top 30 journals are still reviewing articles and extending offers - or are they all on break?
Posted by: Vap'in 4 the market | May 2, 2011 1:56:04 PM
Y'all may not be monitoring this thread anymore. The submission season is beyond waning, but I wanted to share the conclusion of my journey here. My article this go-around was a departure from my usual fare. I wanted to dive into a new field in which I was not well read and examine the intersection of my area of expertise. I wondered if my article would sound amateur, and I certainly began to wonder if it were too long at 35,000 words. My R&T chair told me it was "weird" but certainly deep and provocative, with his blessing.
I submitted the thing to the world on Feb. 23, then to other sets of 5 to 10 journals four or five more times to no avail. I got some encouraging feedback, some prods of interest, very few rejections, but no action.
At the close of the semester, I took some advice and brutally shortened the paper by about 6000 words and notified a few more journals even after finals were winding down.
This week, I got an offer from a T3 main journal, and another T2 main and two T1 specialities are considering it.
Is there a window at all?
This has been a peculiar, painful and very valuable process. I have learned much and am glad for success at the end. Despite a tortuous, wending path, I am very pleased with the eventual destination and think the paper has found an appropriate, fruitful home.
Posted by: South | Jun 6, 2011 6:21:11 PM
seconding south's story of randomness, here's my tale: submitted to maybe 120 journals in feb.; got about 40 rejections and silence from the rest. then my piece was accepted by a top 20 journal in JUNE. true story! i'm in shock.
Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Jun 16, 2011 2:23:22 PM
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