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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Evolving Law Review Selection Processes (Part II)

Yesterday I blogged about a couple journals who took an unusual approach to publication offers, making multiple authors race to accept one offer, rather than the usual process where we make journals wait to see if we will accept their offer or expedite up. http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2015/10/exploding-offers-from-law-reviews-a-new-trend.html

The post sparked a... spirited discussion about the fairness and efficiency of the current law review selection processes. So, I thought I'd mention another unusual approach to article selection, this one from Ole Miss's flagship journal, the Mississippi Law Journal. In their own words:

Established in 2014, the Mississippi Law Journal’s innovative peer review process adds a valuable new dimension to the Journal’s tradition of excellence. Like most American law reviews, the Mississippi Law Journal is a student-edited journal. The majority of its articles are selected by student editors—sometimes with input from University of Mississippi School of Law faculty. However, a few of its articles are now selected and workshopped through an alternative process involving formal review by faculty peer reviewers. These articles are published in the Mississippi Law Journal as peer reviewed articles.

The Journal’s peer review process has two major components: (i) peer selection of articles and (ii) peer workshopping opportunities for authors.


The Journal’s Editorial Board selects articles for publication in the peer review forum based on the recommendations of faculty peer reviewers—members of a Peer Review Board staffed by UM law faculty. The Editorial Board forwards a subset of articles from its general pool of submissions to peer reviewers for blind review. The articles are selected for peer review principally on the basis of the peer reviewers’ common areas of scholarly expertise. The Peer Review Board meets each week during the fall and spring submission seasons to discuss articles in depth and endorse a small number as worthy of special peer review publication. The Journal’s faculty peer reviewers are committed to the rigorous review of anonymized articles within their joint areas of specialization. . . .

Full disclosure, my article, Underestimating the Trial Penalty: An Empirical Analysis of the Federal Trial Penalty and Critique of the Abrams Study, was one of the first articles selected through this new process. (Look for my blog post on the article next week). The peer review aspects and workshop opportunities convinced me, a junior pretenured professor, to accept their offer over other arguably higher ranked journals.

If you wish to comment, please do so on the original thread, http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2015/10/exploding-offers-from-law-reviews-a-new-trend.html, to maintain the continuity of the conversation.

Posted by Andrew Chongseh Kim on October 22, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

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