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Friday, August 04, 2017

Law Review Submission Angsting Thread: Fall 2017

It looks to be about that time of year again.  Post here for comments about your law review submission experiences.  I'm wondering if the Northwestern exclusive review, with its decisions made by July 28, has moved up the process a bit.

UPDATE: You can get to the last page of the comments here.

Posted by Matt Bodie on August 4, 2017 at 08:32 AM in Law Review Review | Permalink


Submitted a week ago. Rejections from NC and Texas.

Posted by: LawProf | Aug 4, 2017 9:13:04 AM

Submitted on 7/25. Acceptances from two specialty journals and a T50ish law review. Rejection from Stanford (with subject line, "Your Article Has Been Rejected.") Under committee review at a lower T20 LR. No other responses.

Posted by: Lawprof | Aug 4, 2017 9:34:46 AM

Any sense from folks out there when places like Fordham, GW, UCLA, Utah, and Wisconsin are going to open up?

Posted by: Matt Bodie | Aug 4, 2017 10:00:27 AM

Submitted in late July. Rejections from North Carolina and Washington. Acceptances from two T50-75ish journals. Total silence for several days.

Posted by: YetAnotherProf | Aug 4, 2017 10:01:39 AM

This thread always gets unwieldy and difficult to assimilate, so I'll try to be helpful with the following information, which represents the best of my understanding based on recent personal experience.

Journals that are open, with some details about their processes:

Alabama Law Review
Arizona Law Review
Boston College Law Review
California Law Review
Cornell Law Review
Columbia Law Review (definitely reviewing, gives 1 hour for offers made off an expedite)
Duke Law Journal (definitely reviewing, gives 7 days for offers)
The Georgetown Law Journal (gives around 24 hours for offers)
Georgia Law Review
Harvard Law Review (gives 7 days)
Iowa Law Review (making offers, gives around 5 days)
Michigan Law Review (making offers, gives firm 24 hours for offers)
New York University Law Review (open and reviewing but unlikely to make offers before Aug. 7)
North Carolina Law Review
Northwestern University Law Review
Southern California Law Review
Stanford Law Review (open and reviewing but unlikely to make offers before Aug. 13, gives 7 days)
Texas Law Review
The University of Chicago Law Review (gives 7 days)
University of Illinois Law Review
University of Pennsylvania Law Review (definitely reviewing, gives firm 1 hour for offers made off an expedite)
Vanderbilt Law Review (definitely reviewing)
Washington Law Review
William & Mary Law Review
The Yale Law Journal (making offers, gives 7 days)

Journals not yet open:

UCLA Law Review (Aug. 11)
Washington University Law Review (Sept.)
The George Washington Law Review (Aug. 21)
Fordham Law Review (Aug. 15)

Journals that (I believe) are full:

Minnesota Law Review
Notre Dame Law Review (except for Fed Courts Issue)
Boston University Law Review
Indiana Law Journal

Any editors reading this can correct me if my impressions are mistaken.

Posted by: Scott Dodson | Aug 4, 2017 1:00:27 PM

I submitted 8/1. I got rejected by the Berkeley Tech Law Journal within 45 minutes (at least the rejection didn't say it came "after careful review"). Another ding by Nevada on 8/2. Neither journal stated it was full.

Adding on to Scott's post above, Georgia is promising to make decisions within 10 days of submissions and will be requiring acceptances within 10 days of an offer.

Posted by: Dancing | Aug 4, 2017 3:37:48 PM

Rejected by George Mason. Will write it because the article is leftist.

Posted by: Lawprof | Aug 4, 2017 5:49:28 PM

Barrage of dings last night and early morning today. Don't these kids go to bars on Friday nights?

Posted by: Law | Aug 5, 2017 8:15:39 AM

Submitted early this past week, and got quick dings from Nevada and Vandy. Otherwise silence.

Posted by: NCProf | Aug 5, 2017 9:31:29 AM

Thanks a lot, Scott, for that thorough list.

Posted by: Matt Bodie | Aug 5, 2017 2:37:39 PM

The UC Davis Law Review will begin reviewing submissions on August 14. As the faculty advisor, I'm told they are looking for around 12 articles during the Fall submissions season. (For what it's worth, the Davis Law Review generally fills two issues in the Spring, two in the Fall, and one through its annual symposium.)

Posted by: Brian Soucek | Aug 5, 2017 3:36:47 PM

Brian, what helpful info -- thank you! If other law review advisors want to share similar information, that would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by: LawProf | Aug 5, 2017 4:53:33 PM

dings from cornell and mich within seconds of each other this morning.

Posted by: Law | Aug 6, 2017 8:52:36 AM

I likewise received a ding from Cornell this morning.

Posted by: LawProf | Aug 6, 2017 9:09:47 AM

As faculty advisor to Hastings Law Journal, I can confirm that HLJ is open and reviewing. FYI, HLJ sends articles through a peer-review step before making an offer.

Posted by: Scott Dodson | Aug 6, 2017 12:50:50 PM

Thanks Scott. Would you mind sharing a brief glimpse into how the peer review process works?

Posted by: Axel Foley | Aug 6, 2017 1:12:52 PM

Axel, I can give a glimpse based on my dealings, but keep in mind that HLJ is run by the students, so this information is second hand. Here goes:

If an editor reads a submission and thinks it may be worthy of publication, the editor sends the article to a professor who has agreed to be called as a peer reviewer and who has an academic interest in the subject matter. A negative peer review usually leads to a rejection. If the peer review comes back positive, there is an additional vote by HLJ before any offer is made.

Posted by: Scott Dodson | Aug 6, 2017 4:02:09 PM

Scott - it's great to hear that HLJ does this. I'm a law professor at a business school, and most of my colleagues are shocked to hear that law reviews don't have formalized peer review. Too bad this isn't the norm.

Posted by: New prof | Aug 6, 2017 8:14:28 PM

What Scott describes is not really peer review. It is a peer veto system. In a peer review system, the review itself is subject to review by peers, both by the peer editors of the journal as well as through a response by the author(s). I don't know whether the peer veto system is better than a system with no peer involvement at all, but we should not confuse it with real peer review.

Posted by: lawprof | Aug 6, 2017 10:15:41 PM

There's a lot of confusion over what "peer review" is and isn't. Many judges, for example, confuse it with study replication -- something entirely different. I recently looked into this for an article I just finished with my frequent coauthor (a Ph.D.) in which we debunked some judicial misconceptions about behavioral research. I'm not terribly impressed with peer review; it sounds much better than it is. And I'm not even referring to the serious drawbacks (from the author's perspective) of peer-reviewed, exclusive-submission journals.

In the course of my research, I found this very useful article in the IL L Rev Online, "Law Review v. Peer Review": https://illinoislawreview.org/online/law-review-vs-peer-review/

As an aside, I was also surprised to learn that: (1) one of my previous publications had been peer reviewed; and (2) I had actually been asked to be a peer reviewer for an international, peer-reviewed journal. I had no idea, at that time, that THAT was what peer review was. I simply kept ignoring the multiple email requests and eventually they stopped asking. Had I known that was "peer review," maybe I would have done it. Although I knew peer review was NOT study replication, I had been under the impression that it was more than simply sending the article to outside peers for comments before deciding whether to extend an offer.

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 7, 2017 4:50:45 AM

Would love if we could keep this thread from detouring into an overly academic debate of the term "peer review." Instead, could we stick to the intended purpose of sharing new related to THIS submission cycle?

Posted by: LawProf | Aug 7, 2017 8:07:28 AM

Penn's editors "enjoyed" my article! So that's something.

Posted by: Law | Aug 7, 2017 8:12:28 AM

Georgia ding 8/5.

Posted by: Dancing | Aug 7, 2017 10:16:59 AM

Peer review is a great idea, provided that it is double-blind. I was on a T6 law review articles committee, and even though we debated the "merits" of the article, we largely deferred to the author's reputation/school ranking. Jack Balkin's grocery list would get a better placement than a perfectly written, well-reasoned piece by a no-name assistant prof at a low-ranked school.

Posted by: peer review supporter | Aug 7, 2017 10:18:37 AM

So far I've had 3 acceptances, 2 rejections, none of them off an expedite. With my deadline approaching, I've heard nothing in response to my expedite request. While I guess silence is better than rejection, it would be nice to have some indication that my piece is being read.

I gripe about this process every time I go through it, but nothing ever changes - indeed, the submissions cycle seems to grow more arbitrary and unpredictable each year.

Posted by: YetAnotherProf | Aug 7, 2017 12:55:45 PM

YetAnotherProf: Why gripe when you have three acceptances? This is unheard of elsewhere. In the link I provided above, the author describes one article that took 583 days from submission to acceptance. And as far as timing, I think journals have always had different "opening" dates; that hasn't changed since I've been publishing.

EVERYONE: Put aside, for a moment, the "prestigious" print journals, e.g., Harvard CR-CL L Rev. My question is: What is generally considered preferable among the profs? An online companion journal to a flagship or a specialty print journal? Here's an example: Cornell L. Rev. Online or Cornell J. Law & Pub Pol? Thoughts?

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 7, 2017 1:16:38 PM

Mr. Cicchini's question invites a follow-up: has anyone compiled a list of the "prestigious" specialties?

Which specialty journals outperform the "Rank + 50" rule? Are there any that underperform, or are even the worst-ranked Harvard and Yale specialties effectively top-50 placements?

Note that W&L seems especially unreliable here. For instance, it puts Harvard CR-CL down at 866--which means it's Harvard's lowest-ranked print specialty, as well as much lower than, for example, the Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review.

Posted by: Aspirational | Aug 7, 2017 1:53:57 PM

I just submitted yesterday (8/7), and this thread is causing super-angst. Do you think I'm too late?

Posted by: anonE | Aug 8, 2017 9:29:31 AM

Stealth ding from Illinois 8/7.

Posted by: Dancing | Aug 8, 2017 9:53:47 AM

I also submitted yesterday (8/7) around noon and am not at all worried that I submitted too late. I guess it's entirely possible that if you submitted yesterday after I did that that was too late. And may god have mercy on the souls of anyone that submitted today.

Posted by: Chill | Aug 8, 2017 12:30:41 PM

@Chill - how long do you think until we hear? This was my first submission. Ack! So far, nothing, so at least no one rejected it out of hand.

Posted by: anonE | Aug 8, 2017 12:40:59 PM

Best advice is to chill, no matter how hard that is. There's no reason or discipline in the process. It's entirely possible to submit to 70 journals, get rejections from 5-10 over two weeks, four weeks later get an offer from a top 20 journal, and never hear a peep from the rest.

Sometimes there's a lot more communication than that. Sometimes not. Regardless, that sort of outcome (top 20 placement) is a good one. So don't sweat the silence.

I know it's not a comforting or relaxing answer. But in my mind/experience, it's the best way to approach things.

Posted by: Chill | Aug 8, 2017 2:41:30 PM

How will the pending nuclear war affect the timing of Articles Committee decisions?

Posted by: Lawprof | Aug 8, 2017 6:30:27 PM

It's just another exploding expedite.

Posted by: Aspirational | Aug 8, 2017 6:38:49 PM

Am thinking it has flummoxed them all into inaction.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 8, 2017 10:30:05 PM

RE: "prestigious" specialties.
I don't know about other journals, but in international law, the Virginia Journal of International Law, the Harvard International Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law are considered to be the top journals. These are particularly important journals for international law scholars because their work tend not to be considered in main law reviews (effectively VJIL, HILJ and YJIL become the venue for best pieces written by int'l l. scholars). Many in the field consider these journals to be better placement than top 20-40 main law reviews.

Posted by: int'l | Aug 9, 2017 1:23:34 AM

can anyone weigh in on the ranking of crim law specialty journals?

Posted by: midwest | Aug 9, 2017 2:07:50 AM

The tech journals at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Yale, Columbia, Vandy, and Michigan are very well-regarded. I'm junior faculty, and I've had a few articles accepted in those journals and a T50-75 law review, and I've always been advised to publish in the good secondary journal. I also had one article that was accepted by a T25 law review and rejected by all of those tech journals.

Posted by: IP Prof | Aug 9, 2017 4:05:35 AM

Hi everyone, I'm very much new to the american law reviews submission process.
I was wondering how long do law reviews normally take with a expedite. I have sent an expedite request this Sunday to some reviews, and so far radio silence. Are they waiting for the final date or is non-response a normal thing?
My offer will expire this Sunday and I'm considering asking for another week.

Posted by: PhD student | Aug 9, 2017 6:19:20 AM

*an expedite

Posted by: PhD student | Aug 9, 2017 6:19:59 AM

It's fine to ask for an extension. In my experience, I have gotten them about 3/4 of the time, though sometimes for shorter periods than i requested. Also keep in mind that some journals never notify you about rejections, which I think is inconsiderate.

Posted by: Lawprof | Aug 9, 2017 6:28:05 AM


Posted by: PhD student | Aug 9, 2017 6:34:51 AM

Most of my offers off of expedites have come in on the last possible day

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 9, 2017 9:05:40 AM

Recent dings from Cornell, Penn, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Vanderbilt, and Columbia.

Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2017 9:15:04 AM

9:15:04 anon -- when did you submit? Thanks.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 9, 2017 9:26:14 AM


Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2017 9:30:45 AM

Earlier posters have reported dings from Yale, Stanford, NC, and Illinois. Anyone hear from them lately? Thanks.

Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2017 9:32:38 AM

I received rejections two days ago from Yale and Stanford. I've received two offers, one from a T75 and one from a lower T50.

Posted by: LawProf | Aug 9, 2017 9:39:46 AM

Submitted a week ago. Recent dings from W&M, W&L, Arizona State.

Posted by: DPRK C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. | Aug 9, 2017 9:42:58 AM

9:39:46 LawProf, did you submit on 7/25? I'm just trying to get a sense for the turnaround time. Thanks.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 9, 2017 9:48:27 AM

Rejections from Columbia (Articles) and Georgetown this morning. Submitted early last week.

Posted by: Angster | Aug 9, 2017 9:55:25 AM

Ack! My first law review batch submission through Scholastica, and I did not attach a cover letter. Should I go back and add one through a discussion? Or withdraw the batch submission and re-send? Any other ideas?

Posted by: JSH | Aug 9, 2017 10:42:20 AM

I would leave it alone. A lot of people do not bother to attach a cover letter. As this thread, including an interview with editors, revealed a couple years ago, law reviews are so pressed for times that they rarely read the cover letter. This fact is all the more reason why your abstract must be included in the body of article, not left to a form-fill in the submission process.

I do "think" that the cover letter does help pull in a few editors who bother to read them, but I don't think any small benefit with that justifies the downside of the negative signals a post-submission conversation or a withdraw and resubmit would likely convey.

Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2017 11:05:34 AM

AnonE, I submitted July 27th to all who were open and then to the other T75 journals as they came online. Hope this helps!

Posted by: LawProf | Aug 9, 2017 11:37:19 AM

Just to confirm the randomness of the fall submission season and (hopefully) ease some tensions for those who worry they submitted to late. Last fall I submitted an article on October 6 (October 6!) after my colleagues said I was crazy and wasting my time. Granted, many journals had closed by then, but after a grueling two weeks of waiting I received and accepted a T30 offer. I wouldn't recommend waiting that long - who knows if I might have gotten a better placement at one of the closed journals - but the experience goes to show that anything can happen at any time.

On the other hand, I dutifully submitted to all available T100 journals on 8/1 and have continued submitting as new journals open. Complete. Radio. Silence. Maybe no insta-dings is a good-ish sign?

Posted by: Chillangster | Aug 9, 2017 12:56:44 PM

I have some technical questions.
If an offering journal agrees to grant an extension, how do I let other journals know they have more time? Do I send a new expedite request or just send an email to explain?
Is there an advantage in asking for an extension if none of the recipient journals asked for more time?

Posted by: PhD student | Aug 9, 2017 1:39:46 PM

Synthesizing submission/response dates, it seems that, while a couple of journals send immediate dings, the norm is about a week turnaround for any response. Anecdotally, people are referencing some T50-T75 acceptances, but no one has mentioned any T20, or even T20-49. The process creeps glacially along.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 9, 2017 2:54:05 PM

Has anyone else tried to view their submitted "manuscript" on Scholastica, only to find that it loads partially? Mine shows up as 15 blank pages until page 16. But, if I "download" the pdf, it looks fine. I'm concern editors will ignore my piece if it doesn't load promptly and completely.

Posted by: Darby | Aug 9, 2017 5:18:44 PM

Darby--that's a perennial problem with Scholastica, and I don't think it affects anything. (I assume most editors download a PDF or Word doc). Don't sweat it.

Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2017 5:34:06 PM

How do you all keep track of different formatting specifications when submitting through ExpressO/Scholastica? Journal A wants double-spaced text and single-spaced footnotes, Journal B wants all double-spaced, Journal C wants wide margins, etc. If you get an offer and would like to use it as a basis for expedite, does the system recognize all of these versions as the same "article" for purposes of electronic verification of the original offer?

Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2017 6:50:37 PM

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