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Monday, February 05, 2018

Submission Angsting Spring 2018

This is the post to share information or ask questions about submitting to law reviews.

The comments can be used to share information, complaints, praise, etc. about which journals you have heard from, which you have not, and so forth.

Additionally, a spreadsheet to gather information is here (and embedded below).

I won't update or watch the spreadsheet. You can go ahead and add your own information by going to the spreadsheet here. The spreadsheet is editable by anyone, except that a few columns and a row (the ones highlighted in yellow) are locked, either because they auto-calculate or because tampering with them has caused a problem in the past. (If something about them needs to be changed post a comment, and I will change them.) As more information is added, I will do some pointless data calculations on subsequent sheets.

Entering information in the column entitled "Username" is of course totally optional, but a way to make keeping track easier. For example, if you pick a username, you will easily be able to sort by your entries and update them, instead of trying to remember what day you submitted and sorting that way. This also adds information -- showing, for example, that all of the entries on the spreadsheet come from one person, or from lots of people, etc. At any rate, totally optional, and simply a way to add more information.

Rostron & Levit's extremely helpful guide to submitting to law reviews is available here (this is the January 2018 version). Rostron and Levit have also posted a list of links to law review websites.

I cannot link to the last page of comments, due to a Typepad change.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on February 5, 2018 at 10:21 AM in Law Review Review | Permalink


Thanks for posting this thread. I was intrigued to see on the spreadsheet that someone had submitted to the Washington Law Review for an exclusive submission window, and then looked at the journal's website and realized that they have the option. (https://www.law.uw.edu/wlr/submissions/) Are more and more journals doing this, beyond Northwestern and H/Y/S?

Posted by: exclusive submissions? | Feb 5, 2018 5:16:20 PM

Exclusive, I think it would really make a lot of sense for T20 journals to do such a thing. It would settle the books a lot faster. I'm not sure that it would work outside of the Top 20, but who knows?

Posted by: Everybody and their sibling | Feb 5, 2018 6:22:01 PM

Submitted Feb 1. Top 20 secondary journal offer received.

Posted by: the ball's in play | Feb 6, 2018 7:45:46 AM

I have a memory, from when I was on a T15 law journal approx. 12 years ago (reading many submissions in hard copies!), of law professors who would write in their cover letters that they had submitted to the top 15 law reviews and would accept the first offer that they received without expediting. This was from already established scholars, but still, seems like a productive practice.

Just making conversation while I angst... submitted yesterday, no action yet.

Posted by: exclusive submissions? | Feb 6, 2018 10:40:26 AM

To take it one step further, I was thinking the other day that it would make sense for the T15-30 journals to all agree to switch to an exclusive submission system. Similar to the joint statement on article length issued a few years ago, collective action of this sort would substantially improve the current system, for both authors and editors IMO.

Posted by: Anonymoose | Feb 6, 2018 10:48:29 AM

I’m trying to be strategic with submissions (I’m paying my own way) and would appreciate advice the crowd has to offer.

I’m a non-prof; this is my first round of submissions to “traditional” law reviews (one prior pub in peer-reviewed law/social science journal that’s legal enough to be in W&L listings, plus student note).

I’m trying to figure out about what level of journal ranking to start submitting (eg look at top 100? 200? 300?) Goals are to place the piece (of course), aim high enough that a placement would be a net positive for job market a couple years out, and (if possible) avoid breaking the bank at journals where it’s unlikely to place as a nonprof still early in cv-building.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Posted by: wheretostart | Feb 7, 2018 2:28:06 AM


How would an exclusive submission benefit authors? Instead of submitting to 75 to 125 journals at once, you'll be submitting to one journal at a time and will angst away for the several weeks it takes for that journal to respond. In the meantime, all of the other journals (USN 31 and down) will be filling up before they can review your article. Your angsting will be through the roof.


Advice from the profs will differ, as they each have their own cutoffs. But some will reject offers and go without publishing entirely if a journal falls below a certain point on the USN scale. Some say that cutoff is USN 60, others say USN 80 or 100. (To profs, a USN 60 placement, for example, is not desirable, but neither will it hurt you.)

If your goal is to join the professoriate, then be careful: publishing in the wrong place will be viewed as a black mark on your resume. Also, unless you're incorporating specialty journals, which are difficult to compare to flagship journals, there are only about 200 (not 300) journals. On this matter, some profs think specialties should be avoided entirely, others think you have to add anywhere from 20 to 50 spots on the specialty journal's school's USN rank to compare it to a flagship. In short, it could be expensive (in submission costs) to land a placement suitable to your goals. Good luck!

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Feb 7, 2018 8:55:10 AM

Thanks Michael Cicchini. I was including specialties and also looking at W&L law review rankings - sounds like, given my goals, I should perhaps focus on flagships (and on USN) and hope for the best.

Posted by: wheretostart | Feb 7, 2018 10:03:41 AM

wheretostart: it's breaking the bank a little, but i'd suggest t25-100 flagships plus top 15 or so specialties in your field. then you may be able to expedite from a specialty to a flagship (or publish in the specialty which can be good too, and reasonable for a practitioner). if you go a month without acceptance maybe add flagships 100-150 if you can afford it. just one girl's suggestions (though i've served on hiring committees).

Posted by: chiquilina | Feb 7, 2018 11:09:34 AM

wheretostart: it's breaking the bank a little, but i'd suggest t25-100 flagships plus top 15 or so specialties in your field. then you may be able to expedite from a specialty to a flagship (or publish in the specialty which can be good too, and reasonable for a practitioner). if you go a month without acceptance maybe add flagships 100-150 if you can afford it. just one girl's suggestions (though i've served on hiring committees).

Posted by: chiquilina | Feb 7, 2018 11:09:35 AM

Alot of lower ranked journals accept email submissions and I have found they still review them just the same. There is an article on SSRN that contains the listing of all the policies of all main journals and that article includes all the email addresses. Some journals also have their own submission system. it takes more time to go through each individually but if you look hard enough many journals beyond top 25 accept essentially free submissions.

Posted by: anon | Feb 7, 2018 11:34:39 AM

Anyone have an idea on which journals as a factual matter just don't do alot of slots? Like I think USC notes on their website that they have only 12 slots and I believe that Boston College does alot of reviewing in the fall. Other journals only review in the spring. It would be helpful to first-timers and those bearing own costs to know which journals maybe don't really do a spring season or those who have very limited slots (like ones that do alot of symposia).

Posted by: anon | Feb 7, 2018 11:49:55 AM

Where to start,

I agree with chiquilina, with the possible caveat that if cost is an issue, I'd shrink the range of mainline journals to something more like 30-100, or even 40 or 50-100.

Posted by: Anony | Feb 7, 2018 1:20:11 PM

Remember you can take a tax deduction for unreimbursed expenses so if you are not getting reimbursed each submission in actuality costs you 25-30% less.

Posted by: anon | Feb 7, 2018 2:42:12 PM

I do not think Michael Cicchini's assessment is correct. Of course the process involves all sorts of informal evaluation and a better placement helps during any superficial screening. But it's just not true that there are cutoffs - at least anywhere that I know of. Everything is context dependent so beware of the rule of thumb. Having said that, having published is better than not having published and - PLEASE - do not categorically rule out specialties.

Posted by: Lee Kovarsky | Feb 7, 2018 4:16:27 PM

Lee Kovarsky,

I agree with you that publishing is far better than not publishing. But many profs strongly disagree and have stated so with great specificity on the cutoff that is acceptable. I, like you, also like specialty journals -- although there are very few in my particular field for some reason. But again, many profs disagree and avoid specialty journals (and online journals). Profs have warned would-be-profs not to get their work in print somewhere that will hurt them. So, if wheretostart wants to be a prof, he/she needs to be very, very careful. It's a class-based system, to be sure. And if a person wants to break in, he/she needs to be cautious of class distinctions. For more details, including a collection of great quotes about where NOT to publish, see http://www.cicchinilawoffice.com/uploads/Cicchini__M_-_Law_rev_pub_article.pdf

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Feb 7, 2018 4:55:07 PM

Michael Ciccini -

I'm skeptical that there is any widespread sentiment that there is a cutoff line. I'd be EXTREMELY skeptical that, if such a cutoff line is identified by more than a trivial number of professors, it excludes specialties. I'm pretty highly socialized to the hiring process, and what you are saying would disserve candidates in many appointments processes. All other things being equal, you are better publishing at a less-fancy flagship or at a good specialty that not publishing - and that holds at most institutions doing entry level hiring.

Posted by: Lee Kovarsky | Feb 7, 2018 5:26:46 PM

Has anyone else noticed Scholastica being erratic about when journals are open or closed? I saw Hastings open and closed and open again, same with NYU and Irvine. Is it just me?

Posted by: anononononon | Feb 7, 2018 6:59:03 PM

I asked Scholastica and realized it might be that you need to clear your internet history. That worked for me.

Posted by: anonprof1234 | Feb 7, 2018 11:18:32 PM

Responding to tax advice anon: The itemized deduction for unreimbursed business expenses was eliminated through 2025. Even if it wasn't, you must first be an itemizer; second you can only deduct misc. deductions to the extent they exceed 2% of your AGI. Because of the floor, it's not quite valid to tout the benefit as equaling a marginal tax rate (and there's no 30% bracket). Monopolistic pricing shouldn't be sugarcoated, but it's also no great situation when, e.g., it's expected 70 journals would dedicate resources to reviewing an article when only one or none may publish it.

Reform: All these newly-made "scholastica only, no email" journals should now also make channels to accept emails submissions solely from those who would be willing to accept an offer to publish on-the-spot, i.e., people who are done with whatever exclusive submits they'd earlier pursued and now willing to accept a first offer that comes in on the submission. People in this category could still try to submit in batches, but all the excruciating phoniness and time wasting would be quite minimized.

Posted by: b | Feb 8, 2018 1:21:01 AM

Lee Kovarsky,

I suspect you're right that it's more of a sliding scale. (I also suspect you're right that a small handful of specialties journals are considered "good.") With regard to the sliding scale, one prof put it this way:

I have chaired my school’s appointments committee several
times, and I talk quite a bit with chairs at other schools. Here's
my opinion — we are impressed by publications that we
immediately know are “good.” . . . Thus, a publication in the
flagship journal in any school in the T30 of U.S. News will
get our attention — probably true of the T50 as well (although
the closer you get to 50, the less that’s the case). From there
on out, your publication very quickly is seen as less

And where exactly that cutoff is will also vary, as you suggest. For example, one professor cautioned aspiring scholars not to “‘get it in print’ somewhere that is going to hurt you. There are some journals where you’d be better off to not publish at all than to . . . have placed a piece there.” Others have offered specifics on how to identify such journals. One professor warned would-be academics that “a placement outside the T100 is worse than having not published at all.” Others are even more conscious of these class distinctions. One would-be professor reported that “I have received advice that I should not accept any offer outside of T-60, as doing so could hurt my chances once (or if) I actually go on the job market.”

It's a tough world out there. I don't know exactly how widespread this is, but nearly all law schools mimic Harvard or Yale, so I suspect these views are pretty common if not the norm.

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Feb 8, 2018 1:25:35 AM

Submitted February 1st. Dings from Michigan, Wisconsin. Offer from top-10 specialty.

Posted by: anon | Feb 8, 2018 4:18:49 AM

anonprof1234 - just tried that no luck. So now it's showing Columbia and Cal as closed which I know they weren't yesterday.

So weird. I can't even figure out how to email scholastica for help, though, so you're ahead of me.

Posted by: anononononon | Feb 8, 2018 4:51:03 AM

Oh, I did see the email for help so I contacted them - anyhoo, we'll see if it gets better. In case anyone else is experiencing this, I found that sometimes if I go to the journal's webpage and click through to Scholastica from there, the closed journals - all of them - open up. It's magical.

Posted by: anononononon | Feb 8, 2018 5:09:50 AM

anonononono, that fix didn't work for me either so i tried switching browsers altogether, and that worked. also discovered the fix you found. kind of a weird glitch!

Posted by: chiquilina | Feb 8, 2018 9:01:47 AM

Michael Cicchini,

Exclusive submissions would potentially be preferential to authors in several ways. First, it would dramatically increase the odds that your paper would actually be read at leading reviews. Second, it would be a method of signalling interest in publishing in a particular journal in a way that for the most part is not currently available. And third, it would obviate the need to engage in the expedite process, which I think most authors find to be suboptimal.

The way I envision it working, the leading reviews would be prepared to review submissions on a year round (with the possible exception of summer) basis. So you could start submitting on an exclusive basis to places in November, January, April, etc. That also seems preferable to me compared to the current system where there are only two (and increasingly one) small windows where I can submit an article for consideration.

Alternatively, even if all the top journals didn't move exclusively to an exclusive submission system, I think those in the T15-30 range would be smart to do something similar to Northwestern, and offer an exclusive option just before the main submission periods. I would take advantage of those options every year, personally speaking.

Posted by: Anonymoose | Feb 8, 2018 9:28:09 AM

One issue w/the exclusive submission approach as described is that IMHO journals generally don't have recognized specialties or specific reputations. That is, if I write a piece, I don't find myself thinking "this would be a great fit for [T30 Law Review]." As a result, this approach would make for perhaps an even more random & idiosyncratic process than already exists. The only way to get a T30 publication would be to guess (with no information) which one would be most likely to publish your piece. This isn't to say that the process that exists is a good one. Just that I think the mix of generalist LRs with a rapidly changing editorial board makes exclusive submission an odd fit. It might be a different story if LRs had more involved faculty advisors or if we shifted away from the generalist model, so that - for example - Northwestern was the place you went for empirical scholarship; Cal tended to emphasize crim; etc.

Posted by: anonjrprof | Feb 8, 2018 12:44:38 PM

Notre Dame ding today, 20 minutes after submitting.

Posted by: anon | Feb 8, 2018 1:35:24 PM

@anon: you sure made me feel better about my ND ding, a whole 12 hours after submitting! 😂

Posted by: chiquilina | Feb 8, 2018 2:02:45 PM

Submitted 2/2. Offer from T10 Enviro specialty.

Posted by: Enviro | Feb 9, 2018 8:40:30 AM


One other thought, if it isn't too late. If you haven't already, you might want to check with your law school alma mater to see if it'd let you use its institutional account for Scholastica, to help subsidize your submission. Some schools are willing to do that for graduates intending to enter the law-teaching market.

Posted by: Anonymoose | Feb 9, 2018 9:11:33 AM

Another Notre Dame ding here, today. Though I submitted Feb. 1. Maybe I had a sexy title compared to the others who were ding'd more quickly. But what does that say of my execution? Any theories out there for quick versus delayed dings?

Posted by: anon | Feb 9, 2018 9:55:56 AM

i think nd just started reviewing yesterday. so there are probably people that get different subjects.

Posted by: anon | Feb 9, 2018 9:58:37 AM

Another thing for cost savings: some journals notoriously fill up early (ND I am thinking of you) while others don't change their board until march. Submitting now will just sit there for weeks. if you look at past angst threads you can figure out the later ones. If you are submitting now and are short on funds best to try to submit to only ones actively reviewing, and only submit to other ones later if you don't get anything. It's a waste of 6.50 to submit to some journals that may be open but not reviewing.

that's why it's useful for people to post rejections - we get a sense of which journals are actually open. you can also check out twitter and see when boards change. historically patterns are similar. if you see last year there was not a board change till march and there has not been a board change yet this year, they aren't really reviewing now even if open.

Takes more time but if you read last years thread you see which ones closed early and which ones were still reviewing up until april.

Posted by: anon | Feb 9, 2018 10:03:58 AM

Rejections off a 1/30 submission, all following an expedite:
Notre Dame
Wash U

Posted by: Tenured Guy | Feb 9, 2018 10:20:23 AM

@Tenured Guy and perhaps others: How are you getting around Utah's exclusive submission policy?

From their website: "...by submitting material to Utah Law Review, the author is stipulating that the material is not currently under review at another journal (electronic or print) and that he or she will not submit the material to another journal (electronic or print) until the completion of the editorial decision process at Utah Law Review. If you have concerns about the submission terms for Utah Law Review, please contact the editors."

Posted by: In-house | Feb 9, 2018 11:00:27 AM

inhouse - it doesn't say that at Scholastica. The Scholastica guidelines suggest Utah knows there will be simultaneous submissions; they say please withdraw your submission if you accept another offer.

Posted by: anononononon | Feb 9, 2018 11:34:05 AM

Has anyone here ever submitted a book review/book review proposal? Are the time frames the same as for the usual submission season? (Michigan in prior years seemed to indicate a somewhat longer review period into the spring for book reviews, but wasn't sure if this was nominal or a reality -- or what the practice is for other journals). Also, any sense as to how much of a disadvantage there is to submitting a proposal as opposed to a full review? Thanks for any feedback/insights.

Posted by: Book Review Query | Feb 9, 2018 12:37:36 PM

book review query: this is an N of one so it may not be worth much. i had a book review published in a t10 flagship journal. the experience felt totally idiosyncratic-- i submitted widely in the spring cycle and got no indications of interest until the t10 picked it up in early june. hth.

Posted by: yes, me | Feb 9, 2018 12:43:54 PM

Thanks, yes, me! That's helpful, even if just an n of 1. :)

Posted by: Book Review Query | Feb 9, 2018 1:40:33 PM

Anyone seeing any movement (accept or reject) in the T40-80 range yet?

Posted by: Anony | Feb 9, 2018 7:00:29 PM

Anony, ding from Villanova today off 2/8 submission

Posted by: Anon | Feb 9, 2018 7:50:52 PM

Any sense of the non-responders in the top 15 this year? No responses listed so far from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU, California, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, or UCLA

Posted by: jrprof | Feb 10, 2018 9:10:39 AM

Both Duke and Georgetown responded to my expedite request with an email notifying me that my manuscript was going to be reviewed by the full board this past week and this weekend. I had to withdraw from both before the full board reads as part of a negotiation to extend an offer. I have also been in scholastica discussion communication with NYU and Columbia. So I know all four of those are actively reviewing but both NYU and Columbia didn't start reviewing until late this past week. I have yet to hear anything from Yale or Harvard, I wasn't in the game long enough to hear from UCLA, and I never got the chance to submit to Cornell.

Posted by: anon | Feb 10, 2018 11:23:18 AM

Anon at 11:23 - just curious to know what level journal did you expedite from that you received communications from all of these wonderful journals? I always wonder whether T20 journals pay attention to expedites based on specialties, even if they are T5 specialties.

Posted by: Enviro | Feb 10, 2018 12:55:04 PM

anon at 11:23 - You had a “negotiation to extend an offer,” part of which appears to have included you dangling the possibility that other journals will offer? I know it’s delusional to hope for strict meritocracy in this process, but one would like to think that substance is still a *significant* determinant of outcomes. You provide yet another reason to think it’s not.

Posted by: Another anon | Feb 10, 2018 2:17:08 PM

Anyone know if Duke and Georgetown are notifying of full board reads for non-expedites?

Posted by: Anon | Feb 10, 2018 2:20:42 PM

Enviro: I have only ever had one offer from a secondary journal and the expedite did not yield much response from T20 journals. It is a sample size of one, so not much can be learned from that experience. I do find that my general experience is consistent with others on the blog in that T20 journal expedite responsiveness increases with the rank of the journal offer. The offering journal for the original expedite was in the top 20.

Another anon: Sorry I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. What I meant to say was that I had to negotiation to extend the deadline of an exploding offer by agreeing to withdraw from all journals outside the top 5. I wish I could negotiate with a journal to extend an offer to me, but alas that is not how the process has worked out for me thus far in my career.

Posted by: anon | Feb 10, 2018 2:34:23 PM

And alas, the typo: I meant to say "negotiate" not "negotiation."

Posted by: anon | Feb 10, 2018 2:35:24 PM

Anon - In recent years, Duke gave me an offer without notifying of a board review, out of the blue, though I don't know what they're doing this year. It varies by year and situation. Of several top 15 offers, only once did I hear from the journal before, and it was by one that has recently given others to offers without notification.

Posted by: someprof | Feb 11, 2018 1:22:27 PM

For the spreadsheet, is the idea that we only list rejections and offers, not submissions? I imagine that is the case, otherwise there would be way too many entries. But some are entering submissions only

Posted by: miscprof | Feb 11, 2018 1:55:53 PM

I second miscprof's comment - the purpose of the spreadsheet is to provide information to others about what journals are doing, so it would be great if people only entered information about acceptances or rejections, not generally if you just submitted somewhere. Otherwise it is hard to wade through all of the entries.

Posted by: Enviro | Feb 11, 2018 2:06:19 PM

Is it too late to submit now? I had been working on an article for a while and had sent it to a few colleagues for feedback, planning to submit in August. But the feedback that I received over the weekend has been that this is ready to go out now, and that there usually are more spots in the February cycle than August. But is the 11th too late to send it out?

Posted by: anon | Feb 11, 2018 2:27:55 PM

February 11th is definitely not too late. I think anytime in February is fine. People will be submitting in March, but that starts to get late IMO. But there will still be offers given for March submissions; just not as many spots left.

Posted by: Magnolia | Feb 11, 2018 2:42:21 PM

Hey all - has anyone heard anything from Columbia Essays? Got an expected ding from Columbia Articles, but have my hopes set on placing this 12K piece highly as an essay.

Posted by: Nona | Feb 11, 2018 9:23:01 PM

3L here. I'm wondering how highly people were able to place their first articles after law school. I got 1 article accepted last year (very low journal) and have a second that I plan to submit after I graduate.

Posted by: ErieSwiftByrd | Feb 11, 2018 10:50:22 PM

what's the shortest length of time from submission to acceptance for normal authors, i.e. those whose pieces go through regular review and onto board vote (rather than those who are so fancy/famous that they can be automatically accepted)? related but not identical question: how often do boards vote on pieces when they are actively reviewing?

Posted by: danielle tiger | Feb 11, 2018 10:55:08 PM

Nona: I have not heard from Columbia Essays either. I didn't submit to Articles, so can't compare on that front (I thought could only do one or the other?).

Erie: Congrats on your first publication. There's just no one answer for where successful profs placed their first pieces, it's all over the place.

Danielle Tiger: The time to acceptance varies tremendously, from as short as 2-3 days for a few fast-moving journals, to as long as 4-5 weeks for others. I've received offers after 5 weeks before.

Posted by: aProf | Feb 12, 2018 8:55:33 AM

Danielle Tiger: The timing is all over the place, especially early in the spring cycle when most journals are "open" but not actively reviewing for another 2-3 weeks until the board turns over. In my experience, for journals that are actively reviewing, I have received word from most journals within 7-14 days. That said, in each of the last two submission cycles I have received T60 offers in three days, and T30 offers after six weeks. Go figure. I assume I was on the "waitlist" at the higher journals and got called up after the top journal slots filled up and created space for me.

Posted by: JrProf | Feb 12, 2018 9:31:17 AM

Did anyone hear from any journals over the weekend? Silence on my end (though I submitted 2/8, so should probably have more patience).

Posted by: anon | Feb 12, 2018 9:32:00 AM

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