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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Submission Angsting Fall 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 July 2018 version). The article now also includes hyperlinks to law review websites.

Comments now appear from newest to oldest.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 28, 2018 at 07:07 PM | Permalink


I got a rejection letter last night from the second journal from the top, so it seems like a plausible explanation

Posted by: ANONNN | Aug 20, 2018 7:46:16 AM

anonauthor, I noticed it too, but what makes you think that it has to do something with recent activity on the journal side?

Posted by: anon | Aug 20, 2018 7:25:14 AM

I'm completely new to this process. Are there certain ethics of asking for an extension? My deadline is about to expire for an offer - I thought a week would be adequate to hear from a bunch of journals but that appears to be very naive.

Not to add to anybody's angst, but it appears that Scholastica reorders your journal list when you first hit refresh in the order of recent activity on the journal side before quickly reverting to alphabetical order. I have a couple journals under review that have done something with my article.

Posted by: anonauthor | Aug 20, 2018 1:30:34 AM

I've appreciated this forum - I had a rough season and placed dramatically lower this time than the last two articles - and I thought this was the better article! Discouraging but I've been grateful for the advice and shared angst.

Posted by: anonA | Aug 19, 2018 11:26:43 PM

BU bloodbath this evening.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2018 10:06:51 PM

Arizona State sent a truckload of rejections today, but I don't know of U of AZ

Posted by: angster | Aug 19, 2018 9:46:51 PM

Does anyone know if Arizona is reviewing?

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 19, 2018 9:40:33 PM

I agree with the others who roll their eyes at seeing "lead article" on a CV. Most of the time, the journal makes no indication that an article was the made the lead due to superior quality. Further, even if the journal intentionally makes it a lead article, it just means that it's the best out of 2, 3, or 4 similarly situated articles. It's just such a minuscule indication of quality that it comes off poorly.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 19, 2018 9:03:10 PM

I know we've heavily discussed this topic, but let me add last thing re: when to accept the specialty journal at a top school. I'm more inclined to take the specialty journal over a general law review ranked in the 60s or 70s, or perhaps even 50s, if my last 4 or 5 articles have placed in general law reviews. If you've had four good hits in a row, then seeing Harvard, Penn, Chicago or something like that show up on your CV, despite being a specialty, looks a ton better than if you regularly publish in specialties. So how adverse or accepting I am of specialty journals depends on my recent record. That's just my thinking, never heard anyone else echo this sentiment.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 19, 2018 8:15:37 PM

angster: If the journal published you in year 1, why would your lack of name recognition prevent it from publishing you in year 2? You were good enough for the journal a year ago, so I don't think it would matter. But beware: profs are always looking for "signaling mechanisms," and someone might think you've got a connection at that school / journal and may therefore "discount" the placement if you've published there more than once. Previous threads have suggested that given a choice of two offers, in close cases it is preferable for the author to publish somewhere new.

anon: re: your question on essays. I suspect that essays and symposium articles are "discounted" somewhat, as profs are always looking for quick rules of thumb to judge the quality of a placement. Of course, specialty journals and online journals are discounted even more. (A comment above suggests a method for ranking specialties.) The biggest "discount," from what I can tell, is for publishing in your own school's journal. But that makes sense. Many profs have made the case that you should never submit to your own school's journal.

Finally, I thought anon1's comment, above, was interesting: having a "lead article" is somewhat impressive, unless the author points it out on the resume in which case the harm of having done so outweighs the benefit. This sort of adds a new layer to the analysis: some signaling mechanisms need to be communicated more subtly, or the signaling mechanism itself will be "discounted" or even reversed! Great stuff!

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 19, 2018 8:13:13 PM

Thank you. I needed to hear that!

Posted by: angster | Aug 19, 2018 7:56:43 PM

Yup. Save the $6.50 on Scholastica. They won't be offended.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2018 7:56:18 PM

@anon - totally valid. But do you just bypass the journal altogether (even if it's a decent journal) in the submissions process? That's what I did. Feels weird.

Posted by: angster | Aug 19, 2018 7:52:58 PM

In reading tea leaves, we obviously lack a bunch of inputs. Like what other articles the journals have already committed to. Like whether all of us are showing up with 4th Amendment, or immigration, or civil liberties articles. This part is just hard. I sort of wish that journals could advertise -- looking for a great Fed Courts piece! Or whatever. Not knowing whether rejection is because my piece sucks or because they have committed to publish another piece in the same general area is tough.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2018 7:50:55 PM

angster - I think the bigger issue is that you probably don't want to load your CV with the same journal. hiring or tenure committees might wonder if you have some sort of connection with that journal.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2018 7:50:25 PM

Just curious: If you publish in a journal in year 1, do you even bother applying to that journal in year 2? I mean, unless you are a huge, amazing name, they aren't going to touch you, right?

Posted by: angster | Aug 19, 2018 7:47:20 PM

Kayfabe, is it empirical or theoretical? My sense is that empirical work can usually be adapted to law reviews. With theoretical models, you usually can't go beyond game theory 101.

In terms of journals, I would go for JLEO, JLS, JLA, ALER, JLE or JELS (if an empirical piece). If that does not work out / does not fit, then IRLE and RLE are also an option, though much less prestigious.

Posted by: LE_Anon | Aug 19, 2018 6:00:01 PM

Well done, Rogue 1! Happy for you.

Posted by: FourthTierDreaming | Aug 19, 2018 5:39:08 PM

Rogue 1 - post on the spreadsheet please!

Posted by: Anon | Aug 19, 2018 5:27:28 PM

Agree with AnonProf. But even with offers from the Virginia and Berkeley secondary journals (and a few others like Yale Regulation), I'd always recommend taking a T50 flagship offer.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2018 3:34:16 PM

Agreed with Anotherlawprof. One thought to add: I think the competitiveness of a journal is a great yardstick, however, I think certain specialty journals do provide excellent exposure within one's field. In most fields, we're talking one or two journals max. As examples, the Virginia International Law Journal and the Berkeley Tech Law Journal. Until you have a very good grasp of your field's journals, it's a very good ideas to error with the general law review. In addition, we all have good incentives NOT to compile a list of notable secondary journals.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 19, 2018 3:29:07 PM

I'm a recent JD/PhD submitting some work in law and economics. The work isn't technical by economic department standards, but I suspect it's too technical for many second year law students. My string of rejections supports that theory, though it's possible the article is just crap as well. Anyway, does anyone have recommendations for journals that specialize in law and econ? I'm familiar with JLE and JLEO, but it's too specialized for JLEO and JLE is very tough to get into.

Posted by: Kayfabe | Aug 19, 2018 3:29:07 PM

Hope is alive, friends. Just received a T20 offer (USN T20) out of the blue. No expedite.

Posted by: Rogue_1 | Aug 19, 2018 2:56:34 PM

I cannot agree enough with what Anotherlawprof just posted. Amen.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 19, 2018 12:55:04 PM

Re the Columbia human rights specialty, I would treat it as akin to publishing in approx a t75 main law review. I think most lawprofs rationally assume - as do I - that a specialty like that gets a tiny fraction of the submissions than even, say, San Diego Law Review receives. All the more when the specialty is in a field as narrow as “human rights.” I also think people telling you to treat it like a 40-50 main law review are WAY off. Publishing in columbia’s Human rights specialty journal is in no way like publishing in, say, U Colorado L Rev - and I honestly don’t think anyone (as in zero) would say that Columbia’s specialty is a more competitive placement than, eg, Colorado. You should always consider specific journals in lieu of heuristics, but my general shortcut is to assess the competitiveness of specialties like this: for all specialties, add about 60 or 70 to the rank of the host institution (so 4+70 in the case of Columbia’s human rights) and add 50 in the case of specialties at Harvard and Yale (since the specialty journals at these 2 institutions tend to be much better on avg than other specialties). People will sometimes say really foolish things like t5 specialty is like a t25 flagship but no one actually makes decisions that would demonstrate that opinion. Meaning, I’ve never heard of anyone taking say Yale law and policy review or mich j law reform over Emory or Notre Dame’s general law reviews. Finally, if you are looking to go on the market soon, all the more reason to publish in journals that all committee members will be able to quickly and somewhat consistently assess (ie a main or flagship law review).

Posted by: Anotherlawprof | Aug 19, 2018 12:29:29 PM

USC will only notify you if you get accepted. They're one of the worsts when it comes to keeping authors informed.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 19, 2018 12:27:39 PM

Has anyone heard from Southern California? Does that journal typically get started later in the fall cycle?

Posted by: LegalRealness | Aug 19, 2018 12:16:23 PM

I am marginally more impressed when I see an article published as a lead article than when I don't. This whole rigamarole with publications is about signaling, and lead article status is yet another way that a publication can signal article quality.

That said, I agree with AnonProf and Earlysubmit, however, that you probably shouldn't draw extra attention to it on your CV -- that's obnoxious. Without drawing any extra attention to it, I suspect some people reviewing your CV will notice that your article is a lead article. I suspect many others will not and/or will not care.

Posted by: anon1 | Aug 19, 2018 11:32:42 AM

Re the people who heard from HCRCL, were those both responses to expedites?

Re: the lead article query, I agree that I don't think it means anything and I think it's probably not a good thing to list on your CV. Maybe it was meaningful back in the day when people found journal articles by scanning the TOC of a law review, but very few people do that any more.

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Aug 19, 2018 11:17:49 AM

My honest reaction is 1) I think "lead article" is a meaningless designation and 2) when I see that listed on a person's CV, it makes me think they are, at best, lame and, at worst, a desperate self-promoter.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 19, 2018 11:09:57 AM

How much weight should I give to being offered lead-article status? I have offers from Journal A and B. A is a few spots above B in the various rankings, but B is offering to make my article "lead." I'm on a fellowship and will be going on the job market in Fall 2019.

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2018 10:59:02 AM


I applied to cal on 8-1 and sent an expedite last week. Haven’t heard anything.

Posted by: X | Aug 19, 2018 10:53:20 AM

Has anyone heard anything from Cal this cycle or know of people who have?

Posted by: anon | Aug 19, 2018 10:47:07 AM


I got the same email from HCRCL.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 19, 2018 10:38:56 AM

Just heard from Harvard civ rts and civ liberties that they are reviewing article but cannot respond timely to expedite requests. Is that standard email everyone is getting or does that demonstrate some interest?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 19, 2018 9:23:35 AM

@anon: Essays and notes are not the same thing. Essays carry almost the same reputation as articles. From your CV, it will usually not be apparent whether the piece is an article or an essay. Notes and comments are often listed separately.

@IntlLaw2018: Based on advice I got: Trade CHRLR against T40-T50 flagships.

Posted by: ILAnon | Aug 19, 2018 8:59:17 AM

In response to the BU Law Review closing comment above, they definitely were reviewing this cycle, and simply filled up their remaining slots.

Posted by: anotheranon | Aug 19, 2018 8:04:58 AM

*in comparison to a full length article

Posted by: anon | Aug 18, 2018 10:13:50 PM

Here's a theoretical question. what is the status of publishing an essay in a top ranked journal? For example an essay in HLR or a note/comment in AJIL, and that in comparison to a full length essay in a lesser ranked journal.

Posted by: anon | Aug 18, 2018 9:58:14 PM

IntlLaw2018 -- my instinct would be to go with CHRLR. This will not be your job talk piece, and so the sort of marginal advantage that you might gain from being published in a flagship journal is not terribly meaningful. On the other hand, the exposure in the field that you could get from being published in a good symposium could be very valuable.

Posted by: anon1 | Aug 18, 2018 8:46:42 PM

IntlLaw2018 -- my instinct would be to go with CHRLR. This will not be your job talk piece, and so the sort of marginal advantage that you might gain from being published in a flagship journal is not terribly meaningful. On the other hand, the exposure in the field that you could get from being published in a good symposium could be very valuable.

Posted by: anon1 | Aug 18, 2018 8:46:41 PM

In need of advice. Recv'd offer from Columbia Human Rights Law Review. This is my first publication and I'm planning to go on the market in the next couple of years. CHRLR the #1 human rights journal, and only VJIL is ranked significantly higher when comparing CHRLR to the intl law journals on W&L. Very inclined to accept - the platform is absolutely perfect (a symposium where the piece fits very nicely, and it would be great exposure). Should I still try for a main journal since I'm market-bound? Any advice on where the placement would have to be to induce the switch from a the top specialty journal in my field - T50? T20? Thank you for any insight.

Posted by: IntlLaw2018 | Aug 18, 2018 8:40:13 PM


If my offers fare better with USN, I am talking about USN. If they fare better with WL, I am talking about WL. :)

Posted by: X | Aug 18, 2018 7:29:39 PM

When you're all talking about T70 flagships and T25 flagships, what rankings are you talking about. It seems like there is a big difference (like 30-40 spots) between the W&L and US News rankings for many of these schools.

Posted by: anon | Aug 18, 2018 7:20:22 PM

Expedite off a T25 flagship offer about to expire. Never heard back from Columbia, NYU, Virginia, Vanderbilt, UCLA, Cal, Northwestern, Harvard, and USC. Some of these (USC and Harvard) are totally expected. But most of these journals have normally responded promptly to my expedites in the past. So more silence than usual for me this cycle.

Posted by: prof | Aug 18, 2018 6:49:19 PM

Silence today for me. Expedites about to expire. Oh well!

Posted by: X | Aug 18, 2018 6:29:44 PM

BU is closed, not reviewing until Feb 2019. Either they just got full or were full to begin with when they opened on Scholastica.

Posted by: anon | Aug 18, 2018 2:59:07 PM

Last year, I expedited to the top with a T70. I doubt it really helped much, but it did prompt more anxiety-relieving transparency from other journals than would otherwise have been the case. Immediately after expediting with a fairly short time frame, I heard from two other journals that their meetings on my piece would be after the expedite deadline. Would they have met anyway? Perhaps. But I would never have known.

Posted by: angster | Aug 17, 2018 9:38:17 PM

I always expedite to the top, but I am not at all sure that is the right strategy (I've had some very good placements, including in the T5, but most have not come off expedites). I just don't have the anxiety tolerance for the possibility that my expedite deadline will come and go without me getting to expedite to the higher ranked journals.

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Aug 17, 2018 8:25:05 PM

Anon1538 - that’s a hard one to answer in the abstract. I’ll just say that I think of that particular specialty as equivalent to about a t70 main law review. You might ask others and this might help inform to whom you expedite. Also, I believe in expediting in waves. The better your track record the smaller the waves can be. Hope this helps.

Posted by: Law Prof | Aug 17, 2018 7:44:06 PM

I'd expedite to the very top. Why not?

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 17, 2018 6:28:18 PM

How far up would you expedite to main law reviews off of a speciality journal offer? Journal is the Michigan Journal of Law Refom. Any insight would be appreciated.

Posted by: anon1538 | Aug 17, 2018 6:15:03 PM

Congrats, anonprof! Very nice!

Posted by: FourthTierDreaming | Aug 17, 2018 4:01:12 PM

Got my second offer today from a journal around the T50 mark, so maybe things are shaking loose!

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 17, 2018 3:54:00 PM

@LegalRealness, truly, I have never felt more not-rejected!

Posted by: Silence | Aug 17, 2018 3:31:13 PM

I assume/hope this might be a big weekend for offers and rejections since students are largely now back on campuses.

Posted by: LegalRealness | Aug 17, 2018 3:06:03 PM

I heard from Michigan this morning (rejection). And yes, DKG, I too got a thrill from seeing ANYTHING in my inbox! How ridiculous this process is. Anonprof---- thanks for that anecdote. There is something slightly comforting in knowing that one is not alone and that this process elicits raging insecurity from us all.

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Aug 17, 2018 10:37:39 AM

Nothing here, and I have an expedite deadline later today.

Posted by: Anonanon | Aug 17, 2018 8:45:03 AM

Today was quiet. Did anyone get anything?

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 17, 2018 8:13:46 AM

You know the system has beaten you down when you get giddy over rejections :) Something about the closure...

Posted by: DKG | Aug 17, 2018 8:12:03 AM

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