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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Query to Law Journal Book Review Editors

Allow me to send a query out to our many (hopefully) current and former law review editor types, especially those of you who are or were book review/essay editors.  Either through personal experience or indirect knowledge, how many of you, and from which journals, take a serious look at book review proposals?  And when are you most likely to review them?

I ask for selfish reasons, although I'm sure it's information my co-bloggers and professors who read this blog would find interesting and valuable.  My selfish reasons are that I have a proposal for a review of Kenji Yoshino's book Covering, which I've already discussed at substantial length here and here (plus a squib here), and I'd like to see whether there's any interest in the proposal among journal book review editors.  Replies to the broader question of who accepts book review proposals and when are welcome in the comments section; needless to say, book review editors who are interested in a copy of the proposal are welcome to contact me by email. 

Posted by Paul Horwitz on February 21, 2006 at 03:00 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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I am the book review editor for volume 85 of the Texas Law Review and am currently very interested in receiving book review proposals for next year. Please do not hesitate to e-mail me--and please encourage your colleagues to do the same. Good ideas are more than welcome.

Posted by: Nathan Bruggeman | Feb 22, 2006 11:07:06 PM

I was a co-chair of books & commentaries while on law review. Back then, we were starved for good book reviews on interesting recent books. Far fewer unsolicited submissions of book reviews compared to articles, and quality typically not that great.

As I recall, we did accept at least 1 proposal. The prof was from a top 10 school and the book was by a leading theorist, so it was not a very difficult decision. I think the review turned out excellent, and I think most on the law review did, too. I can't recall if there were others. FWIW, I think you should give it a shot. It can't hurt to include a detailed proposal in your letter.

We also "commissioned" I think one book review -- those can be more risky. Sometimes, the reviewer expresses great interest in the beginning, but then loses it.

Posted by: edlee | Feb 22, 2006 12:49:05 PM

I can only comment as a former editor -- we would have considered a proposal early in the process, in March or April when we first started looking at articles, essays and book reviews (and would have considered them until the following January). We typically had the book review, or at least excerpts of the review, when we considered them for publication. I think we would have seriously considered a compelling proposal, which included an idea of what the review would entail (similar to the discussions you have provided here), but I honestly don't remember getting any proposals for such a review. Personally, I would have welcomed such proposals, because I was disapointed in the number of book reviews from which we had to choose. It may be the benefit of hindsight and that my comments are not reflective of the market, but I would encourage you to submit a proposal. I am curious to read what current editors have to say.

Posted by: WaveLaw | Feb 21, 2006 8:21:17 PM

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