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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Law Review Submissions: Superstitions and Expeditions

A nascent thread is forming on an earlier post, but I thought it might make sense to create a new one to get more folks on board.  I know I have a number of thoughts/concerns/fears about the submission season this year.  Maybe other profs and law review editors might want to fill us in on topics like this:

  • Are ExpressO submissions still increasing?
  • Are reviews making deadlines on offers to publish earlier?
  • Are articles still in the 25K-30K word range, or are they creeping up in size?
  • Are law review editors using the special theory of relativity to create more hours in the day?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

UPDATE: Bumped to the top, as requested.  (Thanks, Dan!)  From the comments, it looks like the process is going really slowly this year.  And as a result, the Anxiety-O-Meter is off the charts.  So what is going on?  Has supply exceeded demand?  Are editors changing over later, or taking more time?  Or is our group of commenters unrepresentative?  Your thoughts would be appreciated.

UPDATE 2: Here is a link directly to comments 151-200.

UPDATE 3: Bumped again.  Here's a link to comments 250-300.  It looks like some optimism is breaking out on the board.  The available anecdotal evidence suggests that many reviews are choosing late this year.

Also, a PSA for ExpressO submitters: if you plan on expediting and you get an offer, please withdraw your article from those journals to whom you are not expediting.  It will make the process a lot easier for all concerned.  And of course, withdraw from all remaining journals once you have accepted an offer.  

UPDATE 4: Once more, with feeling.  The action continues!  Some journals may be full, but many remain open.  Here's a link to comments 400-450.

Posted by Matt Bodie on April 16, 2011 at 06:31 PM in Law Review Review, Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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Have a few offers - one from the top specialty journal in my field, and a few in the 80-100 general law review range (based on US News rankings). i am at a school ranked 80-100. i have declined the offers from the general law reviews, and am waiting now bc have a few days left on the expedite. what do people think about where a top specialty journal ranks in terms of general law reviews - equivalent to top 50? top 35? part of me says it's ridiculous that we have to think about this, but nevertheless we do. interesting thing here is that a hard copy of the specialty journal is mailed to just about everyone in my field.

Posted by: 2nd year prof | Mar 18, 2011 11:57:12 PM

After over two weeks of silence, first offer came in today and from a top 50 review no less! Hang in there, everyone! The season isn't over yet.

Posted by: outoftheslushpile | Mar 18, 2011 7:35:35 PM

multid, I think it is hard to make a decision without knowing which interdisciplinary journal. I would definately take the JLE over a 50-100 law review, for example.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 17, 2011 9:06:13 PM

Just saw someone asking about WashU in the comments. I know that they've made at least one offer. Good luck, everyone!

Posted by: carissa | Mar 17, 2011 7:46:39 PM

I'm a youngish prof with a few publications under my belt, but I have never written a piece like the one I submitted this cycle.

Posted by: multid | Mar 17, 2011 5:14:06 PM

@multid, are you a law prof or an aspiring law prof? if so, i'd go with the main review. congratulations on your multiple offers! when did you submit?

Posted by: anon | Mar 17, 2011 4:11:36 PM

To add to the other posts, I made 96 submissions and have received 2 offers (including a second top-100) and 7 rejections:


Posted by: multid | Mar 17, 2011 2:41:13 PM

I'd like to hear others' thoughts about my current dilemma. After submitting my current article for a conference, I was invited to revise it for an interdisciplinary journal that is relatively new (but apparently highly regarded). I have also received an offer to publish the current version in a top-100 main law review. I am inclined to publish in a law review even though the interdisciplinary journal may be more prestigious outside of legal circles.

Posted by: multid | Mar 17, 2011 1:15:44 PM

Has anyone heard anything from WashU?

Posted by: anon | Mar 17, 2011 11:38:23 AM

Got an offer from a solid (but not top) specialty journal in my field--I think I'm going to take it. I admit to feeling a little disappointed that the article didn't end up in a main law review, where it would get a little more exposure than it will by being placed in a specialty journal. But I am grateful that it got accepted somewhere.

Posted by: anon from yesterday | Mar 17, 2011 11:30:13 AM

ah, thanks Gulp--I suspected as much, but wasn't sure if US News also did a separate ranking for law reviews. I didn't realize the W&L law review-specific rankings would get less emphasis than rankings for schools in general, but I can see how this would happen. I still enjoy looking at the W&L rankings though, and it sounds like they do have some relevance...

Posted by: son of Redyip | Mar 17, 2011 10:40:49 AM

I think when people refer to US News rankings in this context, they're referring to the law school rankings. The US News rank of a law school is used to estimate the prestige/clout of that school's main law review. Many faculty have internalized the US News school rankings so thoroughly that it is almost automatic to think this way.

Posted by: gulp | Mar 17, 2011 10:03:39 AM

I look at the W&L rankings a lot but have never been able to find the US News rankings for law reviews--does anyone have a link?

Posted by: son of Redyip | Mar 17, 2011 9:54:12 AM

I was a VAP at mid first tier school. i had the following offers:
1. US News - 30ish, W/L 60s
2. US News - 40ish, W/L 40ish.
They all suggested I go with the second offer.

Posted by: anonprof | Mar 17, 2011 9:03:51 AM

Go with the one that is higher in U.S. News -- I don't think anyone gives much credence to the W&L Rankings.

Posted by: AnonProf | Mar 17, 2011 7:39:19 AM

Need some advice. Which journal is better?

Law Review #1 - UsNews 90-100 & W&L 100-110.
Law Review #2 - UsNews 100-110 & W&L 70-80


Posted by: Juli | Mar 17, 2011 1:39:34 AM

Is there any information available regarding which books are full? I imagine the volumes must be filling up pretty quickly at this point.

Posted by: anon | Mar 16, 2011 10:26:58 PM

Also, anon from yesterday / consolation: I was thinking about that yesterday, before I got my first acceptance. A colleague told me that in her experience, expediting from third tier journals didn't do much. However, I would definitely submit to journals about which you are on the fence. The line between offers you certainly wouldn't take and offers you may or may not take is a fine one, and may be shifting as the process unfolds especially for those of us who don't yet have a publication record.

Posted by: wanderer | Mar 16, 2011 5:50:08 PM

Phew, I just got my first acceptance, from an international journal of a top 14 (15?) school. I expedited to higher ranked international journals and some, but not all, general law reviews. Any opinions on whether I should expedite to all of them at this point? I also withdrew from journals that I would rank lower.

To provide more stats, I submitted exactly a week ago (March 9) and received the following rejections:

William & Mary
Michigan Int'l

Bracing for many more now that I expedited. This process is painful (although less so now that one journal likes my piece).

Good luck everyone!

Posted by: wanderer | Mar 16, 2011 5:41:17 PM

Congratulations, gulp!

Posted by: Anon4 | Mar 16, 2011 5:35:59 PM

Yes, recent (after 25+ days). I'm one of those people who hesitates to submit below where I would be happy to publish, too. I don't know how common it actually is to submit more widely. I do get the impression that it's pretty common to revise/retitle and resubmit.

Posted by: gulp | Mar 16, 2011 5:28:37 PM

Got my Chicago rejection today. Woo hoo!

As for the "submitting somewhere you wouldn't publish," I don't do that, but I've been told repeatedly, by any number of people, that I'm crazy not to, and that everyone does it.

Posted by: anon from yesterday | Mar 16, 2011 5:06:25 PM

Wellcaff-- I've seen that as well, and that's what I was getting at.

Posted by: consolation | Mar 16, 2011 4:40:16 PM

consolation, that strategy has been discussed on other boards (i think thefacultylounge.org) and most professors voiced the consensus that it's unethical and bad behavior. the decision is yours, but that's the word on the street.

Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 16, 2011 4:36:36 PM

15 days - 171 submissions, 17 rejections, 3 offers, and 2.5 days left on an expedite!

Posted by: Mikey | Mar 16, 2011 4:18:51 PM


Are we to assume that your offer is a recent one? If so, congrats, and good luck with expediting!

With respect to third-tier journals, I'm facing the inevitable (?) quandary of whether to submit to journals in which I would not be willing to publish in the hopes of getting an offer that I can then expedite up. Being in the fortunate position of already having a job (but recognizing that publication in a third-tier journal is not in my best interests), my inclination is to avoid doing that and resubmitting in the fall if that turns out to be necessary. That being said, my general feeling is that if a third-tier placement would work for you, that you should pursue that rather than waiting.

Posted by: consolation | Mar 16, 2011 4:17:50 PM

25+ days, 105 submissions, 19 rejections, 1 offer!

Posted by: gulp | Mar 16, 2011 4:03:36 PM

I would go ahead and submit to other schools as well.

I have two low 2nd tier offers and will be accepting the one who gives me the most assurance of a speedy publication process -- so there will be at least one opening at the bottom of the second tier very soon.

I have 65 minutes left on my expedite deadline and have only heard from about 25 of roughly 100 schools. It seems as if a large number of school are simply not responding, even to expedites.

I could get 75 responses in the next 70 minutes, but I am not expecting more than one or two additional rejections and no additional offers.

The following additional rejections came in over the last 24 hours.

Ohio State

Looks like I am going to end up at the bottom of the second tier, which I am OK with as a first timer.

Posted by: SlimJim | Mar 16, 2011 3:56:33 PM

anomination, I'm hardly an expert, but if I were you I'd go ahead and submit the piece to additional journals; I wouldn't wait.

Posted by: Anon4 | Mar 16, 2011 3:37:28 PM

I have a related comment and a somewhat related question.

The question: for those of us who are aspiring academics looking for fellowships/VAPs, when and where do we find out about recently discovered openings? I've heard that the tenure-track hiring cycle concluded yesterday, meaning that schools are now able to discern what teaching holes they have for next year. Where might this information be publicized so that folks like me can apply for those VAP vacancies?

The comment: I submitted on March 1 to a variety of schools, and more the following week (March 8). So far, I've received rejections from several schools on others' lists, but the overlap is imperfect. Here's my rejection list thus far:

Law Journal for Social Justice (ASU)
UMich Journal of Law Reform
Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society

I also received a note from the Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender that they are holding submissions until the summer for review at that time. So, that's 14 rejections out of 125 submissions. Not sure if that means I'm simply at the bottom of the slush pile, with my article destined to never see the light of day, or if I should hang on to hope that no news is good news. I'd be happy to hear some thoughts on that, and also advice on whether it's now time to blast it to the remaining Tier 3/4 journals to which I haven't yet submitted. I'm a first-timer.


Posted by: anonimation | Mar 16, 2011 3:17:15 PM

I, for one, have been continuing to receive rejections (not expedite-based) for a piece submitted in late Feb., but at a slower rate than before.

Posted by: gulp | Mar 16, 2011 1:46:56 PM

Has anyone gotten any offers that have not been the result of expedite requests of late? If not, it seems like wellcaffeinated's slush pile theory is in full effect...

Posted by: anon | Mar 16, 2011 1:42:27 PM

anon at 12:48, yes: i submitted 2/23 and got 14 rejections in the first two weeks and zero in the third. based on the comments here, it sounds like schools are currently focusing their efforts on expedited pieces, and then maybe they'll turn back to the giant slush pile to fill any remaining needs (or not).

Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 16, 2011 1:02:36 PM

Quick question--for those who have not yet expedited, have the rejections stopped? I submitted in early March and have only had a handful of rejections, which have now stopped coming altogether.

Also, to answer the question posed at the top of this thread, I would 100% guess that those of us posting (and lurking) here are a skewed sample. Personally, if I had an offer, I'd be far away from my computer contentedly sipping a cocktail...

Good luck to everyone today!

Posted by: anon | Mar 16, 2011 12:48:45 PM

no rejection from nyu-- i'm in! just kidding. radio silence from everywhere for the last week makes me feel like my sub went right into the electronic recycling bin nationwide.

Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 16, 2011 10:21:50 AM

There is hope for those with no offers...I just received an offer from a third-tier school last night after approximately 15 rejections, mostly from the first-tier schools already listed above by SlimJim. I submitted in early February and, thus, had almost lost hope. For those who haven't sent to third-tier schools yet, I'd say it's not too late. They probably are losing out on the articles they offered first and are now looking for backup plans. And I, for one, don't mind being someone's backup plan, especially if the selection gives me an opportunity to request expedites.

Posted by: 2nd year prof | Mar 16, 2011 10:21:45 AM

For what it's worth, the Roger Williams faculty productivity survey, employing criteria modeled after Brian Leiter's survey, defines 67 journals as the "Top 50," which is made up of the flagship journals of the 54 schools that have a peer assessment score of 2.8 or higher in the US News survey, plus the 13 other journals in the top 50 of the Washington & Lee combined list. This is explained here: http://law.rwu.edu/faculty/faculty-productivity/updated.

Posted by: porkpie hatbar | Mar 16, 2011 10:15:18 AM

I gather that the consensus is to rely on USNews, as problematic as that might be.

Posted by: waiting | Mar 16, 2011 9:57:58 AM

When you are all talking about "top 50" or "top 100" journals, are you using the W/L rankings or US News? I have gotten a few offers from main journals that are in the 60s in US News but 40s in W/L, as well as one that is in the 50s in US news but in the 70s in W/L. On which do you rely?

Posted by: anonprof | Mar 16, 2011 9:29:05 AM

South-- Agreed. I take hope where I can, so I can't help but attach some significance to the places that have rejected other pieces, but not mine. And, like many others, I also heard from NYU yesterday.

Posted by: consolation | Mar 16, 2011 7:53:31 AM

Add NYU to my list as well. Guess they did a number of rejections today.

Also, received a notice from Pace saying they were full for 2010-11, due to their final issue being dedicated to a symposium.

Posted by: SlimJim | Mar 15, 2011 10:02:15 PM

The Prestige, that is going to depend on your school and the rank and tenure folks. Last year, I had a piece with 11 offers, three 2d and 3d tier main journals, but one from Ivy League Specialty. Everyone at my school advised me to take the Ivy League Specialty, which I preferred to do, because the name brand is very nice.

For the record, my rejections to date with 102 submissions rolling forward from Feb. 23:

Yale J. of Law and Fem,

Could be worse. Not to revel in your misery, fellow travelers, but I wonder what to make of those where I submitted, where you have been rejected already, but from where I am hearing only silence. Is that silence hope? I hope I may have just given some to you.

Posted by: South | Mar 15, 2011 9:07:31 PM

Assume you already have a number of publications, which makes it obvious you can write. The goal now is to get into a highly ranked journal. There are, I suppose, two ways to judge "highly ranked": top 100 journals/reviews, and speciality journals from top-ranked schools. Thus, for example, Baylor Law Review would be great, but so too would be the Virginia Journal of such-and-such, which is ranked, say, around 190. Do people agree with this analysis? My specific question is, of course, this: I got an offer from a very fancy school's journal, which isn't in the top 100. Should I take it?

Posted by: ThePrestige? | Mar 15, 2011 8:50:21 PM

Add NYU to the list.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 15, 2011 5:55:58 PM

In my experience, many journals never respond to requests for expedited review. People I've talked to have reported success expediting in stages but also success expediting all at once (and repeatedly on the same piece, where appropriate), so it doesn't seem you did anything wrong there. Congratulations on placing your article.

Posted by: gulp | Mar 15, 2011 5:35:18 PM

Also, as you can deduce from my post, my expedite request has yielded one offer from a (slightly) higher ranked school, and has yielded most of the listed rejections. I think Baylor and California rejected me before my expedite.

Posted by: SlimJim | Mar 15, 2011 1:37:40 PM

After reading this thread, I am more happy with my two offers at the bottom of second tier. Not sure if editors read this blog, so I am going to refrain from naming them. But I will provide my (long) list of rejections. Tomorrow is the last day on my expedite.

Over-optimistically hoping for some last minute offers to move my placement up the list. But as a first year prof, I am fairly happy.

Here is my rejection list. I am competing with "consolation," and submitted much later - March 1. I submitted to roughly the top 100 law reviews. Expedited all the way up the chain a week ago.

Boston U.
Seton Hall
UC Davis

Still, obviously, have not heard from the vast majority of the law reviews. Do the math. 100 - 2 offers - 18 rejections = 80 law reviews yet to reply, with only one day remaining on my expedite.

Two questions:
(1) Do law reviews routinely sleep on expedite requests, and simply never respond? I guess I will have some personal evidence on this question tomorrow. I will report back. But am anxious today
(2) Should I have only expedited to the journals 10-20 spots ahead of my initial offer? And then expedited again if I received an offer from one in that batch. With ever decreasing deadline lengths, I thought it best to just expedite all the way up, but maybe my low second tier offer was not enough to get many higher ranked journals to look at my manuscript.

Thoughts? I am new to the process, and appreciate the tips in this thread. Thanks.

Posted by: SlimJim | Mar 15, 2011 1:33:17 PM

anon | Mar 14, 2011 7:41:58 PM back again. Three more rejections:


(This process is brutal, but I really appreciate this thread--somehow commiserating with my fellow submitters makes me feel a little better.)

Posted by: anon | Mar 15, 2011 12:52:41 PM

Submitted from about #20-170 (first half the last week of February, second half the first week of March). Rejected from: Baylor, Missouri, Georgetown, BU (expedited, which is odd because I didn't), William & Mary, BYU, Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Oklahoma City (word count -- I can edit and resubmit), and Thomas Cooley. And yes, the last is chapping my hide.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 15, 2011 12:50:12 PM

whatever, i raise you a rejection from berkeley journal of law & gender. secondary LR FTW!

Posted by: wellcaffeinated | Mar 15, 2011 12:39:09 PM

I see your rejections and raise you an Iowa.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 15, 2011 12:29:35 PM

Those of you rejected by Missouri, be glad -- they just dropped out of the top 100 entirely. Think how badly you'd have felt if you'd accepted an offer from them.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 15, 2011 11:12:23 AM

I submitted in mid-Feb, and have received rejections from most of the places on consolation's list. Additionally:
William and Mary
George Mason Civil Rights
William and Mary Bill of Rights.

Posted by: waiting | Mar 15, 2011 10:57:56 AM

Nice thread! Here's a bunch of disjointed responses to open questions:
1 - no rejection from Mizzo yet, BUT I have a piece from last Spring they are still editing, so maybe they hold off on rejecting the new submissions of authors they're currently editing or something. As editors, they've been nice to work with. Remember that if a journal gets way, way behind on things one year, it can actually take two or three years (or painful drastic decisions) to get caught up, because they're still overwhelmed with editing from the backlog year when new submissions come in, which can delay reading and accepting new pieces, which in turn delays editing and publishing those pieces.

2 - Baylor took a few days, but rejected me as others here mentioned. Michigan and Virginia get the prize this year for speed of rejection for me. Some journals that usually reject me right away have not done so yet this time, which I hope is a good sign. But rejections are coming in every day, so there's plenty to be discouraged about.

3 - I was an early adopter of ExpressO when it first came out, and I've found that the number of offers depends partly (unsurprisingly) on how many journals receive my submission. I think the most I've received was thirteen offers on an article, a few years ago, but five or seven is more typical, if you submit to more than the top 100.

4 - most expedite-based offers, if you're using ExpressO, arrive on the last day of your deadline, almost never before.

5 - I think some of the quick rejections are because the submission was too early, but I also think most journals have layers of review, and make no claim to read every word of an article before they reject it. I've heard from former articles editors that they read the intro and conclusion before deciding whether to read the mid-sections of the article - many reject letters go out based solely on the intro & conclusion, by the end of which they know they're not interested. I also don't think anyone claims that it's all merit-based. When I was an editor, there was a big policy discussion about "what type of article" the journal wanted to publish that year (constitutional law, obscure/innovative pieces, controversial pieces, noncontroversial pieces, pieces relevant to practitioners, etc.). The editors wanted their journal to get read and cited, so they were trying to guess which articles would fulfill that goal (not just sit on library shelves), as opposed to the article's accuracy, style, etc. Prestige of the author mattered but mostly as part of the (rather illusory) goal of getting the journal read.

Posted by: South Tex | Mar 15, 2011 10:56:43 AM

HCRCL told me they couldn't meet my expedite request b/c they weren't deciding until April 1.

Posted by: newly tenured | Mar 15, 2011 10:36:59 AM

Has anybody heard anything from Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties? They indicated that they were planning to make decisions by 3/1, but it's been radio silence for the last two weeks.

Posted by: Anon5 | Mar 15, 2011 10:31:18 AM

Oh, and then the non-Expresso ones as well:

Posted by: consolation | Mar 15, 2011 9:59:47 AM

Since I probably submitted the earliest of anyone around here (foolishly, I'm thinking, at the beginning of Feb.), my list of rejections may be the most exhaustive. Submitted to 105 journals with the following rejections:
Arizona State
Indiana (LJ, not LR)
Mich. J. of L. Reform

Posted by: consolation | Mar 15, 2011 9:59:11 AM

Congratulations! Hope your well-deserved good fortune rubs off on the rest of us.

Posted by: gulp | Mar 15, 2011 9:41:07 AM

Thank you for the good advice, trp!

I got my first offer this morning, from a school well outside the top 50, and I couldn't be more thrilled. My article will be published! (This is sort of changing the topic from rejections, but since I've been sharing all my angst with you all, I wanted to add my good news, too.)

Going through this process for the first time, and seeing how the sausage is made, so to speak, has really emphasized to me the importance of not judging a work by the prestige of the journal in which it's published. It's obviously a meritocracy to some extent - publication decisions aren't totally arbitrary, and good work seems to mostly find good homes - but it is by no means a perfect meritocracy. I was totally naive about that, going in to this project.

Posted by: Anon4 | Mar 15, 2011 2:36:25 AM

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