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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How I Drafted and Placed On-Line Submissions

First, I looked at this very useful chart about on-line law reviews put together by Colin Miller at John Marshall Law School. Second, to maximize my placement odds, I decided to shoot for the shortest article that seemed to be acceptable to the most prestigious journals. I wrote 3,000 words on a current-event topic. Third, in accordance with what was the stated preference of most of the on-line journals, I used far fewer and less bulky footnotes than I ordinarily would and aimed to use on-line “link-able” sources where possible. My general perception from looking at the chart and poking around on web sites was that the on-line editors were not looking for the level of support in footnotes for every proposition as is so commonly required for traditional articles. That panned out for two of the three placements, as I’ll discuss in my next post.

It took me a few days to get a draft with which I was satisfied. I sent it out to about a half-dozen journals as I double-checked their descriptions of technical requirements and poked around on their web sites looking at what they had actually published. I changed font size and what-not for some of them. I had my first offer within a few hours. I did the typical, unseemly “shopping up” (what a horrible term, but I use it because you all know what this means) and asked for a little extra time to make the placement decision because I was on my way to the airport to travel for a few weeks when I received the call. At the airport, I finished about another half-dozen submissions and simultaneously requested expedited review in light of the first offer (and withdrew my submission from those I would not have accepted over the original offer). Very shortly, I received two other offers. The offer I accepted for the piece was from Penn, whose editors said that they would accept it if I would expand the piece to 6,000 – 7,000 words.

Rather than simply decline the other two very attractive offers, because the editors seemed really interested in the Nazi-looted art litigation, I offered to draft another submission they could consider exclusively. I set deadlines with them I could meet and wound up placing two more articles, one 3,000 words; the other 6,000 words.

After edits, all wound up being longer than the published word limits. If you look at the final articles published overall, most seem to exceed the published word limits.

In my next post, I’ll wrap up this little series about the on-line journals.


Note: Colin Miller updates his submission guide for the fall submission cycle in July. If anyone is aware of any new online law review supplements or changes in the policies of existing supplements, please e-mail Colin at [email protected]

Posted by Jen Kreder on June 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM | Permalink


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@ Colin, I went ahead and posted your comment in the body. I hope new info finds you. Your chart is a great service.

@ Mary, thanks for the cross post. I posted again to address your question (and others I've received). I don't think there is any best time to submit to the on-line journals except to avoid the final exam period. Please let me know when your book on War comes out. It's sounds right up my alley!

Posted by: Jen Kreder | Jun 27, 2011 6:58:38 PM

Thanks for these posts. I'll link to them over at the Legal History Blog. One question: are there particular times when it's best to send in these essays, or are they considered all year?

Posted by: Mary Dudziak | Jun 22, 2011 8:43:23 AM

I will be updating my submission guide for the fall submission cycle in July. If anyone is aware of any new online law review supplements or changes in the policies of existing supplements, please e-mail me at [email protected]

Posted by: Colin Miller | Jun 21, 2011 1:05:51 PM

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