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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Underneath the Law Review Submission Process: Part IX Fall Submission Timing

For the next post on the law review submission process, (see intro, part I, part II on timing of submissions,part III interview, part IV interview, part V interview and part VI interview, Part VII expedites and Part VIII memes if you are interested) I am going to (unsatisfactorily) try to address some questions I've received on fall submission timing.

The timing of fall submissions remains a bit of a mystery to me as it is to many of you who have written me.  It is hard to know when to submit, when journals begin to fill up, and whether there are as many offers made in the fall cycle.  Unfortunately, I do not have answers to most of these questions.  I will try to collect some information this upcoming year and post on it in the fall but it will be too late for many of you who are planning on submitting in the fall.  So, this post is an attempt to put what little data I have out there in case it is of any help to those of you who plan to submit in the fall.

So, the chart below reflects the submissions received by BYU Law Review between August 1 and 23. 

Unfortunately, the articles were put on hold at that point since offers were made and accepted and all of the spots filled by that time.  I'm sure there were plenty of articles submitted after August 23 and BYU may be an outlier (and make decisions earlier than other law reviews) but for what it is worth, here are some graphs on the 2011 fall cycle.





So, after seeing these numbers I naturally wondered how they compared with the February 2012 numbers that I revealed in an earlier post.  I've done a few different comparisons below in three different periods of 23 days in February and August (1-23).  Again, I wish I could do a full comparison for the entire period, but this is all I have.  Frankly, I was surprised at how many articles were submitted in the fall.  I had always thought that there were much fewer submissions in the Fall (and that may still be the case since March could be a much heavier month of submission than February) but still, there are a substantial number of articles submitted in the Fall.  I would be interested to know if the number of articles submitted matches the number of offers given and whether people have better chances of receiving an offer (or an offer they like) in the fall or winter submision cycle.




So, that's all on timing until the fall I'm afraid.   Just a couple more posts in this series on best practices for law review editors . . .

Posted by Shima Baradaran Baughman on April 26, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Permalink


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Thanks Sam. I really appreciate the advice.

Posted by: Josh | Apr 26, 2012 3:57:38 PM

anon, I've never done this, but I hear that changing the title and the intro will help you a lot, at least at journals where your paper was dinged at the preliminary stage.

Posted by: re anon | Apr 26, 2012 2:39:28 PM

I am a semi-recent graduate who struck out in the Spring submissions cycle. Is it even worth trying again with the same paper (making some revisions of course) in the Fall cycle? Or should I just wait a year? Does anyone have experience submitting the same paper to the same groups of editors?

Posted by: anon | Apr 26, 2012 2:20:45 PM


I am characterizing what I take to be others' opinions here, as placements don't matter to me in an entry-level hiring calculus. For those who do care about placements at that stage, my sense is that a pattern of "good" prior placements would be as important as or more important than the placement of the job talk piece specifically, but I admit to having very little confidence about my sense of what others think on this point.

For myself, I think it's a pathology of the current hiring process that it might encourage candidates in (what appears to be) your situation to rush to finish and submit a third pre-hiring piece. (Of course, I know nothing about your two pieces that have been placed or the third one you might do this summer, which would mean everything for how I thought about your case in fact.) For my money, the best job market pieces are those that the author has already spent a lot of time thinking about, writing, and revising (so that the piece showcases the author's care and thoughtfulness) but that are sufficiently unfinished that the job talk isn't just a presentation of work the author has already done but is instead a real faculty workshop. That's a tough line to hit perfectly, and I admit my views might be idiosyncratic (though I don't think I'm the only one who holds them), so take my thoughts for whatever you think they might be worth.

Posted by: Sam Bagenstos | Apr 26, 2012 1:55:27 PM


Just to clarify, when you say "good placement," do you mean for the job talk piece itself, or for the candidate's general publication record. My spring submission was placed with a law review in the 20-30 range, and I'm trying to figure out whether it would be better to bump the publication date back to the spring (which the journal is OK with), or whether I should get it in print sooner and then get another piece together to submit and (hopefully) job talk in the fall. I also have another publication in the 60-80 range that came out in January, if the difference between two and three matters.

Posted by: Josh | Apr 26, 2012 11:57:10 AM

Sam, your comment is much appreciated. My last placement was very good (I'm still in shock about it), so that might reduce the pressure to submit in August if this piece isn't ready for prime time. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Posted by: twizzlers | Apr 26, 2012 11:55:23 AM


Just my 2 cents on your larger question. I think what a lot of people do is get the bulk of their drafting done over the summer and then spend the fall sharing with colleagues, workshopping, revising, redrafting, and otherwise tinkering with a piece, so that the piece is more fully cooked when it gets submitted in the spring.


My 2 cents on your question: It wouldn't matter to *me* whether the job talk piece was submitted to law reviews in August. Indeed, as most job talk pieces will really benefit a lot from (often substantial) revision in light of the comments received during the job search process, if anything I would think it's better if they're not submitted until after that process is over. But I know many others (not necessarily at my current school) who feel differently and who count placement, particularly in a "good" law review however defined, as a positive in the hiring calculus. (FWIW, when I was on the market in 1999-2000, I submitted a piece in August, had it accepted at a really good law review, and ended up adding nearly 50 pages to it -- half again its original length -- in response to comments I received on the market. It would, in retrospect, have been a lot better for the piece if I had held off on submitting it until after I had a chance to really take account of what I heard at my job talks. Of course, that's not the primary question you're asking.)

Posted by: Sam Bagenstos | Apr 26, 2012 11:42:23 AM

For those of us going on the job market in October-- is it important to have the jobtalk piece submitted to law reviews in August, or sufficient that it be polished and ready to go by the time of the meat market?

Posted by: twizzlers | Apr 26, 2012 11:17:44 AM

First, I want to say thanks for putting all this information together. It has been very helpful.

There have been a couple of things I learned from the series: (1) apparently I shouldn't just send the form expedite notice that Espresso suggests; and (2) the fall window peaks earlier (at least for BYU) than I thought. So perhaps I should be submitting in the first two weeks of August rather than the last two weeks if I make a Fall submission.

I have a larger question about Fall submissions though. You say that you had always thought that the Fall submissions were relatively fewer than Spring submissions. But (at least for me) the largest block of writing I get is during the Summer, and so far I have always had a piece ready for submission by mid-August. I had thought that this was probably how most people work since we usually teach in Fall and Spring. Are people holding their summer pieces until Spring? Or are people finishing new pieces during the Fall/Winter and then submitting them in Spring? Is this in addition to pieces finished over the Summer?

Thanks for any light anyone wants to shed on this question.

Posted by: Stuart Ford | Apr 26, 2012 11:02:29 AM

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