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Thursday, December 01, 2016

The academic calendar and law review submissions

Excited to be back at Prawfsblawg again for another month, musing mostly about youth and the law and law enforcement surveillance. Thank you to Howard for making it possible.

I'll start things off with an observation about the upcoming winter break and it's relation to what most seem to believe is the increasingly unitary Feb-March submission cycle for law review articles (though I submitted an article this past fall, and ended up with a placement I was thrilled to get).

Scheduling is a task from which I have thankfully been spared so far in my job as an educator. My school (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles) starts back up again after winter break with a week-long "winter session" on Monday, January 9th, and the Spring semester starts up on Tuesday, January 17th (both dates are a week later than they were last year). By contrast, my spouse teaches in the Education department at a different college, which has a month long winter session in January, and she doesn't begin teaching in the spring until the first week of February.

Assuming my school isn't unique in beginning the spring semester in early or mid-January, and since so many of us work, sometimes feverishly, on articles over the winter break, aiming for that important February submission cycle, I was wondering if any faculties have discussed moving the start of the spring semester back.

I understand that a month off from teaching is a month off from teaching, whether it is December or January (though December seems especially full of distractions to me, compared to January). I realize, too, that the semester will have to start before the submission cycle opens, even if it is pushed back. I concede, moreover, that I could get my articles in better shape before winter break, instead of relying on it for writing time (while I'm also developing a new prep for a spring class and doing other things). Finally, I am sure there are plenty of administrative concerns that inform when the semester starts and ends that, me not being in administration, I simply am not considering. 

Still, am I crazy to think that the peculiarities of a dominant spring submission cycle might be relevant to when a law school starts classes in the spring?

Posted by Kevin Lapp on December 1, 2016 at 04:47 PM | Permalink


I'm only aware of the thinking on this my own school, but my recollection is that we try to start right away in January in part so students can have more flexibility in arranging summer employment.

As for law review article schedules, starting the new semester right away in January also usually means spring beak around the 1st week of March, which is not at all too late for finishing up law review articles.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Dec 2, 2016 12:05:05 PM

I think spring start date is directly related ending the semester and having grades in by the date that 3L students must be certified as eligible to take the bar. A bit more important than the ever-more-crazy law school submission cycles

Posted by: Rebecca bratspies | Dec 1, 2016 7:31:11 PM

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