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Friday, August 04, 2017

Law Review Submission Angsting Thread: Fall 2017

It looks to be about that time of year again.  Post here for comments about your law review submission experiences.  I'm wondering if the Northwestern exclusive review, with its decisions made by July 28, has moved up the process a bit.

UPDATE: You can get to the last page of the comments here.

Posted by Matt Bodie on August 4, 2017 at 08:32 AM in Law Review Review | Permalink


Got a ding from Chicago.

Posted by: ding | Sep 26, 2017 5:41:59 PM

I think someone messed up the spreadsheet.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 26, 2017 5:19:30 PM

@Silence So Far - I just sent an expedite request to those journals late last night. GWU rejected this afternoon.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 26, 2017 5:13:21 PM

To the above poster re: Chicago- most journals don't do anything - they just ignore you. Writing them does not really add anything to the process except if it is to expedite. Many journals don't even look at submissions after Labor Day (some stopped looking at submission after the first or second week of August). Moreover, many journals only have one or two spots to fill in the fall. Submitting late - especially without being a famous person - is unlikely to yield any offers. It's hard for everyone to get offers so don't feel bad. Just resubmit in the spring.

Re Chicago specifically I get the sense from my own submissions over the years that they are not even seriously looking at anything without an expedite. They start late so they review a little later, but they often fill their volumes with big name professors.

Posted by: anon1 | Sep 26, 2017 2:33:26 PM

Dear All,

If after an expedite request, the editors of a high-ranked journal reach out to you asking that you obtain a deadline extension to give them more time to consider your submission.....are they signalling that there is a concrete chance of subsequent acceptance? Or is it just standard practice?

Posted by: UKacademic | Sep 26, 2017 1:49:52 PM

Does anyone know if Chicago, Northwestern, Boston College, Washington & Lee, George Washington, University of Colorado, or Wake Forest are still reviewing articles?

Posted by: silence so far | Sep 26, 2017 6:45:34 AM


This is my personal experience. I work at reputable "regional" UK University (not Cambridge/Oxford/London School of Economics); it is not a recognisable name in the USA, though it has greater prestige in the far east. I was not born in an English speaking country and my first law degree is from my home jurisdiction. As such, I have had to "conquer" the UK academic system first and I am presently trying to move to the USA after Brexit.

In my experience, if you are submitting to a UK or USA journal as an "academic outsider" the following are needed:

1) Form ought to be immaculate: a) find a competent proofreader who will help you make sure that syntax and grammar are as perfect as they can be; b) footnoting must be faultless.

2) You have to write for an American/UK audience (as the case may be): terminology/taxonomy must conform to that expected by your readers. Your article should fit into the broader academic discourse of your target jurisdiction.

There is a steep hill to climb as an academic outsider. In my opinion it is neither prejudice nor xenophobia. Simply, competition is incredibly high. Student editors/peer reviewers receive thousands/hundreds of submissions. Very many of these manuscripts originate from promising/established academics, they are written splendidly and display no obvious fault.

Awarding a coveted publication slot to an academic outsider can only happen if the paper in question makes for an indisputably compelling case and is perceived as enriching the journal publishing it.

Posted by: UKacademic | Sep 26, 2017 3:23:53 AM

I'm a newbie and really not familiar with the law review submissions game.
I finished my essay relatively late in the season and decided to send the piece to Chicago (yes, I was ambitious but had nothing to lose). I sent the paper on 09/06 and haven't heard from them yet. Should I be hopeful or is it more likely that they haven't even considered the paper? Any insight into how the system works will help to ease my anxiety. Thanks!

Posted by: Anon | Sep 25, 2017 7:10:53 PM

IntlTeam: It's also a problem for everyone - not just you. The fall cycle is horrible. Many journals literally have one spot. Most of the mid tier journals in which a no name person could reasonably get an offer were not even open. So I would not necessarily ascribe your problems to being foreign - even if you were American, the nature of the fall cycle makes it very very tough for everyone - even people like me with T5 credentials.

Posted by: anon | Sep 25, 2017 5:42:12 PM

Thanks abl and anna non!

Posted by: IntlTeam | Sep 25, 2017 5:16:31 PM

IntlTeam --

I was an articles editor on a HYS journal. Although we did not put any weight on letterhead, my suspicion is that for those schools that do (potentially every other school), foreign letterhead is not going to be given much if any weight (which would represent, at best, a huge opportunity cost). There are probably some exceptions to that--Oxford and Cambridge, for example. But I'm not sure that list goes any longer than that, despite the fact that there are many other excellent and internationally well-respected foreign universities (for example, I suspect that if you submitted on National University of Singapore letterhead, you'd be treated as a practitioner or maybe as a second- or third-tier U.S. law school prof).

I can think of other ways that partnering with a foreign legal academic could disadvantage you. Is your co-academic's first language English? We got some submissions from folks who were clearly not writing in their first language--and I'm not sure if a single one of them made it past our initial screening. Some of these articles may have had excellent substance. But when you're an overworked law review editor churning through dozens of incredibly dense law review articles, unclear (or awkward) writing is an easy first filter to apply. Similarly, articles that weren't bluebooked at all, or weren't formatted like a law review article, set off all sorts of flags for me. I did read past big formatting problems, and I can think of at least one terribly formatted article that made it all of the way to our final stage review--but it definitely doesn't help you as an author for your reader to be biased against your article before he or she even starts reading it. If your article isn't formatted in the very specific way demanded of U.S. law reviews, that could be leading to some disadvantage. Finally, it's totally possible that your article wasn't actually disadvantaged at all. This process is super hit and miss, and my sense from these boards is that this fall round was particularly tight.

Posted by: abl | Sep 25, 2017 5:14:43 PM

@IntlTeam: I would polish your bluebooking, maybe by paying an American student to make it perfect. It seems like a stupid non-substantive reason to decline to publish, but if there's a lot of work to do on that front the journal editors may prefer equally solid pieces that are already perfectly bluebooked.

Posted by: anna non | Sep 25, 2017 4:39:59 PM

How disadvantaged are foreign legal academics in publishing in US law reviews?
If this disadvantage exists (and I suspect it does), what can foreign authors hope to do to improve their chances? What are the reasons you suppose are behind this (is it just lack of name or school recognition by us law students)? I ask because, this cycle, I was co-author with a senior, well-respected, foreign legal academic on a paper I thought was quite good (we've both successfully published in quality US law reviews in the past). However, that paper as well as one other by my colleague did not get any offers (so far) this cycle. We are now trying to figure out how to maximize our chances in the spring round -- but it is not clear to us whether revising a CV to look more 'American', better polishing 'bluebook style' references, or something else would actually be beneficial. Or would you suggest we just submit again?

Posted by: IntlTeam | Sep 25, 2017 4:19:00 PM

UKacademic - I would try, at this point in the cycle - what do you have to loose?

Posted by: BB | Sep 25, 2017 10:16:52 AM

Received an offer from a Top 10 IP Journal.

I am going to try expediting all the top IP journals.

Should I also try a few generalists? Do generalist journals consider expedite requests based on specialty journals publications offers?

Posted by: UKacademic | Sep 25, 2017 8:06:19 AM

Newbie, define "top." I heard from a low T25 that said it was reviewing through next week. I heard the same from a top specialty.

I work at a top 3 school and saw students thumbing through stacks of articles the other day. I don't know if they were from flagship or specialty journals and I don't know whether they were doing the first read. So that probably isn't especially helpful insight.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 24, 2017 12:57:59 PM

California, Cornell, Fordham, Michigan, NYU, Northwestern, Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia, also closed for submissions.

Posted by: jr prof | Sep 24, 2017 8:15:40 AM

Are some of the top journals still seriously reviewing at this point?

Posted by: newbie | Sep 24, 2017 8:09:33 AM

Correction, North Carolina has stopped accepting submissions, but may not be closed after all.

Posted by: jr prof | Sep 24, 2017 7:32:25 AM

North Carolina Law Review is closed, made an offer recently

Posted by: jr prof | Sep 23, 2017 3:30:27 PM

Thanks, everyone!

Posted by: advice? | Sep 23, 2017 9:20:22 AM

Thanks, everyone!

Posted by: advice? | Sep 23, 2017 9:20:21 AM

If it were Y, H, S law and policy, I'd take it. Otherwise, it is a hard pick and writey spice's advice seems smart. i picked between harv j on legis and maryland one time a long time ago, and picked harv. so, maybe really i'd go with the specialty.

I also email USC and didn't hear back

Posted by: anonprof1234 | Sep 23, 2017 8:24:41 AM

I second Writey Spice's advice.

Posted by: Anon__ | Sep 22, 2017 5:41:30 PM

@advice: i'd look at how it would fit with the rest of my publication record. if lots of specialties, pick the flagship; if all other pubs are flagships, pick the specialty.

Posted by: writey spice | Sep 22, 2017 4:11:48 PM

If it was international law, maybe I would take the specialty - it would probably be better edited in the end if at a top school and some of the international specialties or the two top IP law specialties at Harvard and Berkeley are very well respected. But outside of that, you might want to take the 45-50 range.

Also, depends on the rank of the school you want to lateral to. I was alwasy advised not to take an offer from a law school you would not yourself teach at.

Posted by: anon | Sep 22, 2017 4:00:22 PM

I've got a "would you rather" if anyone wants to play. If your goal were to impress potential lateral committees, would you pick a specialty journal ranked #1 by Washington & Lee in your field (and housed at a top school) or a flagship journal at a school ranked in the 45-50 range by USN?

Posted by: advice? | Sep 22, 2017 3:46:29 PM

I've got a "would you rather" if anyone wants to play. If your goal were to impress potential lateral committees, would you pick a specialty journal ranked #1 by Washington & Lee in your field (and housed at a top school) or a flagship journal at a school ranked in the 45-50 range by USN?

Posted by: advice? | Sep 22, 2017 3:46:27 PM

Confused: some specialties are quite good. I would look at ranking on Washington and Lee. For example, I think Mich J L Reform is considered very good, and you might take it over a mid-range L Review.

Posted by: Magnolia | Sep 22, 2017 2:34:11 PM

Following the advice at the top of this page of comments, I emailed USC, and still have received no response. But I did get a response to my email from Stanford, even though their website says they will only respond if there is interest. They apologized and said that they neglected to send out rejections after their final meeting. But at least I know now that it was rejected.

Posted by: anon | Sep 22, 2017 10:08:02 AM

Thanks anonprof1234. It's a law and policy specialty journal. I've checked, and the school does have a large number of journals. I guess I thought the school's high ranking would rub off on the specialty journal. But I guess it's more complicated than that.

Posted by: confused | Sep 22, 2017 9:40:16 AM

It depends on the specialty, but I'd vote for the flagship. For sure if it is the 5th best journal at the school, I'd go with top 70 flagship.

Posted by: anonprof1234 | Sep 22, 2017 1:22:52 AM

I'm struggling to choose between a T8 specialty journal and a T70 flagship. Is that a big enough difference to say the specialty is the way to go? I fear the obvious answer is "it depends." It's my first round of law review submissions, so I feel fortunate but confused. Any thoughts appreciated.

Posted by: confused | Sep 21, 2017 8:42:31 PM

ErieSwiftByrd, that's an accomplishment for sure! Congratulations!

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 21, 2017 5:19:16 PM

Well I gave the journals 10 days for my expedite request but my deadline is up. Not super happy with either journal but I'm still a student and I don't want to sit on these for a year. Still exciting to have two! publications before graduation.

Posted by: ErieSwiftByrd | Sep 21, 2017 5:13:37 PM

Well, I submitted on 8/7, played the expedite game for weeks and weeks, commented on this thread more times than I probably should have, and am finally getting off the carousel. Still miffed at all the silence from over 20 T50 journals six weeks after I submitted, but I can't wait around any longer. I accepted a T50ish offer and will try again in the spring. Best of luck to all!

Posted by: anon | Sep 21, 2017 3:27:36 PM

Thank you all. Anon @2:33, I am definitely prepared to face that reality. Even when I submitted this cycle, I knew I would likely need to try again early in the February cycle.

Nevertheless, I think I'm going to start a discussion on Scholastica along the lines of what anon @ 2:49:26 suggests. Unless anyone thinks it would hurt. My thinking is that I am likely going to just get a faster rejection, but it might be the case that they only review off expedites (?) and haven't looked at my manuscript. It doesn't seem like it could hurt.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 21, 2017 3:03:11 PM

i just start a discussion explaining the situation - that I only submitted to few top journals, and if you are interested let me know. Only thing you can do at this point.

Posted by: anon | Sep 21, 2017 2:49:26 PM


I am in a similar predicament. However, I am hoping to hear back from specialist law journals.

Posted by: UKacademic | Sep 21, 2017 2:49:09 PM

JollyGoodFellow, I think the answer is to resubmit in the spring. I think journals are narrowing down hundreds of submissions for one remaining spot or so. I think it may be heard, this late in the game, to jump ahead of the line. I also submitted around when you did, but figure I'll just have something ready in Feb.

Posted by: Anon__ | Sep 21, 2017 2:33:52 PM

I submitted my manuscript quite late (the week of Labor Day). I only submitted to a short list of similarly ranked law reviews, so I do not plan to expedite. In other words, I only submitted to journals from which I would accept an offer. I have gotten more silence than I typically expect in a cycle (I normally expedite). Would it be beneficial to start a discussion with the journals to (1) indicate that I am not expediting and that I would accept an offer from them and (2) request a decision? I suspect many of these journals wait for expedite requests in order to assess quality. I also suspect (perhaps mistakenly) that they prioritize their review of submissions based on expedite requests and that they may not have even looked at my late, un-expedited submission yet.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 21, 2017 1:31:42 PM

Ding from Michigan State Law Review

Posted by: UKacademic | Sep 20, 2017 7:39:18 PM

Submitted in early September. I've gotten some bites from specialty journals. Mostly crickets from flagship journals.

Posted by: writer of ordinary skill | Sep 20, 2017 3:24:44 PM

Any September submissions that have generated offers?

Posted by: anon | Sep 20, 2017 2:30:19 PM

USC will respond if you send an email. I did that once and they actually responded. Never changed the scholastica thing however. It's still pending on there even though the email said rejected.

Posted by: anon | Sep 20, 2017 10:49:21 AM

No word from USC this cycle. Or any other cycle. They've always given me the silent treatment.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 20, 2017 8:56:30 AM

Nope. But USC is notorious for the silent rejection.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 20, 2017 1:44:45 AM

has anyone heard from USC lately?

Posted by: anonprof1234 | Sep 19, 2017 11:11:16 PM

ErieSwiftByrd, I did my first submission cycle as a 3L as well. Many of the journals don't ever bother to notify you of a decision (I think that's true even as a non-student submitter). Most law reviews have a policy against accepting work from students at other institutions. How close is your expedite deadline? Are you content with your offers?

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 19, 2017 6:32:15 PM

3L student at T25 school. Got two different articles accepted at (W&L) ranked 300s journals. Nothing so far from expedite requests. Illuminating foray into the law review publishing world.

Posted by: ErieSwiftByrd | Sep 19, 2017 1:54:38 PM

Fun fact: Harvard now has an option for you to request an update on the status of your article, which will garner an automatic email response: "Under Review"

tick tock tick tock

Posted by: anon | Sep 19, 2017 10:57:31 AM

Sorry, that should read top 50 flagship journal...

Posted by: anon | Sep 19, 2017 10:04:47 AM

Would appreciate any thoughts on whether to go with an offer from a top 50 flagship school (according to US News Peer Rep ranking) versus a top specialty journal? Not a prof--but aspiring--and first article submission. Thanks!

Posted by: anon | Sep 19, 2017 9:58:08 AM

Anyone know the deal with Texas? They have been closed for weeks, yet I have outstanding submission, even though others have gotten rejections. Why don't they just reject everyone? Are they still technically reviewing?

Posted by: anon | Sep 18, 2017 10:06:54 PM


I agree. I suspect that we are simply going to get mass emails saying "sorry, we could not find the time to read your stuff. Better luck in January!"

Posted by: UKacademic | Sep 18, 2017 6:14:25 PM

You and me both, anon. I really wish they would just click the button and send off decisions. I think many of them release decisions in bulk at the close of the cycle.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 18, 2017 4:21:28 PM

haha You wouldn't even have submitted to this journal ;) but I will probably take it. I'm still totally frustrated by the deafening silence from like 30 journals...

Posted by: anon | Sep 18, 2017 3:52:44 PM

I just realized how crotchety the tone might seem from that last post. What I should have said is: congratulations on your existing offer! I hope it's one you're pleased with, so you don't have to agonize about the silence from the other journals.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 18, 2017 3:23:05 PM

At least you have an offer. I might be stuck waiting until January to resubmit. Fortunately, I emotionally prepared for this, because I submitted very late and only to a handful of similarly ranked journals.

Posted by: JollyGoodFellow | Sep 18, 2017 3:06:31 PM

Jolly: The rejection from Yale L&P said that they're full and invite submissions or resubmissions in January.

I am also still waiting on BC, Florida, Illinois, USC, as well as Stanford, HLR, Arizona, Wake Forest, and a few others in the T50. Expedite deadline is in a few hours, sooooo, not sure what will happen.

Posted by: anon | Sep 18, 2017 1:54:37 PM

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