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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Submission Angsting Fall 2018

This is the post to share information or ask questions about submitting to law reviews.

The comments can be used to share information, complaints, praise, etc. about which journals you have heard from, which you have not, and so forth.

Additionally, a spreadsheet to gather information is here (and embedded below).

I won't update or watch the spreadsheet. You can go ahead and add your own information by going to the spreadsheet here. The spreadsheet is editable by anyone, except that a few columns and a row (the ones highlighted in yellow) are locked, either because they auto-calculate or because tampering with them has caused a problem in the past. (If something about them needs to be changed post a comment, and I will change them.) As more information is added, I will do some pointless data calculations on subsequent sheets.

Entering information in the column entitled "Username" is of course totally optional, but a way to make keeping track easier. For example, if you pick a username, you will easily be able to sort by your entries and update them, instead of trying to remember what day you submitted and sorting that way. This also adds information -- showing, for example, that all of the entries on the spreadsheet come from one person, or from lots of people, etc. At any rate, totally optional, and simply a way to add more information.

Rostron & Levit's extremely helpful guide to submitting to law reviews is available here (this is the July 2018 version). The article now also includes hyperlinks to law review websites.

Comments now appear from newest to oldest.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 28, 2018 at 07:07 PM | Permalink


All I got this cycle is a T60 offer and two failed T20 board reads. I'm deferring to next submissions cycle. Good luck to all those still waiting/hopeful. These four weeks were enormously frustrating.

Posted by: AnonT | Aug 28, 2018 7:28:33 PM


There is nothing going on and everything is going on. There is only chaos, no order. Try counting the sand at the beach, that at least has an answer. No logic will prevail here. Maybe a slow editor was assigned to a given piece; maybe an editor likes a piece because it reminds them of a favorite subject they grappled with at their summer job; maybe Editor A was going to make you an offer, but then realized she left her Advanced Con Law text at the library, and by the time she returned with it, a friend wanted to grab coffee, which blew the whole thing up, at least until after the Contracts Seminar gets out this evening. Or maybe someone just forgot to use Scholastica. I for one have received offers after withdrawing from everywhere; have received email offers with no Scholstica notice; have received stealth offers from Scholastica; and many other oddities. Embrace the chaos.

Posted by: Nameless | Aug 28, 2018 6:30:16 PM

Thanks! And thanks anonanon for identifying (and inputting) your NYU info. This spreadsheet is the only thing that many of us have, and I, for one, spend way too much time looking at it and attempting to divine what may be going on.

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 5:44:00 PM

I don't know if I mess up, or if something happened with an edit, but I didn't get a rejection from Virginia on 08/25 saying they were full. It was a rejection from Colorado. I could've sworn I put in the right data, but I've correct it. I'm sorry for any additional angst that may have caused.

Posted by: Kayfabe | Aug 28, 2018 5:37:55 PM

This whole process has me so anxious. Too many decisions flying around today.

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 5:00:27 PM

anonanon, when did you submit? Was it before mid-August?

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 4:26:21 PM

I received an NYU rejection this cycle not off expedite.

Posted by: anonanon | Aug 28, 2018 4:24:24 PM

I am new and have a board review at a top 30 journal. Just trying to figure out what my odds are. Is an offer still unlikely?

Posted by: Board | Aug 28, 2018 4:18:57 PM

A number of Virginia stealth dings posted today. What does that mean?

Posted by: Stealth | Aug 28, 2018 4:16:59 PM

Based on our spreadsheet, the following journals have rejected in this cycle, but only on expedite: Texas, GW, Fordham, NYU.

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 4:07:14 PM

While angsting, my mind has wandered. I've noticed that my university library's catalog, based on Ulrich's directory of periodicals, lists many law reviews as "Refereed"(essentially meaning peer-reviewed). Why is this? Anyone have insight into why student-edited law reviews are listed this way?

Posted by: tangent | Aug 28, 2018 4:04:15 PM

As am I! That status has lost all meaning to me ...

Posted by: Full? | Aug 28, 2018 3:56:48 PM

I'm still "under review" at both, so I hope not.

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 3:50:37 PM

Are Virginia and California full?

Posted by: Full? | Aug 28, 2018 3:49:38 PM

Good luck, anonanon! Maybe you are writing in a particular area that they were looking for.

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 2:38:08 PM

My submission is still under consideration by Cornell, maybe they are just getting started after opening a few days ago. Either way, nice that they are communicating their decisions.

Posted by: anonanon | Aug 28, 2018 2:18:34 PM

I got a Cal reject. No expedite or anything.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 28, 2018 2:04:30 PM

can't wait for my Cal rejection to come through.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 28, 2018 2:02:23 PM

at 1:31:08, did you get notice of a full board read from Cal?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 28, 2018 1:39:57 PM

To the person who just posted the Cal reject, was this a standard response to an expedite request? Did you get notice of full board read before the reject?

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 1:31:08 PM

Cornell must have had something very specific it was looking for -- opened up for about a week and then seems to have mass-rejected this a.m. Is anyone's Cornell submission still under review?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 28, 2018 1:15:20 PM

Cornell is reviewing submissions not off expedite, to their credit.

Posted by: anotheranon | Aug 28, 2018 1:09:54 PM

anxiety, this is very helpful. Thanks.

Posted by: anon | Aug 28, 2018 8:13:32 AM

Also, nameless, you might contact the journal you accepted and ask for mercy. I forgot about this episode in my original narrative but one of my top offers (moving from a low T40ish to a high T30ish that came in a few days after the deadline) actually did come about when I called the editor of the original journal, explained the situation and its importance for my career, explained that I would accept whatever she decided and that the second offer had come out of nowhere, and she released me. It was a job market year so it was a big enough deal to me just to ask, just in case. (If she had said no I would have completely understood, but she released the piece). And that was also in a fall cycle, where I would assume the journals are in a worse situation. That piece has, since, become by far my most downloaded on SSRN and has been included in a treatise. Basically: it's worth a shot.

Posted by: anxiety | Aug 28, 2018 2:24:45 AM

I am a fourth year law prof, currently at a high T2 school, but spent my first two years at a RNP. Prior to that I had three full years of VAPS and fellowships. During all of this time I have done two cycles in which I only submitted to journals I would accept (T50 plus 10 or so specialties). On neither occasion did my article place at all. I did about 10 cycles where I submitted broadly, including mostly to places I wouldn't accept. Of those cycles on only one occasion did the music actually stop on a journal I would not accept, and I did feel like a total douche turning it down with no other offer. On the other 9 occasions I placed in a T30-50. I wish it weren't like this, but unless you are in an incredibly secure place professionally, I find it really hard to believe that it is wise only to submit to where you would publish. I wish it were otherwise but I'm not going to risk my whole career on the desire to be polite to journals, especially when in almost a decade it only once caused me to behave in a way I concede was dishonorable. They have another article in their queue. Until we're at a certain place our futures depend on these placements. (To use the parable of the hound and the hare, from Aesop, they are running for their dinners; we are (as VAPs and pre-tenure types) running for our lives).

Posted by: anxiety | Aug 28, 2018 2:01:58 AM

I accepted a t50, withdrew from everywhere, and received notice of a t20 board read a few dys later. I guess this is just the game, right?

I am a young scholar so hopefully I’ll get another shot someday. I’ve never broken the t20.

Posted by: Nameless | Aug 28, 2018 12:38:04 AM

Add me to the pile of people who only submitted to journals they would accept and has heard nothing.

Posted by: sickofsilence | Aug 27, 2018 10:26:12 PM

And, it pains me to add, I am a f*ckng advertisement for Scholastica in so saying. Because they, not the journals, reap the benefits of the "we will look at you no matter who accepts you" algorithm. This is not right. I am absolutely incentivized by this current system to apply super-broadly next time. Grrrr.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 9:05:51 PM

This is still super-useful. My takeaway for future submission cycles is to avoid the moral high ground (until I'm a Hart & Wechsler author, that is) and apply more widely than I'd ideally like to accept. Applying only to those I'd accept left me without expeditable material. And, though I believe I'm either a doorstop or in a maybe pile, I'm not getting answers. Perhaps even a T150 push would have helped. I really appreciate your candor and understand that your experience is a brief snapshot. Still, it is helpful. Thanks.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 7:56:28 PM

anon and NewProf -

First, I am 99% sure that we read all of the submissions we received while the journal was open, and I don't remember running into any real serious scarcity-of-space issues (e.g., the last article that we received had roughly the same chance at publication as the first article). As I recall, this was due to a combination of good pacing on our part and a little bit of flexibility (e.g., we were aiming to accept [x] +/- 1 articles). I think we also kept a small number of "maybes" in the pile until the end (<5), which allowed us to consider some earlier close calls together with our final batch.

Second, there are complicated psychological effects that influence article offers, but I think it's difficult to say that our final offers were harder won than our earlier offers. In fact, I think there's actually some bias towards later submissions in the process: when we were reading articles as new AEs, we demanded a degree of perfection that, in retrospect, was unrealistic. Moreover, by the end, we'd been through so many battles that some of our consistent "no" hold-out votes were starting to occasionally cave. All in all, there are a number of factors like this that influence article selection and I would be very reluctant to speculate as to when the ideal time to submit to our committee would have been (and I imagine that our ideal time would not have been identical to other committees' ideal times--or even the ideal time of the committee that replaced us).

Third, I am pretty sure that our "read expedites first" policy did not distinguish among expedites. Our goal was purely to avoid missing out on any article, and so our policy was to treat a T150 expedite in the same manner as a T50 or T14 expedite (although I suspect that individual AEs, when faced with a deadline that was very difficult to accommodate, might have responded differently to a T150 expedite than a T14 expedite--e.g., it's possible that T150 expedites were more likely not to be read before the deadline than T14 expedites). The one exception to that--I think--was for severe rush jobs on the full committee level. I can recall a couple of occasions that we moved our meeting up to accommodate a deadline imposed by a top journal. I am not convinced that we would have done that for a T150 journal -- although it may be that in every instance in which a T150 journal's deadline could have presented a problem, the author in question either obtained an extension or withdrew from that journal. (We notified authors of final stage review.)

Finally, I want to stress that although there is some year-to-year continuity on these journals, each articles committee is going to have its own culture and practices, so I would be reluctant to universalize from my experience.

Posted by: a non | Aug 27, 2018 7:10:29 PM

Am trying to drill down on whether it always makes sense to apply to the top 250 journals, snag one, and expedite. This seems super-wasteful of resources (both the submitting school's $$ and the receiving editors' time). But if that's the system unless you are a well-established scholar, there it is. I'm just trying to figure out if that IS, in fact, the system.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 7:00:16 PM

Yes, but that misses my question: is it ANY expedite -- as in ANY offer from whatever journal -- or do they differentiate amongst them?

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 6:58:43 PM

Well, reading expedites first obviously gives an advantage because publication spots are limited and the sooner your article is being read, the more likely you are to compete for these spots. Non-expedited articles will only be read after the expedited ones (if at all).

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 27, 2018 6:37:01 PM

@ a non - this is helpful. Did your "read expedites first" habit differentiate amongst expedites? In other words, would a T150 expedite merit the same treatment as a T50? It strikes me that an expedite has a significant lead out of the starting gate at most schools. If HYS extends the same "read it first" courtesy to a T150, then anyone who limits his submissions to T40 is at a significant disadvantage. Not that you won't read the submission, but you may mentally commit to others before you grab his off the stack.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 6:32:48 PM

I was a former HYS articles editor, and expedites played no signalling role in our decisionmaking. That is to say: we read expedites first--we didn't want to miss out on a good article--but we didn't afford them any additional weight or preference.

I can't really speculate as to how many of our offers were made off an expedite, because once an article got to full committee, we didn't know if it had been expedited or not--with the exception of articles that we had to rush *in* full committee because of a deadline. I do know that we made several rushed offers (and made a roughly proportional number of rushed decisions not to extend an offer).

Finally, I don't know what is going on with UVA, but I don't think that I was ever so overwhelmed by expedites that I wasn't also reading a significant number of non-expedited articles in a given week. It would be a real shame if UVA has stopped reading articles that have not been expedited.

Posted by: a non | Aug 27, 2018 6:07:52 PM

Not sure that journals don't "give a damn about their W&L ranking," but even if so, many do care about (a) working on better pieces, and (b) those pieces having an impact. Any journal that looks at expedites + non-expedites is going to have a bigger denominator, and thus a better chance of getting both (a) and (b).

Posted by: anotheranon | Aug 27, 2018 5:58:30 PM

I have not seen any recent information on this, but five or so years ago, this thread interviewed the editors in chief of Stanford Law Review and Minnesota Law Review. Shima Baradaran also did some empirical analysis (I think) of BYU. My recollection of the Stanford and Minnesota interviews was that expedites did not play as large a role as we might think. Yes, they got quicker attention sometimes, but that quicker attention did not translate into swooping up all the offers. I recall them saying that well less than half of their offers were based on expedites. My memory is not what it should be and I may be providing too much gloss, but it is worth looking for those threads and reading them for those looking to angst or reduce angsting.

Posted by: experienced anon | Aug 27, 2018 5:33:21 PM

Yes. It is worth writing your offeror and asking for more time.

Posted by: Mr. Eugenides | Aug 27, 2018 5:24:10 PM

I received an offer from an approximately 75th-ranked USNWR flagship with an especially short (16 hour) deadline. I expedited immediately but haven't heard back much, except from a few journals saying the time to review was not sufficient. Would it be worth writing to my offeror and asking for more time? In addition, if this is my best offer, would it be worth waiting until the Spring to resubmit? The topic is not particularly urgent, but on the other hand it's an unusual article (very short, around 10,000 words, practice-based and not in my area of interest) that I would place little weight on when I go on the job market (I just started as a VAP).

Thank you!

Posted by: Anon | Aug 27, 2018 5:14:18 PM

Anybody know of offers from Chicago, Columbia, or NYU?

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 4:28:46 PM

I know of a Texas offer this cycle. Not true that their board is not meeting.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 4:23:24 PM

It's good to keep in mind that the expediency of our publishing process is considered unfathomable in most other departments. I hear stories about waiting 6 months to get an R&R back. Despite all the warts of the law publishing process, I don't envy the exclusive submission process found most other fields.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 27, 2018 4:18:33 PM

I have learned just how impatient I am in this process. So many schools are rejecting others but not me, and yet I'm getting nothing. I think my article makes a convenient doorstop.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 4:08:17 PM

I don't think journals give a damn about their W&L ranking if their US News ranking is in the T-14. Particularly if by "journal" you mean short-term student editors who don't have a long-term interest in changing the status quo.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 27, 2018 3:41:09 PM

Virginia and other journals that rely on expedites hurt themselves. They miss out on good articles, and working with good people. I wonder if journals that rely on expedites to find articles are more likely to be ranked lower than their institution, like Virginia L. Rev. ranking at 19th in Washington & Lee, well below the school’s top-10 ranking.

Posted by: waiting | Aug 27, 2018 3:35:54 PM

Rejections when boards are not back aren't weird; they are just clearing their pile. I don't think the board has to meet for those. I think they only meet for offers.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 3:11:21 PM

The spreadsheet reports a BC offer and two Texas rejections. Weird.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 27, 2018 2:54:55 PM

Texas and Boston College are not back on campus yet. The board has not yet convened.

Posted by: SomeInfo | Aug 27, 2018 2:53:40 PM

I wonder if it's that anon who expedited a T150 offer and was told he was through two stages at Harvard. Harvard may have felt obliged to give him the bottomline when the upshot of their contact was that he decided to deny the initial offer.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 2:25:27 PM

Did Harvard start sending out rejections? Oh lordy...

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 27, 2018 2:20:32 PM

To respond to a non's point, I have figured I could strengthen the quality of the piece during the journal's review process. Especially before the journal begins editing the piece, there's little stopping you from making it significantly better anyway.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 27, 2018 1:21:31 PM

I agree, take the T30 and run. You never know who, or how many others, may write on this subject in the mean time. Plus, you overestimate how much you can improve it. Especailly considering how good of an acceptance a T30 is. And as already mentioned, there's ton of value being able to spend your time working on other stuff.

The biggest questions that I ask myself when considering a placement is whether the placement will give my article proper exposure--i.e., will people read it and cite it. And second, whether the placement will set me back in the sense that could it hurt my CV during subsequent cycles. It seems like your placement would give your topic great exposure and also benefit your career. Given that, I'd publish it and move on to the next big idea.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 27, 2018 1:16:51 PM

If you don't need the publication, I think that article quality trumps article placement. My suspicion is that if you rewrite and resubmit in the spring, it's about 50/50 whether you place as well or better than T30. But it also sounds to me like your career won't be materially impacted by whether this ends up in UVA's or Colorado's law review. So the downside of re-submitting--that you potentially end up with a lower placement--may be less valuable than the upside--that you *definitely* end up with a stronger piece (and potentially a better placement).

Posted by: a non | Aug 27, 2018 1:14:15 PM

T-30 is an excellent placement. No reason to forego this offer, if only for the reason of focusing on other projects and endeavors. Congrats!

Posted by: AnonP | Aug 27, 2018 12:57:42 PM

I have never know someone to do worse in the spring than the fall. But I also have never know someone to walk away from a T30 offer. The walkaways have been with journals right around 50 or substantially below it.

Posted by: experienced anon | Aug 27, 2018 12:28:14 PM

I have a T30 offer on a piece I quickly wrote this summer but one that I think can be improved and could have longevity. Would I be foolish to turn down the offer in hand and re-submit in spring? I am very junior and don't need to publish this cycle, but I am worried about potentially faring worse in the spring. Any advice would be very gratefully received.

Posted by: T30 | Aug 27, 2018 12:19:28 PM

Honestly, as a still fairly junior faculty, I find all of this very frustrating. I have, over the years, received such conflicting advice about how to do all of this. Some people say submit everywhere and expedite everything, others say submit everywhere and expedite in phases, still others say only submit to journals you would accept (and unless you are getting T30 or better placements, few can agree on what is worthy of accepting and what is not), and then, even still, there is the question of placing and getting work out there in mid-tier journals and building a reputation vs waiting multiple cycles to see if you can break into higher rungs.
In many ways, this system seems best designed for people who graduated from, are mentored by, and teach at a small handful of schools and the rest of us are left playing a guessing game, no matter how hard we work.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 27, 2018 12:04:03 PM

Any journal that only reviews on expedite is culprit #1 in the scam. Grrr.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 11:53:49 AM

I am sure I have done something like that.

Posted by: Mr. Eugenides | Aug 27, 2018 11:42:23 AM

My guess is the person did a mass submission on those dates but forgot that Fordham and GW opened up later. I could see myself making that mistake.

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2018 11:20:32 AM

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