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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


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

It looks like Virginia is mostly only really reviewing, or at least sending decisions, off expedite.

Posted by: Jr prof | Aug 27, 2018 10:47:39 AM

I find it weird that someone reported Fordham and GW rejections with submission dates before these journals actually opened. Come on, people, this is supposed to be truthful intel.

Posted by: AnonP | Aug 27, 2018 9:43:19 AM

Thank you! I am discovering that I have a particular expertise in angst. :) I went into the fall submission cycle understanding that spots are few and far between and expecting that I would likely revise and resubmit in the spring. That's why I applied only to journals whose offers I knew I would accept. It seems, though, that the system is set up to give people an incentive to apply to journals they would not accept so that they can light a little fire under their submissions at other, higher-ranked journals. This is almost certainly Scholastica's business model, and if I were a lower-ranked journal editor, I would feel used and wonder whether I was truly getting anything out of a system that inundated me with papers, and thus work, from authors who were just trying to parlay my work into a better offer elsewhere. I didn't want to do that, but my moral-high-ground strategy has me awash in crickets. Oh well . . . .

Posted by: impatient | Aug 27, 2018 9:12:10 AM

Impatient: I knew someone would say, but what about those in between. Well, that is a closer call. First, you have a fantastic first single publication. That is an extremely strong signal to any top 50 journal. Getting a great first publication is very tough. For those "in the know," it should get a little extra weight. But, it is dimmed a little because your track record is short.

I mentored someone in a very similar situation at a school ranked around 100 a few years ago. His first publication was T5, he submitted his second article a little on the late side (can't recall if it was spring or fall). His first offer took a while and was a specialty publication. It was basically all crickets before and after that first offer, but then he landed a well respected T30 and he was done. Again, data isn't worth a lot and anecdotes even less, but my "guess" is that you just need to hold tight and angst.

Posted by: experienced anon | Aug 27, 2018 8:59:24 AM

experienced anon, this is useful intel. This is my second submission, and the first landed in a T20. How many successful placements put one into a relatively safe situation? I didn't want to waste my school's money or editors' time, but now I'm starting to see that this may have been a dumb strategy. I may have needed that T100 journal offer to expedite.

Posted by: impatient | Aug 27, 2018 7:51:02 AM

Sorry, I meant to say that I teach at at lower T100 school.

Posted by: experienced anon | Aug 27, 2018 7:43:39 AM

impatient: I think it depends in part on your past publishing history. Those who with an established record can typically just submit to the T40 or 50 and get a first offer with no expedite. I don't teach at lower T100 school, so I don't think students are jumping to read my submission based on my school, but my record is long enough that I generally get an offer in 7 to 12 days. Junior colleagues at my school, who are strong scholars either have to wait longer or submit to a broader array of schools. The fall can be tricky, particularly when it gets later in the season. I submitted two weeks later than usual this year and am 8 days into the process with no offer. I am wondering if this is the year that things go differently. But then I remind myself that junior colleague (with good record) submitted relatively late last year. Didn't get her first offer (T35) until mid to late September and then her second offer from a T5 came. Data, strategies, etc. are what we obsess over, but in the end they are no more than best guess. I often say good work "always" finds a suitable home (unless you submit in October and November).

Posted by: experienced anon | Aug 27, 2018 7:43:04 AM

Serious question: It seems like most of the decisions on the spreadsheet are off expedites. I applied to open T40 journals only and do not have anything to expedite. I have heard nothing from most of the journals, even though it has been 17 days. Do expedites consume editors' time such that they are not able to evaluate non-expedited pieces? I am wondering whether the system is set up to encourage people to apply to journals they would not consider in an effort to get the process going. I spend half the time trying to convince myself that no word from journals that are rejecting others is a positive sign and the other half the time certain that the only reason the journals have even looked at others is because they (unlike me) have expedited. Thoughts?

Posted by: impatient | Aug 27, 2018 7:11:37 AM

Thanks for the info! Helpful and much-needed transparency,IMHO. Any sense on NYu’s Timing?

Posted by: Rejectmealready | Aug 26, 2018 9:40:34 PM

Do you know dates for Northwestern and Texas?

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 26, 2018 8:45:45 PM

Have you expedited? If so, I wouldn't send a follow-up. Unless a journal promised you decision by X and you haven't heard back.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 26, 2018 8:00:06 PM

I have until Sept 1st to respond to an offer, but still have quite a few journals I have not heard from. Strategy-wise, would you recommend sending a short follow-up note? I hate waiting until the last day to act on the offer that has been extended ...

Posted by: New&Anxious | Aug 26, 2018 7:54:41 PM

I know for a fact that NW and Texas are concluding their reviews this upcoming week. Not sure about the others.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 26, 2018 7:45:32 PM

@NewProf: What about Texas, cal, Vandy, northwestern, and Penn? Are they done too, do you think?

Posted by: Rejectmealready | Aug 26, 2018 7:40:00 PM

I believe it is winding down. More and more journals are closing down. I think we're yet to see a few offers from the late-openers - Fordham, GW, and Cornell, but I don't think there's much activity otherwise.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 26, 2018 6:52:25 PM

Are we thinking this season is winding down? Haven't got any really good nibbles and I'm not even hearing rejections at this point...

Posted by: Anon | Aug 26, 2018 6:49:54 PM

Congratulations, earlysubmit!

Posted by: Anon | Aug 26, 2018 6:31:09 PM

@Earlysubmit, congratulations and thanks for being so thoughtful with your feedback!

Posted by: Thank you | Aug 26, 2018 4:46:31 PM

I am out with a T30 offer, which I am happy with. In keeping with my observations prior cycles, not being rejected by heavy rejection journals appears to have not meant anything: one such journal who had my article for over a month never even responded to my expedite (despite being very heavily represented on the spreadsheet). Good luck to all the people still angsting!

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Aug 26, 2018 4:37:42 PM

Nothing here. Am waiting to hear from 14 (of 18 open) T20 journals to which I submitted between 8/10 and 8/13. Saw movement on lists back in the halcyon days of refresh addiction, and now nada. Several of these journals have rejected others, but many have done nothing apparent.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 26, 2018 3:22:26 PM

Have the previously mentioned "cascades" started? All I've got is radio silence.

Posted by: sickofsilence | Aug 26, 2018 2:37:58 PM

How long are people getting to respond to their offers at this point? I understand this varies from journal to journal, but does it also vary depending on where we are in the cycle?

Posted by: Timing | Aug 26, 2018 12:01:28 PM

Congratulations to the person with the Wash. L. Rev. offer! Did you get a notice of committee review or hear out of the blue?

Posted by: Washington | Aug 26, 2018 11:18:54 AM

Experienced: I'm not lashing out. My primary cycle has been over for some time (I did quite well). I'm just trying to get a bit of info on a second article I put out, and decided to make my thoughts known on the previous conversation. It seems that was a mistake.

I wrote a long response, but decided to delete it because what's the point, right? Those sentiments are, by and large, why we have this system and why this system is going to remain in place.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 26, 2018 11:04:31 AM

Looks like today's going to be a big day on the spreadsheet. Yikes.

Posted by: verynoisy | Aug 26, 2018 10:37:55 AM

YIKAM, This is a tough process for us all, but I don't think it does any of us any good to lash out, particularly at the students or journals. First, we don't pay law journals money to reject us. They aren't making money off of us and will put in a tremendous amount of hours to take our articles to publication over the coming months. Second, we pay scholastica to deliver our articles. Critique their pricing as you will. As for refunds for them for not monitor their lists or whatever. It seems their pricing is steep to me, but the journals are not to blame. Third, a lot of students don't have the confidence to outright reject. There are a lot of maybes. I liken this to being on the hiring committee of my law school. There are a ton of great applicants out there and a relatively small percentage who clearly are not. There were a lot of people who we didn't extend interview to or give call backs to who I did not give up on until the entire process was over. I would have been happy, and in fact have tried real hard, to bring those folks in later after we did not land our first round of top choices.

Yes, I am sure there are obvious rejects that get no notice from law journals. But I don't think they are just being lazy.

Posted by: experienced anon | Aug 26, 2018 8:42:08 AM

Does anybody have any information on whether the international law journals are offering?

re: the above discussion,

the system is terrible;

Scholastica is a racket;

journals should have to refund every no-response. people are basically paying $6.50 to be rejected. the least an "editor" (they're children for crying out loud) can do is take the half second to click a box;

i have no idea who thought this was a good idea or why the profession stands for it.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 26, 2018 2:14:10 AM

Bump on the above question. And what's the theory on the scholastica emails. are they not coming out in the morning anymore? the silence is getting to me.

Posted by: rejectmealready | Aug 26, 2018 12:12:19 AM

Has anyone heard lately from: Harvard (ha), Chicago, NYU, Penn, Cal, Texas, Vandy, or USC? Sorta quiet from these T20 schools.

Posted by: eerilyquiet | Aug 25, 2018 9:56:06 PM

This cycle I received 2 offers and 3-4 dings off 40 email submissions from about Aug 12. I dropped a line in the email that I wouldn’t use an acceptance to expedite. It was a geographic specific piece from law school so I am happy with the T120 placement. Maybe people should note in the spreadsheet if the response was from an email submission. Likley some schools are more receptive then others.

Posted by: BarPending | Aug 25, 2018 6:55:12 PM


How have you fared with email? For the purpose of avoiding Scholastica, I made a fair amount of email submissions this time too. I received one offer from an email submisson but am not confident the majority were reviewed (which is actually the same state of affairs of as my Scholastica submissions, many of which were also not reviewed, yet cost $6.50 per).

Posted by: anonanon | Aug 25, 2018 6:31:22 PM

Reading all these frustrating comments about Scholastica makes me glad I only submit to journals that accept email submissions.

Posted by: BarPending | Aug 25, 2018 6:19:22 PM

I would applaud more action from student reviewers. But if the change has to come from the journals, then I worry that it will never change. Law reviews aren't monolithic entities; rather, they consist of students who are there for two years max. And here's no incentive for them to do more work during their tenure, even if would make the system as a whole more fair. Plus the change would have to be endorsed by the ones at the top -- who have the least incentives to do more, because the system works well for them right now. What a mess of misaligned incentive structures!

Posted by: angsty | Aug 25, 2018 4:25:44 PM

So we'll never have the transparency for which many are advocating. While I hear the concerns that, because of asymmetrical information, we'll never know of our lost opportunities (not knowing if a top journal really is very interested in one of our articles). But consider, right now, journals can and do tell us that they're very interested in our articles. For instance, "We're very interested in your article and would like to bring it to a full board vote, can you get more time on your offer?" Also, secondary journals tell you all the time that they're starting to review your article. My point is that the law reviews have every opportunity right now to be more open and transparent via personal messages. So the lack of transparency is more driven by the law reviews than Scholastica.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 25, 2018 2:52:38 PM

plusone - good point. More transparency would mean that lower ranked journals will receive less submissions and won't be as inclined to work exclusively with Scholastica.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 2:42:25 PM

Yeah, they make a lot of money off the fact that people submit down the chain in an effort to elicit information about higher-ups' activities.

Posted by: plusone | Aug 25, 2018 2:40:33 PM

The delayed rejection e-mails is another indicator of how broken the system is. If a journal appears open but in reality is full, Scholastica will only release the rejection the next morning to give the appearance of actual review where no review took place. Imagine the outrage if you submitted to 80 law review and immediately received 5 rejection emails saying "we're full (and been full for the last week)."

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 2:40:11 PM

Anon | Aug 25, 2018 2:01:17 PM -

That was exactly my point. Scholastica wants to make as much profit as possible. Many journals appear open but are not actually reviewing. Why would Scholastica provide any more transparency if their business model revolves around uncertainty - e.g. "journals are open and reviewing! submit now!"

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 2:34:55 PM

I wish this comment thread had a "like" button. +1 on the concept that the revenue share idea would result in instantaneous rejections and discourage journals from giving an unknown a chance. +1 on idea that we should get board read notifications. I suspect they will never do it because far more than admit it use expedites to get a little glimpse into the process. Last year, I expedited off a journal I probably wouldn't have accepted and immediately got info about three board reads. I don't think the expedite caused the board reads, but it caused me to learn of them, which made me feel a lot less anxious. +1 on the idea that it's absolutely wrong that they took money for my submission to a "closed" journal, like Wash U.

Posted by: plusone | Aug 25, 2018 2:12:50 PM

The journals need to dump Scholastica en masse. There is no reason this can’t happen. The price-gouging and deliberate secrecy is bad for our profession, bad for students, and bad for knowledge-creation. The whole process disgusts me more and more than it ever has before.

Posted by: prawf | Aug 25, 2018 2:11:15 PM

I suspect scholastica shut it down, not because they want to hide board reads and activity, but because of the exact opposite: they don't want us to know how little activity occurs on most of our submissions. It exposes the underbelly of journals who reject without any process or who simply never open your article even though you paid for a submission and the journal says they are open. Scholastic has an incentive for these journals to say they are open because it gets money...

Posted by: Anon | Aug 25, 2018 2:01:17 PM

anonauthor - you're right, Scholastica doesn't make most of its revenue off of leading law professors. But journals are more likely to change their behavior if their respective faculty members (again, tenured and well-known individuals) signal that this lack of transparency is unacceptable.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 1:39:49 PM

@NewProf - Scholastica doesn't only make money off of leading law professors. There's only a handful of them and they probably only submit to the T20. The bulk of the submissions (and Scholastica's revenue) have to be coming from lower down the ladder folks who are shooting blind and quite frustrated.

Posted by: anonauthor | Aug 25, 2018 1:37:24 PM

LawAndEcon - what incentive does Scholastica have to adopt this revenue share model?

Also, this system will simply result in massive near-instantaneous rejections. I think it would discourage journals from seriously reviewing pieces by junior faculty. It will increase the letterhead bias, in my view.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 1:36:32 PM

I admittedly have no idea. I'm brand new to this process (this was my first article and I'm not a professor). Perhaps post a letter to Scholastica or to the/a blog.

As one idea, I think a "considering" check mark next to the article on the journal side would help a great deal. Or let us know when a second reader has been assigned. Again, i expect some journals would get a reputation for being silent, but any information would help.

Posted by: anonauthor | Aug 25, 2018 1:34:03 PM

The solution is simple really: a revenue share model between Scholastica and the journals under which journals do not get any money for a given submission until they either accept or reject it and under which the revenue share received by journals decreases by some amount each day.

Posted by: LawAndEcon | Aug 25, 2018 1:32:30 PM

Realistically, having the leading law professors on board is the only possible leverage. Problem is, most of these professors have no real incentive to change the system that largely benefits them.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 1:29:46 PM

What would it take, realistically, to change the model? We all complain about it. I agree it's terrible. So how could we collectively change it?

Posted by: angsty | Aug 25, 2018 1:25:10 PM

Exactly, anonauthor. Imagine how many opportunities were lost because of the gap in information between authors and journals, which is now also exacerbated by Scholastica's agency problem. Journals could be seriously considering a piece, but the author would never know because Scholastica only tells you if your piece has been accepted, rejected, or undecided (under review). I think Scholastica could definitely provide a feature that distinguishes between article received - article under (active) review - article under full board review - etc.

I'll be bold an say that there's nothing wrong in letting authors know that their articles have been put on a shortlist. This transparency is technologically feasible, it would be a relief to all of us angst-ers, and it wouldn't harm the interests of the platform/journals. If anything, it would increase trust and decrease arbitrariness.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 1:20:01 PM

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