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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


Not only that, but it would take a student editor two seconds to click "considering" or "board review." Allow the scholarship to place on its merits - not on your willingness to take a risk and forego an offer.

Posted by: anonauthor | Aug 25, 2018 1:11:53 PM

It's funny how this thread provides all the information that law reviews and Scholastica need, while we get nothing in return. If anything, they shut down whatever avenues of transparency we discover (like the refresh glitch). This asymmetry is just staggering. What's the harm in us knowing that journals are active in reviewing our work? Maybe Scholastica knows that many journals have zero activity on most submissions.

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 25, 2018 1:04:03 PM

Pretty ridiculous that Scholastica got rid of the refresh order. It should be a completely transparent process (we shouldn't even have to take a screen grab - that should just be the screen - and quite honestly, they should give more information). Really bad job on Scholastica's part.

Posted by: anonauthor | Aug 25, 2018 1:03:52 PM

Furball, I feel your question is much more of a statement. Nevertheless, I agree. If you only submit to journals with which you’d publish, this’ll never be a problem. But yeah, if you get an offer from a journa you end up rejecting, and receive no offers from the expedite, you might hurt yourself. And count me in the group that thinks you should only submit to journals that you’d publish with.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 25, 2018 10:15:56 AM

not a non: as I understand your question, you submitted to a lower ranked journal you have/had no intent of publishing with (hence the possibility the offer could expire)? Did you submit to this lower ranked journal just to use the offer for an expedite? Just trying to understand your question.

Posted by: Furball | Aug 25, 2018 10:03:55 AM

Is it me, or has Scholastica also nixed the phenomenon of the 8:00 a.m. - 8:08 a.m. morning dings? I used to get some measure of comfort once that hour had passed -- one more day afloat. Now that we've had a couple of days of no morning spreadsheet updates, during a period when rejections are certainly coming in, it seems that relief is unfounded.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 25, 2018 8:21:57 AM

What is the impact of an expired expedite on later offers? If you decide to decline an offer, do other journals assume that your piece is no longer available and not bother reviewing? Or do they still review the piece as usual, and then (if interested) ask if it's available?

Would be curious to hear experiences, knowing that it may vary by journal and author. Common advice is "Expedite!" but I don't see much discussion of the potential consequences of doing so.

Posted by: not a non | Aug 25, 2018 7:11:27 AM

Guys, I'm really sad that I can't obsessively refresh scholastica anymore. I know it wasn't healthy, but why did they take it away from us!?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 25, 2018 12:10:36 AM

any intel on which journals are really done especially among the top schools? I know alot of people sometimes submit later in the process just to see if they get a hit before going on spring market so if there are any journals known anecdotally to be almost done (someone above mentioned CAL) it would be nice to crowd source that since it's annoying paying $6.50 a submission when they don't even review it.

Posted by: anon | Aug 24, 2018 11:34:13 PM

1. Scholastica offers a max 20 fee waivers per season, irrespective of need. This is obviously insufficient and, I am confident, creates a small but serious access issue in legal academia. I'd love to see folks raise more of a fuss about this, although I appreciate that it's difficult given Scholastica's muddy policy on fee waivers.

2. I was a reader for two different journals at my HYSCCN school (the flagship journal + a well-regarded secondary). One of these journals was in the process of transitioning to Scholastica while I was there. I believe the service provides some value for law review editors (which is why it's really taken over), but I don't think it provides much value for authors -- the impact of our switch on the likelihood that any particular article would be read (or read carefully) was marginal-to-none. That doesn't mean that spending money on Scholastica now that most journals have made the transition is a waste: I don't think there's much of a choice at this point for anyone looking to publish in the T50. But based on my first-hand experience with these platforms, I highly doubt that the mass-transition of journals to Scholastica has had a serious impact on the amount of attention given to each individual submission.

3. I submitted about a week ago and, other than a Wake Forest rejection, have heard nothing.

Posted by: anon1 | Aug 24, 2018 11:33:31 PM

anxiety, just to be clear, I was paying out of pocket too. Since I knew publishing was so important to my career, I was willing to pay more out of pocket to purchase the privilege of having my article read, I guess. I never spent a grand though, or close to that. And I get all of your points, just throwing a different perspective out there.

Also, in complete agreement, about releasing offers. I had a colleague who'd horde offers. I think she had anxiety that her preferred journal would pull her offer out of the blue. So she liked the safety blanket of having another offer in the wings. I'm a big believe that if you get a hit at like #42, you should withdraw from all journals ranked below that (or any other journal you wouldn't select over the offer) and release all offers.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 24, 2018 10:59:05 PM

Well, no more re-ordering thingy on scholastica. Maybe that's for the better.

Posted by: anon | Aug 24, 2018 10:58:36 PM

AnonProf, I do get that (kind of like the incentives that drive civil litigation outcomes--you spend what you think your case is worth). But I also just spent a number of years on the faculty of a non-U.S. law school that didn't pay for submissions. I made a low academic salary (relative to what U.S. profs make), not a practitioner's salary, and had to pay for the whole shebang out of my own personal income. Which is to say I charged it, as submitting to 150 journals on mostly scholastica comes close to $1000. While my current concerns, sitting pretty at an institution that pays for this, relate to wasted costs that get passed on to students, my fairly recent concerns related to the total barrier to entry Scholastica poses to scholars (international, non-profit affiliated, etc.) who lack either institutional sponsor or adequate personal income to absorb the blow of a submission. It's bad enough that the other disciplines (and the legal academy of pretty much every other country) is horrified that students edit our journals. That's it's own conversation. But the fact that someone who wants to submit to a U.S. law review who is not currently affiliated with an institution essentially has to lay out $1000 to even be considered is pretty counter to all of the values of academia as they are understood anywhere else. Because I hate when people make this angsting thread about unrelated topics I will throw in my own data: submitted two weeks ago, have a couple of offers between T50 and T80, and radio silence for the last three days. I also know of two people who have gotten T20ish offers over the past 24 hours. Hopefully also on the subject of angsting: I do wish people would release offers they're certain they're not going to use. I realize there are certain situations where holding two is helpful, but I'm learning that people I know don't withdraw from anywhere after better offers, whereas I pretty much immediately withdraw from all journals below whatever I'm holding. It doesn't take that long and it's a service to the community.

Posted by: anxiety | Aug 24, 2018 10:49:58 PM

I actually really appreciate Scholastica... I was in a small camp that benefitted from it. Before my current appointment, I was at a lesser regarded business school, and prior to that, in practice. When expresso was the primary vehicle, I felt like professors could submit so many articles at once--especially due to the cheap price--that it overwhelmed the law reviews. I mean, there was very little preventing law profs from blanketing even the lowliest of journals. It made it particularly hard for one who has neither a publishing history nor letter head to get reviewed by law journals. With Scholastica, however, I felt like I was actually getting reviewed (and dinged, but reviewed nonetheless). Even though I was paying out of pocket, I felt like I at least had a chance.

So while I agree with the general feeling that the high prices are hurting students and solo practitioners, I found a benefit.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 24, 2018 10:35:34 PM

I will never understand why the move to Scholastica has been so widely accepted. I am given to understand that Scholastica is in some way "easier" for the journals. But the "journals" are made up of students whose tuition is affected by absurd wastes of money like paying $6.50 per journal for submissions. This whole process in nonsense on stilts.

Posted by: anxiety | Aug 24, 2018 10:29:00 PM


Yes, that’s quite right. I am sure the exorbitant cost excludes less-subsidized and less-affluent voices. And I am not at all convinced that fee waivers for persons living below the poverty lime help the situation much, if at all.

Posted by: CYNIC | Aug 24, 2018 10:17:58 PM

^ Gouges the students, you mean. They're the ones ultimately paying for law schools to subsidize profs submitting to scholastica.

And the independent research/practicing community.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 24, 2018 9:25:22 PM

You would think that for $6.50 per submission Scholastica would let us have our refresh fun. Maybe when Scholstica gouges the academic community yet again—perhaps to $10 per manuscript? $12?—they’ll put the refresh “problem” back.

Posted by: CYNIC | Aug 24, 2018 8:23:20 PM

Well, I guess it wasn't really doing much for us anyway to get that intel. Sigh. Wish there were a way to create transparency in this process. Am I better off for knowing that a couple of schools had activities a couple of times and still haven't rejected me? Or would I be happier if they were just in the big pile of schools that have not rejected me (and have rejected others) and have done nothing favorable? I was a little bit buffeted by the momentary hope, but it has (as yet) not given rise to anything positive.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 24, 2018 7:54:07 PM

Big Law Review is always watching.

Posted by: Mr. Eugenides | Aug 24, 2018 7:52:58 PM

The jig is up...from the source code:

"The order matches the default client order Added to prevent a problem where users could see which journals acted on their manuscript -->"

Posted by: a non | Aug 24, 2018 7:48:21 PM

FWIW, using the combined score index, Dartmouth LJ comes in at 873 on the W & L list.

Posted by: anonanon | Aug 24, 2018 4:30:09 PM

Dartmouth is the beautiful unicorn of law journals; definitely accept on the spot.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 24, 2018 2:58:57 PM

Where would folks rank the Dartmouth Law Journal?

Posted by: AnonP | Aug 24, 2018 2:20:30 PM

FYI Virginia closed on Scholastica.

Posted by: Waboo | Aug 24, 2018 1:55:46 PM

Speciality journals often work late. I once submitted to a speciality Sept. 19 at a T14 and got an offer.

Posted by: anon | Aug 24, 2018 11:46:44 AM

EarlySubmit, I agree, I like to give an edge to the journal that initially offered. There are some people, and I guess to each their own, who accept the "equal" offer because it buys them more time. In other words, the lateral move might give you an extra week to tempt a higher ranked journal. I see the logic, but it feels kinda sociopathic--to me, at least.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 24, 2018 11:31:18 AM

Anon at 7:08, really helpful! Thanks!

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 24, 2018 11:29:18 AM

Many thanks Earlysubmit and AnonProf, that's very helpful guidance.

Posted by: Wondering | Aug 24, 2018 11:22:58 AM

I'm just finishing up a draft that I'd like to submit to international law journals. Any sense on when I'd need to abandon all hope of the fall and wait until spring? Not sure if I've waited too long to submit for the fall...

Posted by: non-academic | Aug 24, 2018 11:19:47 AM

Wondering, I would consider the two about the same, maybe Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. slightly better depending on which T30 review it is. I am in a similar position and did not expedite, since I think it's generally classy to give the offering journal some edge for offering. (So I generally would only expedite to those that are significantly better like the T15 or so.) But that's totally a personal judgment call.

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Aug 24, 2018 10:59:33 AM

AnonProf, oh wow, that's a while. I believe Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. operates by consensus, so that makes sense.

But if I understand correctly, you would consider Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. a better placement? If so, sounds like there's a case for expediting, if only for the sake of completeness.

Posted by: Wondering | Aug 24, 2018 10:51:36 AM

I'd probably take T30 over Harvard CRCL -- I see the latter as the equivalent of a mid-20s flagship, but their review process takes a long time. I seriously doubt they could meet your deadline (when I expedited to them, they said they'd need to mid-Sept.)

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 24, 2018 10:44:39 AM

I have a thoroughly civil rights paper. With a T30 offer, is there any case for expediting Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev.?

Posted by: Wondering | Aug 24, 2018 10:18:43 AM

Refreshing - that's great. Wish you luck!

Posted by: Anon | Aug 24, 2018 10:18:11 AM

@Anon at 9:52, out of the blue, not pending expedite.

Posted by: Refreshing | Aug 24, 2018 10:16:03 AM

@Refreshing -- did the notice come out of the blue, or was it related to a pending expedite?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 24, 2018 9:52:56 AM

Thanks people for the responses to my earlier query. I’m glad to hear so many people have a less angsty relationship to this thread than I do!

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Aug 24, 2018 7:47:03 AM

So I asked my former teaching assistant, who just finished up a stint as executive articles editor at our T50 flagship, how Scholastica works from the editor's perspective. She said that upon receiving a submission, she would open a piece and either reject right away or refer it to an editor on her committee. Either one of these would probably be an activity reflected on the refresh. If she did the latter, the editor's notes back to her would probably represent another activity on the list. Based on this, I surmise that seeing a couple rounds of activity from a particular school without a rejection means survival past two stages -- initial thumbs-up/down and second pair of eyes. Obviously, different journals handle their internal division of labor differently. But her narrative seems consistent with what several people have described. Not seeing this movement implies nothing, as Refreshing can attest. But seeing it may provide some insight into the process.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 24, 2018 7:08:38 AM

Any recent movement from Texas, Vandy, NYU, Cal, or Penn?

Posted by: anon | Aug 24, 2018 1:54:07 AM

Received a board review notice from a law review that hasn't moved and remains very low on my refresh list.

Posted by: Refreshing | Aug 24, 2018 1:27:50 AM

I think this weekend would be an excellent time for a cascade to start.

Posted by: Mr. Eugenides | Aug 24, 2018 12:49:49 AM

AnonE - some top law reviews pledged to give at minimum a seven-day window to accept. Here's their joint letter -

Some journals only give 24 hours to accept. Others will call you and demand an immediate decision (I believe I've heard this happening with Cal. L. Rev.)

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 24, 2018 12:25:13 AM

Anybody know how long the acceptance windows tend to be for T-10/T-20 schools? Last year, I got a T20 pickup and a 24-hour window, but I don't know if that is typical. (It was my first placement) Just trying to spitball when that cascade is going to start.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 23, 2018 10:14:59 PM

So the spreadsheet, to me, is the most helpful, but I enjoy the community. It's weird, when I have an article on the market, I'm not checking posts in here too much because it'll drive me a bit crazy. Once I have a decent acceptance and the pressure is off, then I starting reading and posting much more.

I'm actually about to submit a second article. I feel like I'm wayyyyy too late in this cycle, but I can just pull it if I don't get an good offer.

Posted by: AnonProf---- | Aug 23, 2018 9:42:40 PM

I find this thread and the accompanying spreadsheet to be incredibly helpful in a number of ways. I wouldn't dream of submitting without checking it regularly.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 23, 2018 8:50:27 PM

If anything, this angst thread is a natural reaction to how turbulent, absurd, and opaque our publication process is... And will be until we all unite and refuse to play this game this way (which will probably never happen).

Posted by: Anon | Aug 23, 2018 8:49:26 PM

it's the calm before the storm

Posted by: NewProf | Aug 23, 2018 8:19:43 PM

Very few spreadsheet entries today.

Posted by: Quiet | Aug 23, 2018 8:10:22 PM

I follow the angsting thread every season, even if I don’t have a submission. The game is the game, and I like the game. Even though it’s a crazy, broken, inefficient game.

Posted by: lawz | Aug 23, 2018 7:44:09 PM

I agree as well. I'm in only my second submission cycle, and I glean a lot from others who are far more experienced about how this whole game works. But more than anything, I think it's a little bit fun to scour people's posts and the Scholastica hack, often obsessively, for tea leaves. I just wish this process weren't so difficult for the impatient!

Posted by: Anon | Aug 23, 2018 7:33:07 PM

Concur, except for the part about the 25th or 30th submission.

Posted by: Mr. Eugenides | Aug 23, 2018 7:24:50 PM

As to the question of why we are all here (on this post), there are lots of different reasons. As for me, yes, I get a little information here or there. Occasionally, it induces stress for no good reason. Occasionally, I intuit something about a journal that is helpful (although doesn't reduce stress) and can share it with others.

But for the most part, I come because I find it it cathartic and simply reading others' experiences and knowing we are all in it together makes me feel better. If there was no thread here, my anxiety would probably just go even higher. The clearest sign of this is that it troubles me when there are no comments, like the fallow period for most of this morning. I was very glad to just see a slew of comments now.

This is probably about my 25th or 30th submission. And I keep coming back for more.

Posted by: experienced anon | Aug 23, 2018 7:17:41 PM

Well done, lawz.

Posted by: Mr. Eugenides | Aug 23, 2018 7:15:39 PM

I am a clinical prof and I’m done. Accepted top 75 flagship. Good luck to everyone still in the game.

Posted by: lawz | Aug 23, 2018 7:14:50 PM

Wait, is the purpose of this thread to alleviate, or at least productively channel, angst? I always assumed we're here to revel in it!

Posted by: Angsty | Aug 23, 2018 5:49:48 PM

Genuine question: does anyone else share my view that close to 100% of the journal specific information this list produces is just a pathway to more angst? (I'm not here talking about advice exchanged on submissions or acceptances, but instead general info about dings, offers, the Scholastica hack, etc.) Having been through this process several times now, it doesn't, at least in my case, seem to mean anything about the likelihood of acceptance -- or at least, so little as to be impossible to interpret. I often have articles that linger with journals that have rejected lots of others -- in my recollection that has never led to an acceptance. The scholastica thing seems just as, if not more impossible to interpret. For me it just feeds the fodder of my angsting. Obviously, I'm here, so I can't resist seeking out the info, even though I don't actually believe it means anything. But I think I'd probably be better off without it. Others?

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Aug 23, 2018 5:41:06 PM

I think you can draw some positive conclusions based on how long they linger over your article without rejecting it. Particularly if they are rejecting bunches of others. However, I do agree that sometimes a journal categorically doesn't want what you wrote about -- perhaps because they have already published something similar -- and when that happens, they could just see your topic and toss it irrespective of its merit.

Posted by: AnonE | Aug 23, 2018 5:06:53 PM

I'm poised to submit an article early next week (say, Monday 8/27). I've navigated the fall cycle in the past and been happy with my results, but I've never submitted anything this late. Do the standard submission strategies apply in late August, or is there something I should do differently to maximize my chances of a good placement? If I don't get an offer this cycle, will the fact that I'm resubmitting worsen my chances at the same journals in the spring?

In case it matters, the article is on tech and IP and is most likely to get picked up by a specialty journal.


Posted by: Latecomer | Aug 23, 2018 5:06:45 PM


Posted by: Mr. Eugenides | Aug 23, 2018 5:00:03 PM

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