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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Submission Angsting Spring 2019

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.)

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 and Levit's extremely helpful guide to submitting to law reviews is available here (this is the January 2019 version). The article now also includes hyperlinks to law review websites.

Comments now appear from newest to oldest.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on February 5, 2019 at 09:00 AM | Permalink


What are people's thoughts on light edit v. normal edit journals? In a hypothetical world where you had offers from two similarly ranked journals with different editing styles, which is preferable?

Posted by: Edit | Feb 15, 2019 8:06:20 PM

I am a faculty adviser. We increasingly do informal peer review. We have institutionalized (as part of training) a norm of ignoring unsolicited faculty input on particular articles, and not passing any praise received on to other editors. It almost never happens anyways. And if it makes folks feel any better, some of our students in the past have held it against the piece for reasons discussed on this thread already (contempt for the old boys network, suspicion of the merits of any article needing a PR campaign, the higher risk of getting an entitled author with ties to one of your professors making you walk on eggshells, etc.). When you have so many to choose from, no need to take the risk.

Posted by: advising | Feb 15, 2019 3:13:08 PM

Hi Another Anon,

Your results (no offers from top 50 in the first week after submission) are not unusual for me. With one exception, I have never received a top 50 offer in less than a week, or even notice of a board read.


Posted by: Jake Linford | Feb 15, 2019 2:46:56 PM

This is my first time submitting an article, so still learning about the process. I submitted to the top 50 or so mainline journals a week ago, and aside from three dings it's been total silence. Is this typical? Do I need to start going lower than these to get the ball rolling? (I'm assuming that not being rejected by journals that are actively rejecting is a sign that I'm not wildly overestimating the marketability of my article--but no real bites either, so perhaps I'm wrong?)
I'm writing in a field that has more general interest than, say, tax, but also a lot less general interest than, say, criminal law. The specialties are well regarded and well read within the field, but I'll be on the market this fall and not sure what I need on the CV from a hiring perspective. Any advice is much appreciated!

Posted by: another anon | Feb 15, 2019 1:23:45 PM

@anotherjunior: I did get a ding from Columbia.

Posted by: OR | Feb 15, 2019 12:58:57 PM

Anon @12:45, Congrats on the offer! I agree with others that I wouldn't submit to specialty journals first, but rather the reverse in the future. I would wait further in the week to see if you have a reason to get an extension -- e.g., another journal asking for more time. In my experience, journals are more receptive if you have a reason you need the extension. Even if you do, it's not that uncommon (at least in my experience) to refuse to extend.

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Feb 15, 2019 12:58:16 PM

Also just got a stealth ding from Cornell. But at least they are recording those decisions. Most of the top journals are doing a good job of that. Who are the non-responders? Georgetown, Columbia, NYU...those may just be taking a while, though, since they're usually pretty good. California is so far this year not listed.

Posted by: Anotherjunior | Feb 15, 2019 12:31:35 PM

I have had two terrible experiences with specialty journals. Never again. Lack of professionalism and poor editing. Better to just go with a lower-ranked mainline.

Posted by: anon | Feb 15, 2019 12:14:59 PM

I would never start with speciality journals. They'll just give you a short deadline in hopes of getting a piece they typically would have no shot at. And I would really encourage people not to publish in speciality journals (short of the top, top, top ones) unless you just can't get a good general law placement. Even then, if you can, I'd pull the piece and try to rework it (unless you're going on the market in the fall and just have to place it somewhere).

Posted by: AnonProf | Feb 15, 2019 11:40:39 AM

Me too, OR. I'd actually been skeptical of the existence of stealth dings (because so many of my notifications get stuck in spam/clutter), but this definitely qualifies.

Posted by: boring anon | Feb 15, 2019 10:52:47 AM

Stealth ding from Cornell

Posted by: OR | Feb 15, 2019 10:20:37 AM

Received an offer within 24 hours of submission, with a one-week decision window, from a reputed specialty journal.
1. When should I ask for an extension of the one-week decision window? toward the end of the one-week?
2. How much extension time is typical to ask for, or granted?
3. I just started my submissions -- started with the specialties, yet to start with the general law reviews. Should the order be reversed next time?

Thank you for your prompt input!

Posted by: anon | Feb 15, 2019 12:45:47 AM

YesterdayIKilledAMammoth, I do have experience with U. Penn. J. Con'l L. They are not so much serial non-responders as I think they tend to start later than now. I looked back to 2006 when I last did a constitutional law piece and my offer from them was dated the last day of February. I think if you are expediting with them now it is a bit early in their cycle.

Posted by: Anonymouse | Feb 15, 2019 12:17:34 AM

Does anybody have any experience with Penn. J. Const. L.? Are they serial non-responders?

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Feb 14, 2019 4:25:33 PM

@anonymouse That's helpful, thank you!

Posted by: anon | Feb 14, 2019 2:57:06 PM

has anyone had problems lately pulling up law reviews on the Scholastica website? I submitted recently and wanted to see if any new ones had opened up but I had a terrific time (and was ultimately unable) finding the law reviews to submit to? Is this a common problem I wonder?

Posted by: anon prof 3214 | Feb 14, 2019 2:56:36 PM

anon,if I have a 2 week deadline I usually expedite with an artificial deadline of 1 week to avoid getting buried. Then if a journal asks for an extension I can quickly say yes. If I get no new offer I re-expedite with the longer deadline.

Posted by: Anonymouse | Feb 14, 2019 2:15:12 PM

Does an expedite request from a much-lower ranked journal hurt you more than help you? Within a few days of submitting I got three offers, but the highest one is ranked in T150. I expedited up to T75, thinking I would get something in there I could use to expedite higher, and so on. But the offers stalled out. If I ask journals in the T50 to expedite review based on a T150 offer, does that hurt me? Or are none of the T50 even looking at anything that isn't coming with an expedite (i.e. some indication that somebody already looked at it and concluded it was worth publishing)?

Posted by: Anon | Feb 14, 2019 1:58:03 PM

I submitted an essay this cycle, too. I have had a fairly high response rate (26 rejections, 2 acceptances since 2/3). I did T100 flagships, no online or specialty journals. Still a week and half left to hear back.

Posted by: jrprof | Feb 14, 2019 1:14:56 PM

any idea if there are advantages to having a shorter versus a longer expedite period? I assume the more time you give a journal the better, but I also fear that sending a journal an expedite request with a two-week deadline might mean your paper just gets buried in the shuffle

Posted by: anon | Feb 14, 2019 12:42:53 PM

Thanks, that's helpful, experienced anon. Come to think of it, the last time I submitted in February, the first offer I got was from Florida.

Posted by: boring anon | Feb 14, 2019 10:00:12 AM

I should also note that I now see Florida has sent out some rejections. It is my experience that Florida is often at the leading force of getting the ball rolling in the 20 to 30 range of journals. As a journal that aggressively seeks great scholarship but one that is typical at the bottom rung of US News top 50, Florida can kick everyone else into gear. I think they know that too. As a result, sometimes they start in January and try to nab some articles before other journals start working. This year, they may have delayed their start. Either way, once Florida makes a few offers it will put pressure on a number of schools to be decisive and then a chain reaction will follow.

Posted by: experienced anon | Feb 14, 2019 8:02:50 AM

boringanon, it is way way way too early for you to draw negative inferences. I think your past experience of offers in just a couple of days is probably an exception to the rule. I rarely get them that quickly but always get something in the range that you normally publish in. Also, it is my sense that the top 25 or so journals have been active, but the 25 to 50 are the opposite. That will change any day now and then offers will really start flying around for everyone.

Posted by: experienced anon | Feb 14, 2019 7:56:39 AM

Question: I'm a mid-career professor who has normally (though not always) been able to place in the top 35 or so. However, lately I've been writing mostly short/symposium pieces (and submitting in the fall when I do a full-length article), so I'm not totally clear on what to expect from the spring cycle. I submitted pretty widely on 2/8 and have gotten zero offers, 5 rejections. From past experiences, not getting an acceptance in the first 3-4 days tends to be a sign of problems placing the article. I'm considering withdrawing in order to have a better chance to place a reworked version in the fall, but just wanted to get a sense of whether I'm reading the cycle correctly.

Posted by: boring anon | Feb 14, 2019 2:27:24 AM

Essays vs. articles. I submitted an essay and an article in the 2018 spring cycle. For the essay, around February 1, I selected every T50-ish online supplement or essay book- and then the mainlines and big specialties. In a weird twist, the online part of a T40 journal snapped it up-- and nobody else seemed interested. But I was very satisfied with the way it worked out.

Posted by: Uncle Freddy | Feb 13, 2019 9:48:43 PM

Any sense whether there's a different process or strategy for submitting essays rather than articles?

Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2019 9:29:32 PM

anona: My guess is that answers to your expedite request will float in slowly over your six days, and that you will only hear from about half of the journals. But 6 days should be plenty of time for most journals--or if it's not, journals that are interested may ask you to ask for more time. Good luck!

Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2019 8:13:47 PM

How long does it normally take to get a response on expedites? I have an offer in the #60 range with a very short window (6 days). I expedited immediately, but is it hopeless to think I will get a read? Offer was quite firm about the short window, and I haven't even gotten a reply to an (unrelated) question that I asked promptly, so I doubt there will be much flexibility.

Posted by: anona | Feb 13, 2019 6:28:35 PM

I am not part of the old boy's network either. Far from it. I think of it as signal boosting, though, and I will take it where I can get it. And I try to assume that people are acting with good intentions.

Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2019 6:24:09 PM

I'm also wondering which journals have been telling authors about board reads this year?

Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2019 1:56:06 PM

@anon at Feb 13, 2019 9:26:55 AM - kind of clever, but...ultimately I can't get behind any advocacy of the old boy's network. Probably I'm a just a hater though because I'm not part of the old boy's network. My mentors and colleagues in my field aren't the type to swing this sort of thing for me. I think networking to land high placements is most of the culture of the fields that are already favored by students and T20 hiring committees(basically, con law and con-law adjacent work). I guess because it's more likely to work for them because students like that stuff in the first place. Positive feedback, natch.

Posted by: jrprof | Feb 13, 2019 12:51:27 PM

Check you spam folder. My Scholastica notifications reach the spam folder this year and I can't seem to whitelist them.

Posted by: OR | Feb 13, 2019 10:49:04 AM

Thanks. My submission shows up, but I didn't get an email. Should I be all good?

Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2019 10:38:45 AM

Anon 10:09:33 - I emailed Scholastica after my submission didn't show up (and I didn't get an email) after 24 hours. They got it fixed a few hours after that.

Posted by: Early this year | Feb 13, 2019 10:32:40 AM

Has anyone heard from Stanford or Chicago not off an expedite in the last few days?

Posted by: Anon | Feb 13, 2019 10:15:35 AM

Are people receiving confirmations from Scholastica when they submit? I haven't, after submitting yesterday, but on Scholastica it appears to have been submitted...

Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2019 10:09:33 AM

Wake Forest Law Review is not done reviewing! Their board turned over on Friday, and their new editors sent out a few notification errors, which they subsequently corrected. They are actively reviewing and are excruciatingly aware of the importance of notifying all authors of the decisions they've made. (Note: I'm not their faculty advisor, but I saw the post on the site and, since I'm a faculty member there, contacted them.) Good luck to everyone!

Posted by: Marie-Amelie George | Feb 13, 2019 9:45:08 AM

And I'll take a swing at JR3's plea that law reviews disregard faculty recommendations. Yes, there is an old boy's network, but at this point it is cooked into the process -- where promising faculty land, for instance. If you start with the assumption that top 10 schools hire top 10 graduates and publish top 10 faculty, then it's easy to see that faculty recommendations can be an important way for marginalized writers to get a fair shake. I'd like to believe the best of people, and if someone at a top 10 realizes that a writer at a tier 2 school is doing incredible work, and wants to ensure that his/her articles actually get read (despite letterhead disadvantage), I'd argue you PERPETUATE the baked-in old boys network if you insist the law reviews ignore that recommendation.

Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2019 9:26:55 AM

Regarding whether UCLA and others are asking everyone for extensions on expedites. I think UCLA sent an initial email to all expediters on Sunday or Monday. I am not sure that one meant much. It was more an open signal to everyone that they were just getting started. I think more individualized responses have gone out since then to those who had new expedite requests or whose expedite deadlines presented a problem.

Regarding the fact that 10 or so top-40 journals show up as closed on Scholastica, these journals are not done for the season. They have just yet to open. And based on past experience, these are journals that always start a little later than others.

Regarding personalized cover letters, I think it is high cost and low benefit, but maybe still worth it in some cases. I am told that a good number of journal editors never read them. I myself stopped doing a cover letter a few years ago, mostly due to laziness. On the other hand, some do read them. The question then is whether it makes a difference for those readers. Again, I am guessing it depends. If all your cover letter does is present some alternative version of your abstract or is more than a paragraph or so long, I think it is a waste of time. And given that I think it is reasonable to assume that a lot of cover letters do just that, you can see why editors might stop reading them all together at some point.

Now, this is just reasoned judgment coupled with a lot of anecdotal experience, but I "think" a cover letter can make a marginal difference when a) it makes an important point regarding timeliness, novelty, relevance, or reputation that you would not otherwise make in your abstract or paper or b) it explains why this article might actually be important for this particular journal and that point is not obvious from the Title or abstract (such as legal issues bearing on water, which could be important for Arizona L. Rev. or land rights that effect oil, which would be important for Texas and Oklahoma, or coastal law for Florida, UCLA, Washington, etc).

I am quite confident in the effect of (b) and less so about (a). And if I am right about b, that means you don't need a personalized cover letter for most journals for most of your articles, but there are certain articles where it is probably worth your time to write a personalized letter and it actually needs to be personalized (but still very short). Everyone likes to feel special or less-anonymous in this process and that includes editors. I think (b) does this.

Posted by: experienced anon | Feb 13, 2019 8:58:08 AM

Stealth ding from Iowa

Posted by: stealth dings are lame | Feb 13, 2019 8:36:32 AM

Stealth ding from Iowa

Posted by: stealth dings are lame | Feb 13, 2019 8:36:30 AM

Thanks! I was surprised to find almost 10 of the top 40ish journals are closed on Scholastica. Are they full or haven't started yet??

Posted by: AboutToSubmit | Feb 13, 2019 12:37:30 AM

I just submit one generic cover letter, which you have to do if you want to make it one submission on scholastica and be able to expedite in bulk... I’m guessing journals are not offended bc the system is set up for only one letter.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 12, 2019 9:40:16 PM

Jr3 these pleas seem odd. The whole process is built around using proxies and expedites are just one proxy among others. Complaining about using them is just like complaining about non-anonymous submissions, or requesting a CV. The whole system is broken. Don’t expect to right the ship on a comment thread

Posted by: Anon | Feb 12, 2019 9:37:09 PM

Do you all take the time to make customized cover letters and submit to journals individually? Does anyone think this matters?

Posted by: AboutToSubmit | Feb 12, 2019 8:57:00 PM

Wake Forest and BYU are already full?!

Posted by: anon | Feb 12, 2019 7:56:08 PM

Another plea to journal advisers or editors: Editors should not just look at the expedited articles. Some authors submit widely solely to expedite up, some submit widely because they are flexible, and others submit narrowly (like the top 30) only where they would accept. The fact that one article has an expedite and another does not means almost nothing about the quality of the article. The ones sitting there for a while may be duds, or they may be gems written by principled authors.

Posted by: jr3 | Feb 12, 2019 5:48:53 PM

Are Irvine, UCLA, and Illinois asking everyone for expedite extensions

Posted by: anon | Feb 12, 2019 5:31:07 PM

Anyone know which journals are notifying authors of full/final board reads this cycle?

Posted by: anon | Feb 12, 2019 4:38:44 PM

Earlysubmit: On the one hand, I hear you. On the other, isn't that the fun of angsting and following this thread? Let's allow ourselves a little hope!

Posted by: anon | Feb 12, 2019 2:06:03 PM

I got a stealth ding from Yale -- You may want to log into your account to check if you haven't heard. In general, I would caution into reading too much into some journals rejecting many others but not you. I've had lots of submission cycles where that was true for me and it wound up being meaningless.

Posted by: Earlysubmit | Feb 12, 2019 11:40:03 AM

Strangely, I also did a Stanford peer review last week - I think they said they were meeting last Friday? I submitted 2/8, have gotten nothing but the requisite swift Virginia rejection.

Posted by: boring anon | Feb 12, 2019 11:01:10 AM

jr3--I know a few people who submitted last week, including myself, and we've all heard from Yale. I'm guessing your paper is progressing with them! But of course, just a guess.

Posted by: anon | Feb 12, 2019 11:00:22 AM

Stanford is doing board reads--I did a peer review for them last week.

Are people seeing much activity yet? I submitted 2/9 and it's been radio silence on my end.

Posted by: stalkingscholastica | Feb 12, 2019 10:36:53 AM

Are a lot of people who submitted early (2/1 to 2/3) still waiting to hear back from Yale Law Journal and Chicago Law Review? I thought they and others go through in order, meaning that they are moving on to later submissions.

Posted by: jr3 | Feb 12, 2019 10:31:32 AM

Where does The Green Bag fit in with law journals? I have a shorter piece that I'm considering submitting. Do they make decisions on the same timeframe at student-run journals or is it longer like a peer-reviewed journal?

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Feb 12, 2019 8:32:37 AM

I use this https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/03/2016-meta-ranking-of-flagship-us-law-reviews.html.

Posted by: Prof X | Feb 12, 2019 8:08:20 AM

How would you rank Villanova Law Review vs. Catholic University Law Review? Villanova is #65 in USN this year, while Catholic is 110, BUT their average USN rank over the past 10 years is essentially the same AND CULR has higher metrics in WLU... any suggestions?

Posted by: anon212 | Feb 12, 2019 7:55:28 AM

Is it just me, or is Expresso not working? I am trying to find journals on the interface, and it appears that none are listed!

Posted by: anon | Feb 12, 2019 6:45:51 AM

I have one submission this season, as well. But, I haven’t received any details about the date, and time. If anyone knows about it, kindly let me know before the time is gone. And, I have a small suggestion for others, out there, waiting for submission. I have used IBM Watson for analysing my paper, why don’t you guys give it a try!

Posted by: Peter Jacob | Feb 12, 2019 5:39:42 AM

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