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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


I submitted to NWU in the middle of their exclusive submission period and haven't heard anything yet.

Posted by: NWULRHopeful | Jul 23, 2019 12:34:02 PM

Has anyone who submitted to Northwestern as part of their exclusive submission window heard back?

Posted by: AnonProf | Jul 23, 2019 10:32:55 AM

Hi! I'm a first-time author, and recent law school alum, submitting to law reviews this fall (though I've published in other fields). Any advice about how to use the cover letter/resume to improve the likelihood that your submission gets reviewed, if you don't hold a teaching position at a law school? Relatedly, what are the upsides/downsides to posting first on SSRN?

Thank you!

Posted by: first-timer | Jul 23, 2019 10:26:04 AM

Got an email blast from Virginia today via SSRN, and two of their professors have upcoming pieces in the Virginia Law Review. Makes you wonder: If the Virginia Law Review wasn't helping out its resident professors, where would these pieces have landed?

Posted by: AnonProf | May 8, 2019 12:25:41 PM


Texas responded to an expedite request on March 26 to let me know they were closed.

Notre Dame mentioned they were done with my article, but not quite done filling their volume, on April 1.

The first time I hear from USC will be the first time I've heard from USC.

Congrats on your offer!

Posted by: Jake Linford | Apr 18, 2019 10:37:26 AM

Lucky Anon:

UCLA is no longer reviewing. Not sure about the others.

Posted by: Committee Member | Apr 16, 2019 11:30:28 PM

have updated my annual reference guide for the top 100 law reviews to include the 2020 USNWR rankings. I realize most of us have wrapped up our cycles, but for those who haven't (or who just want to see what the latest data yields) ... http://ssrn.com/abstract=3026293

Posted by: Brad Areheart | Apr 16, 2019 5:05:34 PM

Lucky enough to get a late offer from a T40 or so journal today (my first and only offer!).

Does anyone know whether Notre Dame, USC, UCLA, or Texas are still reviewing?

Posted by: LuckyAnon | Apr 16, 2019 4:56:33 PM

Each journal has its focus, HLR is no different. Lots of other areas outside those mentioned here that it hasn’t published in a long while. They simply have few slots, about 12 each year.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 11, 2019 10:47:11 AM

All or Nothing: Yes

Posted by: Looking for Guidance | Apr 9, 2019 6:41:22 AM

"HLR has not since 2010 published an article by authors outside the top-15 in...Antitrust, Business, Commercial, Consumer, Contracts, Corporate, Finance, or Law & Economics." Putting aside the fact that these are weird categories (all of these are business law), did you actually go back and look or are you being sarcastic?

Posted by: anon | Apr 8, 2019 12:34:15 PM

Looking For Guidance--are you a tenure track professor?

Posted by: All or Nothing | Apr 7, 2019 8:03:59 PM

Um, I think you buried the lead anon

Posted by: Anonjr | Apr 6, 2019 6:13:06 PM

Too much griping about the Harvard Law Review here. Each of the other top-five journals (Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and Penn) each published a non-elite author (outside the top-15 law schools) in Antitrust, Business, Commercial, Consumer, Contracts, Corporate, Finance, or Law & Economics within the last year. Admittedly, HLR has not since 2010 published an article by authors outside the top-15 in any of these areas. But that is only one of many top journals. Bus profs from all schools have plenty of options.

Posted by: anon | Apr 6, 2019 11:18:42 AM

Last year someone posted that 80% of HLR articles are by authors in the top-15 schools, while only 40% of YLJ articles are. I didn't catch the timeframe, but many commentators concluded HLR was less blind. Fits with the insecurity theory at HLR. Someone should take on these counting exercises for Columbia, etc. And for NYU before and after it moved to blind peer review, I bet there is a difference.

Posted by: anon | Apr 5, 2019 12:06:10 PM

All responses here to the #s about HLS publishing only one outside econ/markets/whatever piece vs. Yale's 17 focused on subject matter. What about the institutional affiliation of authors? There was something last year or two years ago about a heavier HLR bias for authors in the top 14 for private law. That is problematic and related--the one outside author was assumedly in the top 14? And what about other schools mentioned as econ/business friendly?

Posted by: anonanon | Apr 4, 2019 12:48:00 PM

Yes, and it was the University of Chicago Law School that first prominently recognized that Coase was right and not crazy.

Posted by: Anon2anon | Apr 3, 2019 2:32:13 PM

Coase earned a Nobel Prize for work that leading law and economics professors originally dismissed. A story repeated throughout the intellectual history of economics. We can’t blame student editors for not seeing the next Kuhnian paradigm. From peer reviewers’ current worldview as well, paradigm shifting proposals will appear “wrong.” Whether students trust their gut and publish what they see as the most promising (YLJ, Chicago) or avoid econ altogether (HLR) is an editorial choice. We should all celebrate the reality that student editors, who are less entrenched in any theoretical or methodological framework, are more likely than peer reviewers to start the paradigm pendulum swinging.

Posted by: anonanon | Apr 3, 2019 9:02:46 AM

Some final stats for anybody interested in this kind of thing:

Submitted March 1 to 84 journals, almost all flagships, with five speciality journals mixed in.

Two board readings from top 30 but no offer.

Offer with no prior notice from top 75ish flagship about three and half weeks after submission. Week-long expedite produced about a dozen rejections.

Final stats: One acceptance, 40 rejections, 43 no response.

Posted by: Looking for Guidance | Apr 3, 2019 8:22:53 AM

When I was on HLR, they would ask us to serve as experts on subjects to evaluate pieces even with limited background (such as one course in law school). It could be that since HLR has so many more editors voting, there is a higher chance of an “expert” in the room whom others look to, and who uses a relative advantage in econ knowledge (say a major) to synthesize the negative reviews and argue convincingly (to non-experts) why a piece is problematic. For that student “expert” to go against the (almost always) harsh econ peer reviews and support the piece would be to appear not to be an expert—both to oneself and to one’s co-editors. Not sure whether YLJ uses such an “expert” model.

Posted by: Anotheranon | Apr 2, 2019 7:49:10 PM

If HLR editors lack confidence in evaluating heavy quantitative pieces with regression analyses, equations, etc., that would not be surprising, and could be wise. But YLJ publishes all kinds of methodologies in business and commercial that are easier to evaluate while HLR does not. Also, HLR editors must have at least as much confidence as editors at Chicago, Penn, and Columbia, all of which publish econ pieces more regularly.

Posted by: anon | Apr 2, 2019 7:02:09 PM

FYI, based on my experience as an editor, HLR has far more than two people review each article that makes it to that stage. I don't know what accounts for the apparent anti-econ skew, other than perhaps anxiety about not being able to evaluate or edit it properly (not sure why that would be more at HLR than YLJ, though), but it is not due to giving particular weight to HLS faculty reviews.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 2, 2019 3:23:52 PM

Agree with Curious that the Con/Admin presence is a problematic skew, and leaves less space for other areas to rise to the top. But there may be other specialties that are over-represented even with small numbers--e.g., if statutory interpretation articles are 1% of submissions and 5% of publications in HLR. Without knowing the exact denominator, we now at least have the numerator for a category we know has a large denominator and has been the subject of much discussion on these boards. And now we roughly know that it is not as bad as many speculated for econ and business, at least at YLJ.

Posted by: anon | Apr 2, 2019 3:10:15 PM

This is the anon that reported that in the last few years YLJ had 17 "econ" publications by outside authors to 1 by HLR. The other specialty that stood out in absolute #s was crim---each journal published about ten (including Fourth Amendment articles). No other patterns stood out to me, but surely there is more there.

Posted by: anon | Apr 2, 2019 3:04:50 PM

Every year I get more sick of this stupid system, which gets worse all the time. But I'm quite senior now so attempting to contribute to any systemic reform would be very unlikely to produce any significant benefit to me, so I'll do nothing.

Law reviews: Like climate change and the electoral college.

Hey that's a good idea for a law review article!

Posted by: Committee Member | Apr 2, 2019 11:16:48 AM

@Anotha anon: that's why i asked about other specialties. if there are say 14 articles a year (56 spots from 2015 to 2019), and 31 of the 56 hlr articles are con law/admin, that seems like a problematic skew that doesn't leave enough room for any other area to rise to the top. even if we estimate 18 articles a year with the nov. edition of HLR, that is still 31/72 spots.

Posted by: Curious | Apr 2, 2019 10:45:04 AM


Here’s an alternate theory: HLR editors prefer conlaw/asmin law, so that’s what they tend to punlish. This is likely aided by the fact that these subjects are traditionally what HLR publishes. Who wants to rock the boat and advocate for publiahing some unseemly corporate scholarship when we can muse about colonial interpretations of rights?

Posted by: Anotha Anon | Apr 2, 2019 8:59:54 AM

Anon- thanks for the info. But the point may be that HLR always uses one outside and one inside reviewer, and that the inside reviewers they choose are always so harsh that they kill econ pieces. If YLJ does the same (one outside, one inside) but with YLS econ profs who are more open to boundary-pushing econ, that could explain the difference. Each HLR board doesn't know that HLS profs have killed papers over and over again in prior years. (?)

Posted by: anon2 | Apr 2, 2019 7:44:46 AM

At anon: No, HLR does not only use HLS professors for review, in econ or otherwise.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 1, 2019 11:22:11 PM

Wow on the HLR v. YLJ numbers. Any theories about why YLJ would publish drastically more econ type articles than HLR? Econ reviewers are more brutal than others, but presumably for YLJ peer review, too. Unless, does HLR always use HLS prof reviewers who are unusually harsh even for econ?

Posted by: anon | Apr 1, 2019 6:25:21 PM

"Just a data point: Submitted March 1 to 100 journals, got a couple of board reviews at T-30s but no offers, then finally got an offer from a T-80ish a week ago. I negotiated an eight-day expedite period, which expires tomorrow. I expedited to every journal above the offer point, figuring that it was too late in the cycle to be more strategic. After a week I've gotten practically no feedback -- just a couple of dings out of the 50 or so journals where the piece was still technically under consideration.

Small sample of course, but I suppose this suggests that even late March might be a little too late for much in the way of expediting. Looking forward to this being over, probably tomorrow"

- My experience was nearly identical, except I submitted earlier and my expedite deadline has expired. Very little expedite play in the system this year, I think.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 1, 2019 1:48:42 PM

Just a data point: Submitted March 1 to 100 journals, got a couple of board reviews at T-30s but no offers, then finally got an offer from a T-80ish a week ago. I negotiated an eight-day expedite period, which expires tomorrow. I expedited to every journal above the offer point, figuring that it was too late in the cycle to be more strategic. After a week I've gotten practically no feedback -- just a couple of dings out of the 50 or so journals where the piece was still technically under consideration.

Small sample of course, but I suppose this suggests that even late March might be a little too late for much in the way of expediting. Looking forward to this being over, probably tomorrow.

Posted by: Looking for Guidance | Apr 1, 2019 11:48:01 AM

The letter to the editor at JELS is shocking and disheartening. I've reviewed for several peer-reviewed journals (including LHB, LSI, Jurimetrics, etc.) and I would be *livid* if my review had been altered. Editors (obviously) can disagree with a referee's view of a manuscript, but all they need to do is explain their decision in the letter while leaving the reviewer's comments intact.

For what it's worth, journals like LHB (which I consider superior to JELS anyway) have always produced my reviews verbatim to the authors, so I don't think this incident at JELS is indicative of a bigger trend (at least I hope not). In fact, I've reviewed for JELS in the past, and they didn't even bother to include me in the decision letter, where I could see the ultimate determination and the other reviews. (They wouldn't be required to do that, but it's SOP in every other journal for which I've reviewed, and perhaps another instance of JELS being out of the mainstream, if that's still their practice.)

I'm also deeply troubled that the referee apparently reached out to the author. It's supposed to be double-blind review! And it seems unlikely that this was a mere guess on the referee's part, since he or she went to the trouble of emailing the author about the manuscript. Some of this reflects the pre-publication, SSRN publicity tour for manuscripts that I see much more in law compared to other disciplines, but it doesn't excuse the reviewer from recusing himself/herself if he or she was so confident in the identity of the author. (And if the author publicized the manuscript on SSRN or its equivalent, he probably should not have submitted it to a double-blind review process, although it's not obvious that that was an issue here -- it could have been an issue of extensive work-shopping of the piece before submission.)

This incident is really unfortunate (and might be some evidence in favor of the student-review system), but every other peer-reviewed journal I've interacted with doesn't operate this way, so it's worth wondering if this situation is just an anomaly.

Posted by: AnonProf | Apr 1, 2019 10:52:55 AM

WhatTheHeck: Ask someone you know and trust. I would be very surprised if they did not say go with GWU. Nobody I know uses journal rank over school rank and reputation. However, a few journals are exceptions: Cardozo and Fordham are both viewed very highly, and well above their school rankings. This conversation has been rehashed over and over in prior angsting cycles if you go back.

Posted by: jr2prof | Apr 1, 2019 9:46:13 AM

Did people see this? I have had reservations about peer-reviewed law journals for some time now, but this really goes to show -- along with the lack of blind review in some peer-reviewed journals like the Journal of Legal Studies and the Journal of Legal Analysis -- why student-edited law reviews can be a valuable outlet for scholarship that rubs important people the wrong way.


Posted by: Prof X | Apr 1, 2019 9:30:42 AM

Re: GWU vs. William & Mary - I thought W&L rankings mattered too. There, William & Mary is consistently higher:

Combined: W&M (47.3) > GWU (42.6)
Impact: W&M (1.78) >GWU (1.31)
Journal Citations: W&M (2625) > GWU (2298)
Currency: W&M (3.51) > GWU (2.36)
Case Citations: W&M (89) > GWU (50)

Posted by: Hmmm | Apr 1, 2019 7:57:02 AM

Curious-The lone big difference I caught were the 1 article at HLR vs. 17 articles at YLJ in market/econ/business. You can't compare absolute #s of con/admin to family law. Both YLJ and HLR have a couple of family law articles from 2015 to 2019. Those small numbers are what you would expect: each top school has very few profs focused on writing about family law. Each top school has a ton of people writing about markets/econ/business. Among top journals, HLR is abnormally anti-econ.

Posted by: anon | Mar 31, 2019 2:13:10 PM

I'd go with Maryland given its higher peer reputation score with USNEWS.

Posted by: AnonProf | Mar 31, 2019 12:58:37 PM

Which would you choose: Maryland or Utah?

Posted by: AnonEntryLevel | Mar 31, 2019 12:23:55 PM

Between William & Mary and GWU, it is a no-brainer for GWU. Higher in both academic reputation score and overall school rank.

Posted by: anon | Mar 31, 2019 12:13:16 PM

William & Mary or GWU?

Posted by: WhatTheHeck | Mar 31, 2019 11:52:25 AM

Thanks for the numbers, anon. Is this different from other specialties though?

Posted by: Curious | Mar 30, 2019 4:59:54 PM

You asked for numbers. From 2015 to 2019, the following number of articles/essays were published per category:

Harvard Law Review:
--31 Constitutional/Admin (8 of these are from the Supreme Court issue, and 5 are Fourth Amendment so could be viewed as crim)
--4 Corporate/Markets/Econ/Business/Finance/Competition (three of which are antitrust) (3 HLS authored and 1 non-HLS)

Yale Law Journal:
--22 Constitutional/Admin (including 3 Fourth Amendment)
--19 Corporate/Markets/Econ/Business/Finance/Competition (2 YLS authored, 17 non-YLS) (ten of these were from a single antitrust collection of articles).
HLR’s ratio is shocking in light of the high number of scholars producing work in Corporate/Markets/Econ/Business/Finance/Competition

Posted by: anon | Mar 30, 2019 3:39:13 PM

Looking for Guidance, congrats on your offer. This process is random and terrible, but you came out ahead. I’ll also note that it gets easier the more you go through it, at least it has for me.

Posted by: Prof | Mar 30, 2019 1:27:59 AM

Thanks Prof. I'm satisfied with my offer and don't really expect to hear from anybody else off the expedite, especially since a lot of schools seem to be on break this week, and it's apparently late in the cycle anyway. Happy to have it at this point, and it will be a relief when the process is over in a few days.

Posted by: Looking for Guidance | Mar 29, 2019 11:40:01 PM

by "law and econ" I mean business and markets

Posted by: curious | Mar 29, 2019 8:24:33 PM

do the top journals publish law and econ less than other specialities like family law or technology law? curious about numbers on this.

Posted by: curious | Mar 29, 2019 8:21:55 PM

lawecon: It's true as pointed out earlier that the top journals rarely publish markets/econ/business articles, because (a) the students are less interested in markets, (b) peer reviewers are harsh and they or the students themselves give the board the impression there are fatal flaws in a piece even if it is Nobel Prize worthy. BUT HLR publishes its own profs' stuff occasionally. SLR does some businedss innovation and environmental as would be expected in CA. YLJ has over the years been marginally more friendly to market/econ/finance/consumer stuff than SLR/HLR. Penn/Columbia/Chicago are far more broadly interested, and maybe familiar/comfortable with the econ hedging.

Posted by: anon | Mar 29, 2019 7:06:51 PM

Newbie, silence is typical. There is no reason or predictability to any of this, and law journals are managed by thousands of students who turn over every year. They might reply near your deadline; they might reply early; they might reply weeks after your article is withdrawn; they might not reply at all.

Posted by: Prof | Mar 29, 2019 5:27:17 PM

Do journals tend to respond to expedite requests very close to the deadline? I'm a newbie and I sent out an expedite request on Tuesday to about 45 journals, based on an offer that expires this coming Tuesday. I've gotten a couple of dings but otherwise radio silence. Is that pretty typical?

Posted by: Looking for Guidance | Mar 29, 2019 4:05:46 PM

Which law journal regularly publishes articles on markets and economics?

Posted by: lawecon | Mar 29, 2019 3:35:54 PM

Anon (former HLR articles editor) - Thanks for clarifying about no automatic board read for HLS profs. Your thoughts on why HLR so rarely publishes anything with markets and economics unless written by HLS profs?

Posted by: anon | Mar 29, 2019 2:58:27 PM

Re Iowa or UC Irvine--

The conventional wisdom would certainly be Iowa. It really depends on what kind of scholar you are trying to establish a reputation as being: If more traditional then Iowa; if more modern or unconventional or tech-focused then a UC Irvine placement could perhaps better convey that to people.

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2019 10:44:48 PM

What seems odd to me is that even many peer-reviewed law journals -- e.g. the Journal of Legal Studies and Journal of Legal Analysis -- operate single-blind peer review (the author doesn't know who the reviewer is but the reviewer knows who the author is). Why not double-blind?

Posted by: peer | Mar 28, 2019 7:43:59 PM

I have given a peer review for a top 5 journal where the paper was not anonymous.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 28, 2019 6:50:57 PM

Iowa or UC Irvine?

Posted by: Anon | Mar 28, 2019 5:15:30 PM

Thanks for the insight, Al!

Posted by: Curious | Mar 28, 2019 4:26:18 PM

I have been asked several times to review pieces for Yale. They do strip the identity, but bc its my field I already knew who the author was. They give about 2 days turn around time.

Posted by: Al | Mar 28, 2019 3:53:10 PM

Go by USNEWS -- not W & L -- only use W & L for close calls and speciality journals.

Posted by: AnonProf | Mar 28, 2019 3:03:27 PM

Hi - I'm wondering if I can get some insight on which law review to publish in? I currently have three offers, but have received conflicting information about which to accept. Based on the W&L rankings, I have offers from T100, T70, and T50. Normally I would go with the T50, but the T50 school from which I received the offer is ranked the lowest of the three on the U.S. News rankings for law schools. I would appreciate any insights!

Posted by: New Poster Anon | Mar 28, 2019 2:48:37 PM

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