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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Submission Angsting Fall 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.

For those wondering "when should I start submitting?", Scholastica has information through 2016. Here is a graph of submission dates as reported to PrawfsBlawg over three recent fall submission cycles. Remember that this information is drawn only from people who participate in PrawfsBlawg, who are not a random sample at all.

Fall Submissions 2015  2016  2018

And here is a graph of submission dates of articles that were reported as accepted.

Submission date of Accepted Articles - Fall 2015  2016  2018

A histogram-ish graph comparing when all reported articles were submitted and when accepted articles were submitted shows that these two groups match up almost exactly. Accepted articles were less than 10% of the total reported articles, so it's not that accepted articles are swamping the data:

Histogram Accepted Submitted

Fall Date of Submission Chart

You can see the data I used for this here.

[Updated 7/26/19 to remove graph with messed up labels; updated 7/27/19 to add graphs with hopefully not-messed-up labels, but please let me know if you see something that looks wonky.]


Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 23, 2019 at 11:06 AM in Law Review Review | Permalink


I'm starting to become convinced that many journals haven't started to seriously review articles yet, as once-EIC suggested. It seems that it's impossible to submit to all good law reviews during the Fall semester: you're inherently going to be too early or too late for certain law reviews.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Aug 12, 2019 4:32:53 PM

Anonce - I'd talk with people in your field. Not all T14 secondaries are created equal (nor are all T60 flagships), and what might be a better decision for the entry-level job market may not make as much sense for purposes of tenure review.

If you don't have anyone with whom to speak, can you say more about why you care? Are you currently on the entry-level market or will you be going soon? Do you have other publications -- and, if so, where? Etc.

Posted by: aa | Aug 12, 2019 4:18:37 PM

How should one decide between offers from a T60s flagship and a T14 specialty?

Posted by: Anonce | Aug 12, 2019 4:00:48 PM

@anoun, yeah, that would work just as well (at least at our journal).

Posted by: Once-EIC | Aug 11, 2019 2:43:33 PM

Does anyone know of journals that are currently accepting submissions but are not yet reviewing? That'd be very useful info to have.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 11, 2019 12:23:56 PM

I got the UCLA expedite response this morning that y'all referred to earlier, and now I know it's routine and nothing to get excited about. Thanks for the great info!

Posted by: new at this | Aug 11, 2019 8:58:54 AM

@Once-EIC, Would starting a Discussion to let them know the article is still available work just as well?

Posted by: Anoun | Aug 11, 2019 7:16:06 AM

AnonProf2, you talkin' to me?

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 10, 2019 11:59:54 PM

Anecdotal data is my favorite kind, too.

Posted by: AnonProf2 | Aug 10, 2019 10:41:14 PM

So for places that close when you have an open submission at them, is that the equivalent of a rejection, or might they still be looking at your piece? Anyone have any experience with that?

Posted by: new at this | Aug 10, 2019 9:17:24 PM

Here's an interesting stat I realized while going through old submissions. I've never gotten an offer when I was notified in advance of a board review. All the offers I've gotten have come out of the blue.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 10, 2019 8:16:13 PM

@guest2 unfortunately, we'd often have to assume that they'd already been grabbed by the journal from which the expedite originated. I say unfortunately because we suspected that this wasn't always the case, but we simply did not have the institutional wo/manpower to follow up on every expired expedite to see if the piece was still available or, alternatively, the author simply forgot to withdraw from our journal.

This is perhaps something Scholastica needs to fix. But (because of what I mentioned above) you definitely do not want to be in a position where you have a lapsed expedite into a journal from which you're still hoping to hear.

That said, we often had authors manage this situation in (what we deemed to be) a reasonable manner. First, for the journals you're still interested in, make a new expedite on Scholastica to some arbitrary date in the future--say ten days or so. Then, email the lead articles editor of those journals to explain the situation and the nature of the new expedite. Certainly by the fall, we were well aware of this Scholastica quick, so these emails did not seem odd at all--we appreciated the opportunity to review a piece that we had assumed was off the table.

Posted by: Once-EIC | Aug 10, 2019 6:54:37 PM

Once-EIC, thanks and a question - what would your journal do with articles that sent in expedites that had passed before your review began in earnest? Would you assume that those articles were no longer available, and not review them?

Posted by: guest2 | Aug 10, 2019 5:22:53 PM

@godthisprocessisawful, another possibility is that Illinois never bothered closing submissions until now, even though they were already full. Per Scholastica's Twitter feed, their last opening was January 22nd.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 10, 2019 1:46:33 PM

Looks like Illinois is closed - they were open before, so I guess they filled up.

Posted by: godthisprocessisawful | Aug 10, 2019 12:42:07 PM

The word on campus is UC Davis won’t open till spring.

Posted by: anon | Aug 10, 2019 11:53:09 AM


Thank you, fantastic information.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Aug 10, 2019 11:53:05 AM

I used to be the EIC of a T20 journal. Of our 6 issues, we'd fill 4 in the spring cycle and 2 in the fall cycle. So we'd take about ~12-14 articles in the spring, and ~6-7 in the fall. I'm now on the alumni committee, so I know that that policy is still in place. (And this journal hasn't made any moves yet, so those spots are still out there.)

One possible explanation for the present inactivity: Most articles committees don't get up and running fully until the students are back on campus. But there's been, for a few years now, pressure to open earlier and earlier to keep up with HYS. So what I think you're seeing with many journals is a "soft" opening of sorts. They're collecting articles, but they won't make any serious moves until mid- to late-August.

Posted by: Once-EIC | Aug 10, 2019 11:40:45 AM

So I was curious about how many law reviews might still open. UC-Davis had historically reserved half its spots for the Fall and opened around Aug. 15th. That was until last year when it didn't open at all in the fall. That's my way of saying I'm not counting on GW and others to open, but I sure hope they do.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Aug 9, 2019 7:08:41 PM

Axel, thanks.

I agree that this window, so far, has not felt very active. But I know a few journals don't open until the middle of August (GW is one, I think). So maybe the last part of August and into September will be a bit more lively.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 9, 2019 6:22:07 PM

Axel - I've never submitted in the fall before so I don't know what's normal, but for that reason, I went over the list of journals in July to see what was open and what was closed. A lot were closed and then opened on Aug 1 or later, so they didn't just forget to close - but of course, I have no idea how many articles they're looking to accept.

Posted by: anonanon | Aug 9, 2019 5:40:05 PM

YIKAM, I think that’s new. A discussion is probably as good as you can do.

Also, this submission window feels particularly dead. Given the low rate of responses, I’m curious how many ostensibly open journals just forgot to close officially after last cycle, and are in fact closed.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Aug 9, 2019 5:29:40 PM

I went to expedite on Scholastica and on Iowa saw "Doesn't accept expedites". I never noticed this before. Is it new? I looked and the journal's still open. Do you just start a discussion?

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 9, 2019 4:10:57 PM

if ylj is closed does that mean that if we haven't heard from them, they've rejected our piece?

Posted by: exclusive_YLJ | Aug 9, 2019 2:41:20 PM

YLJ is closed: https://twitter.com/YaleLJournal/status/1159854313096798208?s=20. Unusual, esp. this early in August.

Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2019 12:11:49 PM

I submitted 8/1 and have gotten one rejection (Michigan). Otherwise crickets!

Posted by: Anonon | Aug 9, 2019 10:25:19 AM

I submitted on 8/5 and have heard back from 10 (3 offers, 7 rejects). I thought that seemed pretty slow, but then again, this is my first time so I don't really know!

Posted by: new at this | Aug 9, 2019 9:59:48 AM

It seems quiet this year. I submitted two pieces on the 1st and have heard back (a reejction) from a single journal.

Posted by: FW | Aug 9, 2019 8:45:01 AM

No email notification or Scholastica message, but it appeared as a rejection on the Scholastica journals list. From there the rejection note could be viewed.

Posted by: The Anonymous | Aug 9, 2019 8:30:31 AM

Been a quiet cycle so far for me. Submitted 8/1. Got an immediate offer (T-80) and an immediate rejection (T-3) and nothing since. When do things usually begin to move in the fall?

Posted by: Quiet | Aug 9, 2019 8:23:33 AM

How does one get a stealth ding with a rejection note? What is a stealth ding anyway?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 9, 2019 7:43:41 AM

Stealth ding from Washington Law Review, but the rejection note is very specific and suggests they did actually read the piece.

Posted by: The Anonymous | Aug 9, 2019 3:43:55 AM

Is Case Western a serial non-responder? I've never gotten a rejection from them, but I've only submitted to them a couple of times and I never see rejections recorded on the spreadsheet.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 9, 2019 2:29:47 AM

Axel's right. There's not gut punch quite like getting a rejection two days or so after a law review said great things about your article while asking for more time. But then there's the high when a law review you thought was totally over your article suddenly offers.

And in between there's the waiting.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 9, 2019 2:18:20 AM

So I haven't been at this a ton of time, but yes, UCLA always asks for more time regardless of their level of interest. Last cycle, Colorado was also asking for more time on what seemed to be a routine basis, but would describe your article as "very engaging." So it seemed like they had legitimate interest in your article until you found out your colleagues received the same form letter.

It's tough, sometimes I've received correspondences from very interested law reviews to get rejected and I've got acceptances from really good law reviews that seem very indifferent to my article. It's hard to gauge.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Aug 8, 2019 11:43:31 PM

In my experience, the one law review that always reaches out to ask for more time regardless of their actual level of interest is UCLA. I believe I have gotten that same form email from UCLA almost every cycle of late. But in my experiences, most other journals won’t affirmatively respond to an expedite request by asking for more time unless they have some potential interest in the piece.

Posted by: mid career prof | Aug 8, 2019 8:18:03 PM

@ new at this --

Some journals send form responses of this nature. Some journals only send requests for additional time if they're somewhat interested (indicating that you've progressed beyond some initial stage). And some journals only send responses if they're seriously interested (and you're at a late stage of review).

If you're comfortable sharing specifics, others here might be able to help clarify which of the above this may be. If I recall correctly, I think UCLA last cycle sent form "we need more time" responses to expedite requests.

Posted by: aa | Aug 8, 2019 7:10:23 PM

So this is my first time going through the whole submission process. I got a decent offer and expedited. I got a message from a significantly better LR telling me they couldn't complete their review within the expedite window but could if I could give them another week. So I got another week for them. My question: does this mean they are actually interested in my article and are reviewing it, or do some places just have a standard-type response like this to expedite requests and so their message could mean nothing? Appreciate any insight on this. Thanks!

Posted by: new at this | Aug 8, 2019 6:09:28 PM

YIKAM, nice to see you and thanks for the intel! That’s disappointing to hear – especially since WLR’s Scholastica message invites e-mail submissions. I’ll carry on hoping this year is different.

Interested to hear about experiences of other people/journals!

Posted by: You've Got (No) Mail | Aug 7, 2019 6:31:03 PM

Washington didn't respond to my email submissions for a couple years and I just stopped sending to them. Honestly, I'd be surprised if that email account is even monitored anymore.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Aug 7, 2019 6:03:11 PM

Has anyone submitted by e-mail and received a response this cycle? For instance, I see people have posted about Washington Law Review. I sent them my piece by e-mail and have no word yet.

Posted by: You've Got (No) Mail | Aug 7, 2019 5:34:59 PM

I suspect his offer came with more details. I'll bet it explains what "not firm" means, and he's just omitted that part. (And if it didn't explain, I'm sure he asked, unless he really wasn't interested in knowing.) The only thing I can think of is that the journal intentionally made more offers than it has available slots, and those who accept their offers first (within the two-day time frame) get a slot. I have heard of this type of offer before -- it's both "exploding" and "contingent" on no one else accepting first. Once in a while a journal will get tired of being a screening mechanism for higher ranked journals, and will use this type of offer.

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 7, 2019 9:08:16 AM

did anyone else see this?

is this nonfirm offer a thing now? because i gotta say i realize not everyone has the luxury of choice but if there's anything profs should just reject out of hand, it's the nonfirm offer.

Posted by: anony | Aug 6, 2019 3:41:07 PM

Anooon, hiring chair's comments got me thinking. I suspect that if you didn't graduate from a top-10-or-so school, you'll really need to "hit it out of the park" with your publications in order to get an interview. On the other hand, if you went to H, Y, or S for law school, the hiring committees might be more forgiving when it comes to pub record. For example: "A recent survey found that, among the 486 entry-level, tenure-track hires made by ABA-accredited law schools between 2003 and 2007, 38.5% of those hires had a J.D. degree from either Harvard or Yale. The survey also found that 85.6% of new hires received their J.D. degrees from one of a total of twelve elite law schools." Source: https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/articles/64/ (Looks like there's a new cutoff point of significance here. Call it the "T-12." Ha!)

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 6, 2019 1:27:31 PM

I have chaired hiring at a top tier school recently, and am on the committee almost every year. Practice is different everywhere, but I have no reason to believe what I'm about to say is out of the norm, at least for our peer schools.

You have to think about placement prestige in terms of process of getting hired. At the later stages of the process I don't think it helps at all. People read the paper, and make their judgments, or they defer to people who do. Everyone who knows this racket understands that article placement is not a great proxy for quality, especially when there are only a couple of data points.

The one place where it might matter a tiny bit is during the informal screening phases - when schools are trying to decide who to "pull from the stack," so to speak. Even then, people tend to self-perceive as not caring about placement that much, but they're invariably triaging attention in ways that make placement too easy to ignore. All of that is to say that I do think that having a fancy placement helps you a tiny bit, getting pulled from the stack on the initial cut. But this a surprisingly small effect, I think, and I have a hard time believing that there's any inflection point anyone should be thinking about. There's no magic number below which you shouldn't take a placement. Every situation is too different.

And I'm sure that there are a bunch of anecdotes suggesting otherwise, so I'm just reporting my accumulated, pretty considerable experience at a single institution.

Posted by: anon hiring chair | Aug 6, 2019 11:45:02 AM

Awesome thanks!

Posted by: Anooon | Aug 6, 2019 11:33:07 AM

Anooon, the profs are slow on the draw this year, so I'll jump in.

A couple of years ago, a job-seeker reported that he/she was told T-60 is the magic number for building a resume for a teaching gig. Here is the quote from the anonymous poster: “I have received advice that I should not accept any offer outside of T-60, as doing so could hurt my chances once (or if) I actually go on the job market.”

That advice was corroborated by someone who claimed to be on a hiring committee somewhere, who wrote: "I have chaired my school’s appointments committee several times, and I talk quite a bit with chairs at other schools. Here's my opinion — we are impressed by publications that we immediately know are 'good.' . . . Thus, a publication in the flagship journal in any school in the T30 of U.S. News will get our attention — probably true of the T50 as well (although the closer you get to 50, the less that’s the case). From there on out, your publication very quickly is seen as less impressive."

To complicate things, I recall someone stating that some schools in the T-50 are less impressive than their rank (I can't remember which ones), and other profs think that peer rep score is better than the USN overall rank. See here for peer rep: https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/03/2020-us-news-law-school-peer-reputation-rankings-and-overall-rankings.html

Good luck!

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 6, 2019 12:44:14 AM

I'll be participating in the AALS conference this year and I'm submitting my job talk paper to journals in hopes of getting an offer that will impress the hiring committees. In trying to decide where to submit my paper, I'm uncertain how far down in the rankings I should go. Obviously an offer from a T50 would be ideal. But if I get an offer from a T50-T100 flagship, is that still impressive or instead a strike against me? T100 to T150? Thanks very much!

Posted by: Anooon | Aug 5, 2019 9:56:22 PM

Ella - I'd think about it like this: assume there are two articles that the editors of your preferred journal like about equally. One has bluebooked fns, the other doesn't. Given the two are pretty much fungible in terms of quality as they define it, the editors, who are busy law students and have other articles to edit as well, are much more likely to offer the one that they perceive as less work for them.

Posted by: guest | Aug 5, 2019 11:49:17 AM

Ella, I'll take a shot at this. Citing to the proper source (if that's what you meant) is a must before the article is submitted, I think. As for precise Blue Book form, the vast majority of my cites are to cases or law review articles. Those are easy to do, and I think they should be in exact BB form. The same probably goes for online newspaper articles and books. But if you're citing less common sources, I think as long as you're somewhat close to BB, and use the same format consistently throughout the article, you'll probably be fine.

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 5, 2019 10:18:25 AM

Hi everyone,

I was wondering how much effort do you put in blue book conformity.
Do you make sure that every single footnote is 100% in compliance or just generally try to cite properly?

Posted by: Ella | Aug 4, 2019 2:45:28 AM

Fourth Year Prof, anon @2:41 absolutely is free to weigh in, and he did provide useful information. I was responding to his “bad advice alert.”

My point was that if AnonTT (it would be easier if everyone used real names) is going to ask for submission advice but not tell us his/her objectives, then the advice will be no better than the question. I’m not interested in his Real Housewife preference (interesting choice of show) or his dreams. But not every prof and article can be the same. Is his article time sensitive? Does he have a follow-up article planned and therefore needs to get this one published sooner rather than later? Has he published any articles yet this year? Is he tenured?

With regard to the numbers, if USN T50 is the goal, I’m not entirely sure that the number of open journals is the best measure, as some of those open journals may only have one or two publication slots remaining (as YIKAM suggested earlier). Maybe Scholastica has some better data on the number of articles actually published from each submission pool. Their blog posts are sometimes a little silly, but they do put out some useful data.

Now it’s break time -- I’m going to Netflix to check out this Housewives show.

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 4, 2019 2:15:53 AM

By my count only 12 of the T50 are "closed closed" (as opposed to closed but planning to open at some point soon). AnonTT clearly stated that they (like many of us) are interested in whether it's pointless to submit this cycle if the goal is a T50 placement. That is a perfectly reasonable question to which anon @2:41 provided a useful answer with some numbers to back it up. Most of us are at schools (or trying to be at schools) where T50 placements are the coin-in-trade. It doesn't require AnonTT to have provided personal details about his/her dreams, goals, and favorite Real Housewife of New York for anon @2:41 to weigh in on the question of whether a T50 placement is possible in this fall cycle. There are few processes LESS personal than this law review grind or goals, within it, more basic than wanting/needing a T50 placement. Personally, I have had some of my best placements in the fall cycle but I've also had my biggest disappointments in the fall cycle. I think the answer is that it's more of a crap shoot than the spring but by no means a lost cause if you are shooting for T50.

Posted by: Fourth Year Prof | Aug 3, 2019 11:54:47 PM

anon, when a person asks a question as AnonTT did -- without checking the percentage of open journals, without providing any personal information or objectives, etc. -- and then looks to a bunch of (usually anonymous) strangers to make this decision, the advice might be as bad as the question itself. (And on top of all that, AnonTT's article isn't even finished yet.) As for me, I've submitted all of my finished articles -- there are plenty of journals open for my taste. However, based on AnonTT's question, I suspect I'm probably not as swayed by a journal's school's US News rank. I suspect it's a real consideration for him/her.

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 3, 2019 3:53:45 PM

bad advice alert.

by my count, 26 of the first 35 are open and accepting. and yes, while it's true that there are fewer spots, there are also fewer submissions competing for them. so i would have a really hard time advising someone to take a pass on a cycle on the ground that it's not opportunity-producing.

Posted by: anon | Aug 3, 2019 2:41:59 PM

I submitted on Aug. 1 and have already been informed of final review at two T50 journals, so there is def. still a cycle. It is harder than spring though as there are fewer spots available.

Posted by: AnonProf | Aug 3, 2019 10:16:30 AM

AnonTT: (1) Yes, there is still a fall submission cycle. (2) Yes, most (or at least many, you'd have to check Scholastica for exact numbers) of the "T50" journals are closed, as are some in the "T51-T100" range. (3) Yes, you should put off submitting until Feb., 2020. If you don't, you'll be unhappy with your placement and will angst about missed opportunities for your article.

Posted by: Michael Cicchini | Aug 3, 2019 10:01:38 AM

So is there no fall submissions cycle? Are most T50 journals closed? My article needs a couple more days of polishing before I submit it. Should I push it back to February 2020?

Posted by: AnonTT | Aug 3, 2019 7:17:12 AM

@Anun My pleasure! Every journal on Scholastica has a "For Authors" page which typically states when that journal will be open for submissions. For example, "Minnesota Law Review will begin accepting submissions for Volume 105 on February 15, 2020": https://minnesota-law-review.scholasticahq.com/for-authors

Posted by: Anon | Aug 2, 2019 2:09:57 PM

@Anon: Thanks for your reply! How do we tell if a journal is full and won't reopen til February of if just isn't open yet? I'm new at this.

Posted by: Anun | Aug 2, 2019 1:57:54 PM

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