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Saturday, February 01, 2020

Submission Angsting Spring 2020

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 2020 version). The article now also includes hyperlinks to law review websites.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on February 1, 2020 at 06:11 PM in Law Review Review | Permalink


For the new submitters,

don't let all the "ae' posts fool you. the whole process is a racket and people much better connected than you are using letterheads, relationships, whatever advantage they have to place their articles. don't all into the trap of thinking the content of your article matters.

hell, Hastings' blind review instructions makes clear that content usually isn't the most important factor in deciding their non-blind submissions. In fact, they're so ashamed of who you might be, they're not even going to publish blind reviews under the authors' names.

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Feb 27, 2020 12:11:17 AM

Duke closed. Assume they are done.

Posted by: anona | Feb 27, 2020 12:01:40 AM

Duke closed. Assume they are done.

Posted by: anona | Feb 27, 2020 12:01:39 AM

Professors have virtually no personal leverage over AEs because of how AEs review articles. Most law reviews randomly assign a first cut to an individual AE (Scholastica does this for us) and then make several more rounds of cuts by committee. Who actually makes the decision to kill an article is unpredictable and opaque. Unsolicited endorsements might move the needle some because editors view them as a proxy for quality, but it's not because of any fear of career or grade retribution.

And again, we just don't get unsolicited endorsements. They're very rare. If you're not getting good placements, it's because editors don't think your research is good (rightly or wrongly), not because law reviews are corrupt. We're pretty incompetent, that's why we solicit peer reviews, but we're not corrupt.

Posted by: AnonAE | Feb 26, 2020 11:45:02 PM

Sorry for the confusion - I meant to say “I have received 7 offers.” I am not holding them open; that would be wrong. And while I appreciate all of the unsolicited advice about whether it would be wrong to hold 7 offers open, my question was about something else and doesn’t turn on whether the offers are open or closed. I just want to know what is the optimal way to communicate to a journal that one has received more than one offer. Is a journal more likely to see my article in Scholastica if I hit “expedite” seven times, rather than if I just hitting expedite once and saying “ps, I got six other offers”? I don’t know. I’m not even wondering whether the journal editor will be more impressed or not. I just want them to review the article and communicate their decision. I say this in particular about the journals like Vanderbilt, Texas, Duke, NYU that have been irregularly / erratically communicating with folks.

Posted by: Crabs | Feb 26, 2020 9:46:36 PM


I can think of no advantage to the second open offer, let alone the seventh one. To the extent that there's a signaling value at some law reviews to you having received offers from, say, Illinois + Kentucky + Hawaii as opposed to just Illinois--and I am very doubtful that there is--what matters is that you received the offer, not that it is still open. I would release all but your top offer. And if you feel so compelled, you can note in your expedite that you also have received offers from Kentucky, Seton Hall, etc.

Posted by: HYS Articles Editor | Feb 26, 2020 8:56:04 PM

Crabs, and to add to Crabby's comment, it's especially unfair to the students. They have a tough job which is made tougher when authors hold onto offers for no good reason.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Feb 26, 2020 8:24:28 PM

I second Crabby's response. Pick one (maybe two) and decline the rest, so the students and your fellow angsters can keep the process moving along.

And congratulations on having such a successful run so far!

Posted by: anonVAP | Feb 26, 2020 8:23:44 PM

I think you should stop sitting on seven offers, keep the one (or two) that you are most interested in and release the others to the rest of your scholarly community. You can expedite from the ones you've retained, explaining, in one email/expedite note, that you have open offers from 6 and 7 (and you've also received, but declined, offers from 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).

Posted by: crabby | Feb 26, 2020 7:49:44 PM

Hello: does anyone who is / was an AE know the answer to the following Q:
I am sitting on seven offers from T-75 journals, but I’m only barely cracking into the top 25. When I expedite, is it better to expedite seven separate times (once for each offer) or should I expedite once with the best offer / latest deadline and list the other offers in the comments box? Is Scholastica set up in a way to make several separate expedite requests more salient than a single request? Thanks!

Posted by: Crabs | Feb 26, 2020 6:24:58 PM

It has been quieter than previous years for me. Submitted to T50 on 2/7 and have gotten around 8 dings, from all but one of the responsive journals. Expanded on 2/20 to T100 and specialties and have gotten 3 more from that group.

Posted by: lily | Feb 26, 2020 4:00:33 PM

This is a very helpful forum. As a prof from overseas it gives me much insight into the way US law reviews work - though I've been publishing with American journals for some 12 years now. Thanks all for sharing your info.

My two cents: I submitted to ~T75 flagship journals or so in early February. Got 24 rejections, 5 offers from T25-50, and withdrew from some additional 25 journals. Waiting to hear (realizing chances are rather slim) from 9 additional journals that are ranked higher than my current offer. These include NYU, Virginia, Georgetown, Michigan, Texas, Duke, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and Southern California.

Hope this can be of any help. Good luck everyone.

Posted by: Prof-from-overseas | Feb 26, 2020 3:42:18 PM

providing as little info as possible while providing some insight/context/behind-the-scenes info:

at at least one T25 general LR, articles submitted on 2.12 have not necessarily even been assigned to the first reviewer yet.

Posted by: anon99 | Feb 26, 2020 2:45:30 PM

To those interested in responses, I've submitted early to about 90 journals, 7 specialty, the rest t100 flagships. I've heard from 27, all no's, so journals are making decisions and giving notice. I've recorded all this in the spreadsheet (something about that is cathartic, like a little funeral to let go of each rejection). I'm not a prof or VAP, and not recently experienced in submitting for publication, so that may factor into my results.

Posted by: Submission Zen | Feb 26, 2020 2:42:46 PM

Does anyone know when Cardozo is opening this year?
Also, I submitted to about 50 journals (T-30ish to T80ish) last week and haven't heard anything either. This is my first time submitting at a normal time (I submitted very late my last two cycles), and it is much more anxiety-inducing than submitting late and getting a quick, steady stream of decisions. From previous years, it looks like Cardozo opens late and decides quickly.

Posted by: anonVAP | Feb 26, 2020 2:21:00 PM

I submitted to about 80 Journals (mostly T-50) last week. Thus far only 3 rejections, otherwise total silence.

Posted by: Angster33 | Feb 26, 2020 2:05:36 PM

Submitted to T60 on 2/15. Rejections from 10 journals so far, accept at 1 and in the laddering process. To me, it feels like a very normal year--not too quiet, not too loud.

Posted by: anonogram | Feb 26, 2020 1:55:23 PM

AnonRoku and Aspiring - it's helpful to hear that you've heard from few very journals. If others are experiencing similar things too that's helpful to know, and would explain the low numbers on the spreadsheet. Maybe we're all just hearing nothing... I am also hearing nothing, though I only fully submitted to the top 60 yesterday, so I recognize I cannot exactly declare silence yet.

Posted by: angster | Feb 26, 2020 1:29:43 PM

"Advice to de prioritize submissions with uninvited endorsements"
You cannot rid this practice as too many interests benefit from it.
This is the way life works. Favors are exchanged and returned. Editors approving recommended papers are just playing the game. They too need high grades and personal recommendations from the professor who "suggests" the editor take "a close look" at a colleague's submission. It is not good to have a reputation as a non-team player. It also helps journals - do you really expect students to know the superior submissions? Referrals save time and are very helpful to screen out the many hundreds of submissions. It is a kind of "peer-review".
Keep in mind that home professors will also publish in their home journals - do you really think the journal will not have self-pressure to publish the article?
Do you believe they will sit on the bottom of the pile and not be read. Of course they will be considered and given high consideration. "Oh hi Prof X yes your course on the topic is great and you are tenured but our board just doesnt think your paper (or your colleague from another school) does it for us. See you later in class. Oh and please remember my letter of recommendation for the SDNY clerkship."

Posted by: Prof | Feb 26, 2020 1:17:37 PM

anonRoko, I submitted to the T50 on Feb. 10 and have received only a handful of rejections--silence everywhere else. This is a much slower response rate than any of my previous cycles, which was making me nervous. But perhaps it's normal this time around. Things are always changing...

Posted by: Aspiring | Feb 26, 2020 12:49:14 PM

Everyone rails against corruption in our government and can do nothing. Many in this generation believe in action at all levels, including sometimes the only place we can make any difference, our schools. Advice to de prioritize submissions with uninvited endorsements is a tiny yet actionable way of reducing a corrupt practice.

Posted by: Anoneditor | Feb 26, 2020 12:36:10 PM

Interested in hearing about response rates.

I've submitted to the T50 and gotten about 10 rejections (and no other responses). That seems like a low rate, given I submitted first week of February?

Posted by: anonRoko | Feb 26, 2020 12:03:46 PM

Anyone knows what is going on with Michigan Law Review? They seemed to be very active early on but seemed to go on radio silence lately?

Posted by: Anon11 | Feb 26, 2020 10:00:09 AM

I'm going to second pretty much everything AnonAE said.

I want to add, further, that when I was an AE (several years ago), we were aware of the perception of bias against certain types of pieces (corporate/business and and international come immediately to mind) and we gave articles in those areas special attention. I can't recall everything we ended up actually publishing, but I feel confident in saying that, at least in that year, it was an advantage at my HYS flagship to be writing in one of these so-called 'disfavored' fields.

That said, I do think that there are some biases in this process. In retrospect, I think that big structural admin pieces, history pieces with conlaw tie-ins (the sort that you could imagine being cited by Scalia), and legislative interpretation pieces generally over-placed with us. Empirical pieces probably also overplaced with us, especially if the empirics informed on a 'big'-seeming question. All else equal, you were probably more likely to place with my HYS journal with one of these pieces than you were, say, a torts or a tax paper. Outside of these couple of areas, which I think are pretty well known in the academy, I think that our review was pretty neutral.

Oh, and if a professor had told us to disfavor referrals--we got almost none and I'm not sure they generated a single offer--I think we would have just mostly been annoyed with that professor.

Posted by: HYS Articles Editor | Feb 25, 2020 9:55:01 PM

We get very few referrals to articles from faculty. I only know of a couple this cycle out of hundreds of articles. Maybe our school is weird, but the idea that faculty referrals drive a significant part of placement sounds absurd to me.

Ideas that certain journals are hostile to certain scholarship in general also seem silly. Widespread school culture might cause that to an extent, but boards turn over every year. My law review's board is mostly private law-focused this year and that is reflected in what we are publishing. That's just an arbitrary contingency.

Exclusive submissions move the needle for us a bit--they always get read fast--because we don't like losing pieces to other law reviews and they give us a definite safe window. I'd guess the articles are also higher-quality on average, though of course most still get rejected.

Posted by: AnonAE | Feb 25, 2020 9:11:33 PM

Columbia is also soliciting "peer reviews" -- emailing faculty with redacted articles asking for feedback.

Posted by: angster | Feb 25, 2020 4:02:07 PM

Among the flagships doing some sort of blind-ish review:

Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Michigan, NYU, Hastings.

Unclear when the review moves from blind to not-blind at some of them.

Maryland, meanwhile, is doing a "blind review" process that is the exact opposite of how a blind review process should work: first cut is not blind then final board vote is blind.

This isn't an exclusive list, just some to help off the top of my head.

Posted by: anon22 | Feb 25, 2020 3:32:10 PM

I'm likely done - expedite deadline on offer from t25 is today at 5pm. Here are the journals I did not hear from re: the expedite that were USNWR-ranked higher than/around my offer (which btw I am very happy with):


Best of luck to everyone still in the game - I appreciate the sharing spirit
displayed here on a biennial basis (whether making use of it is good for me or not)!

Posted by: Guest | Feb 25, 2020 2:38:36 PM

I'm likely done - expedite deadline on offer from t25 is today at 5pm. Here are the journals I did not hear from re: the expedite that were USNWR-ranked higher than/around my offer (which btw I am very happy with):


Best of luck to everyone still in the game - I appreciate the sharing spirit
displayed here on a biennial basis (whether making use of it is good for me or not)!

Posted by: Guest | Feb 25, 2020 2:38:35 PM

Does anyone know which schools have implemented a blind review requirement or option this cycle?

Posted by: BlindReview? | Feb 25, 2020 1:06:44 PM

Seems like most of the top law reviews (Chicago, Harvard, Yale, Stanford) are doing a solid job of reviewing non-expedited submissions, with roughly balanced ratios reported. California is excellent, with considerably more non-expedite decisions. NYU's process seems broken, based on the sheet, with a 12 to 1 ratio (expedites to non-expedites). Columbia also has an expedite heavy ratio, but not as bad as NYU's.

Posted by: anon | Feb 25, 2020 12:25:47 PM

Re Emails,
I can only think of a couple of times that I've received a confirmation message after submitting via email. I have, however, received many offers via email submission. Of course, you're email may have gotten lost in the mix; I'm sure that happens.

Posted by: nachosbelgrande | Feb 25, 2020 10:07:44 AM

Question about email submissions:

I am not affiliated with a law school, so I submitted by email to schools that accept them. Is it normal to not receive a confirmation email?

For instance, I submitted to North Carolina, and have received neither a confirmation of receipt, nor a rejection...even though it's now been outstanding longer than any of the inputs on the spreadsheet.

Is this normal?

Posted by: Anon12 | Feb 25, 2020 9:55:51 AM

Do we really expect there to be any rhyme or reason to these things? Aren't most rejections done by individuals who simply have their personal preferences?

Posted by: SubmitmentPhobe | Feb 24, 2020 9:52:09 PM

FWIW, Georgetown made a T14 pro-regulation of business article this cycle, likely the same mentioned earlier. Interested in the comment about con law not making it to final votes, why that would be? Con law reviewers like business law reviewers can be pretty vicious...

Posted by: publicprof | Feb 24, 2020 9:34:34 PM

...and I'd encourage others to do the same, to tell their students to weigh it against the submission. We should encourage more decisions on the merits not fewer.

Posted by: anon | Feb 24, 2020 9:28:52 PM

I'm at a T20 and usually have students I know on the articles committee, and advise them to weigh it against an article if it comes in recommended by a prof. It happens, but they tell me not much.

Posted by: anon | Feb 24, 2020 9:24:20 PM

On asking for help, just know that it can go both ways. I've talked to editors who view recommended pieces negatively, in that they assume the author benefits from such favors more broadly in life. And some are annoyed by the imposition on their autonomy. There's also the risk that the faculty asked may think it offensive, or in any case knows about it and thus increases the chance that others in the academy know your a network-favor beneficiary. I've published a number of T14 articles, and only once had someone offer (after I already had a board vote) to put in a good word, and then got rejected. I've regretted saying yes ever since.

Posted by: anonanony | Feb 24, 2020 3:48:23 PM

@angster, I logged onto the Yale system and saw things as you described them (blank), so I think you're fine.

Posted by: WTH | Feb 24, 2020 2:08:57 PM

anon, some journals do not notify you in advance of board reads and lots of boards meet during this time period (last 10 days of Feb and first week of March). As a result, there is little reason not to wait out the full 24 hours.

You could email a few journals that you suspect might be doing board reads within the 24 hour window or soon after to see if you get a response, but I doubt that would get you much.

Posted by: anon5 | Feb 24, 2020 1:57:18 PM

hypothetically, what would one do if one had a 24 hour expedite deadline? Is there really any room to ask for consideration elsewhere if you're not already under board review? Just wondering if there's a point in not accepting right away.

Posted by: anon | Feb 24, 2020 1:34:30 PM

When you go into the Yale Law Journal submission system, are you supposed to see links to your article, cover letter, etc. so that you can view them? Mine are just blank, with no links...

Posted by: angster | Feb 24, 2020 12:11:07 PM

Two of my colleagues have had T10 placements in recent years because of a faculty member at the T10 school in question. So, yes, I think it does happen a fair amount.

Posted by: midwest | Feb 24, 2020 10:19:50 AM


unfortunately, it's an inherently unfair system. it's impossible and inadvisable to play fair in a system that is not fair.

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Feb 24, 2020 10:09:30 AM

play fair | Feb 24, 2020 8:42:57 AM

I'm a very junior prof and I've heard about faculty influencing student editors to accept work. I've heard of a few cases indirectly, and someone directly told me once that they got a placement in a T20 due to a senior person at the school reaching out to the flagship LR to advocate for them. I think it happens. I do think it's the same journals and people who do this over and over again (especially on the "helping" end) not "everybody". You don't just ask someone to help out of the blue (because most folks are in the majority that don't do this). "Help" needs to be offered. Even though it's a small minority of cases, space is at such a premium at top journals that it affects all of us.

Of course the insider game is kept quiet as those who benefit want to seem "naturally just that good." Why would anyone broadcast this to undermine their own reputation or that of their flagship law journal?

Posted by: anon | Feb 24, 2020 9:39:39 AM

I agree with Congratulations! that precise rank of journal doesn't matter (I've served on our hiring committee 4 times). I disagree that faculty are regularly swapping recommendations and unduly influencing editor decisions, or at least in 8 years of teaching at 3 institutions I've never seen it or been on either end of a request for it. I hope and think this practice is waning and have only ever heard professors decry it. I don't want Congratulations' post to normalize something pretty much everyone agrees is problematic.

Posted by: play fair | Feb 24, 2020 8:42:58 AM

I agree with Congratulations! that precise rank of journal doesn't matter (I've served on our hiring committee 4 times). I disagree that faculty are regularly swapping recommendations and unduly influencing editor decisions, or at least in 8 years of teaching at 3 institutions I've never seen it or been on either end of a request for it. I hope and think this practice is waning and have only ever heard professors decry it. I don't want Congratulations' post to normalize something pretty much everyone agrees is problematic.

Posted by: play fair | Feb 24, 2020 8:42:57 AM

I am busy and will only say this once and I wont bother responding or to any follow-ups because I have more important stuff to do (preparing another two papers and finalizing a book chapter). But as my "pro bono" to the youngems here, I have some advice.
Disclosure - I do find the chart of acceptances/rejections useful.
Keep in mind that much advice on this board comes from junior/young professors who themselves are no experts in the world of academia.
Someone asked "How do people feel about journals that have peer ratings much higher than the school's USN rank? American, for example, is 77 in USN but its journal peer ranking is around 50."
My answer is as follows: Do you really think that a Dean or Academic Dean looking to hire you is going to look up your paper and say "oh, the school is only 77 on USN but 50 peer". Or "only 77? Well hire the guy who published in 50" It is absurd.
Do you younger folks have any clue as to the real world? Do you even know that often slots are unavailable either because their home faculty will publish there or - and this is endemic - they are filled by recommendations from their home faculty (who are quite possibly grading the editors so there is implicit pressure) swapping with their colleagues in other schools? Dont worry - everyone hiring you knows this and no one is comparing ranks or giving a hoot over +-25 spots. Sure there might be exceptions but generally speaking #85 is as good as #50 and a more cited #85 is worth much more than a less or non cited #35.
Yes a T14 placement is prestigious and IS worth it but for most everything else it is your paper's reputation and citation factor that counts. You can have a great paper that is well-cited from a lower-ranked school and that will count 100 times more than a paper hardly cited from a school 25 ranks higher.
Listen up, do your best work and aim for citability - that is the key driver. No one gives a hoot that you took a paper from #105 and not #85 or #90 and not #70 No one cares or has the time to compare these rankings. Of course if its a new school or school #250 that is not the gratest but you get my point. You folks are expending inordinate energy on nonsense.
I submit only where I would accept and dont even expedite.
Last point - dont bother with exclusives you are a sucker if you submit on that basis just like like giving an exclusive to a real estate agent - they have no incentive.

Posted by: Congratulations! | Feb 24, 2020 8:14:01 AM

How do people feel about journals that have peer ratings much higher than the school's USN rank? American, for example, is 77 in USN but its journal peer ranking is around 50.

Posted by: NonProf | Feb 24, 2020 12:38:06 AM

UC Irvine is a very well-respected journal. The school is young, but many prominent scholars have already published in their law review. I have a friend who turned down an Indiana offer to publish with UCI.

Posted by: AnonTT | Feb 23, 2020 11:46:56 PM

Where would you rank UC Irvine LR?

Posted by: Jane | Feb 23, 2020 9:50:22 PM

After talking to a couple recent editors, there's no benefit to exclusive submissions other than you're more likely to have your file reviewed because you're holding off on submitting elsewhere. One said they always thought it was stupid, why would you lock out others? They said exclusive submissions like other submissions were overwhelmingly rejected.

Posted by: exclusive | Feb 23, 2020 9:24:56 PM

Has anyone submitted exclusive to YSH? If so, did you get a response at the end of your 10 days? How did it work out? Is there any benefit in submitting this way?

Posted by: anotheranon1 | Feb 23, 2020 9:11:27 PM

Guest, I agree with anonanon below. If you have already been rejected from half of the top 16 of the GW expedite, then I would absolutely take the GW offer at the end of Monday. This being said, if you get notifications of multiple board reads from top 16 schools between now and end of Monday, then I might lean towards letting it ride.

Posted by: anon5 | Feb 23, 2020 9:01:54 PM

LOL, loving how angsting became so topical. This just in: "Leading corporate reformers get a majority of votes in Nevada, but still perform poorly among top law review editors."

Posted by: anon | Feb 23, 2020 8:51:41 PM

I wouldn't personally take that tradeoff, GW to Illinois. Rejections from half the top journals when several aren't notifying makes for slim odds. But if you receive a board read notice or request for more time, that's different.

Posted by: anonanon | Feb 23, 2020 8:41:16 PM

How much of a ranking decline of your final placement would you risk in order to get another week of expediting? E.g., if you had an offer from GW that expired this Monday but then got an offer from Illinois that expired a week later, would you ride with the Illinois offer to get the extra week, or take GW? (Assume you have been declined from half the top 16 off the GW expedite.)

Posted by: Guest | Feb 23, 2020 7:51:32 PM

There's no right answer on notifying of board reads. But my impression is a lot of editors are annoyed by them, discount them, or may figure why bother, so the risks might not be worth it.

Posted by: anon | Feb 23, 2020 7:00:10 PM

What is the wisdom on informing journals that you've received notification of full board review? On one hand, expedite windows are so short these days. On the other, an AE might be inclined to think the piece is likely to go elsewhere and brush it aside.

Posted by: question | Feb 23, 2020 6:51:14 PM

Has anyone had NW ignore (not respond) an expedite this year? What about CA?

Posted by: nachosbelgrande | Feb 23, 2020 4:11:04 PM

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