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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Submission Angsting Fall 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, but please be patient.)

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

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 25, 2020 at 02:48 PM in Law Review Review | Permalink


re: exclusive submissions

My T14 LR doesn't get an incredible number of exclusive submissions, but we don't have a formal process for them, unlike (I think) Harvard, Yale, and Northwestern, so our view on them may be different. The exclusive submissions we get tend to be from faculty or alumni. It's definitely a plus. I think the acceptance rate is something like 33%, which is much higher than our general acceptance rate of like 1%. A lot of that is because the pieces submitted are often very good, as our faculty is very good, but a lot of it is also that it's a big help getting through our first round of screening, which is where we reject 90% of articles. An exclusive submit has to be pretty poor to fail the first round for us.

Posted by: AnonAE | Nov 25, 2020 5:28:18 PM

No, the boards will likely have turned over by then. Even if they don’t, odds they’d remember your piece based on title are very low.

Posted by: AnonProf | Nov 25, 2020 4:32:04 PM

In August I submitted an early version of an article to the top 14ish law journals, just to see if anyone was interested. I didn't get any responses. I spent the past few months workshopping and revising, and plan to resubmit the paper more broadly in February. The basic gist of the piece is the same although there are significant changes to the argument. Do I need to come up with a new title in order to get full consideration from the journals I previously submitted to, or can I leave it the same?

Posted by: CuteAnon | Nov 25, 2020 10:56:03 AM

Would anyone care to comment on exclusive submissions, especially dedicated exclusive submission windows like Northwestern's? I'd be especially interested to hear from current or former AEs about how such submissions were handled, but if you submitted that way and have any sense of whether it helped that would be great. Seems like the effect on your article's chances is a hard thing to evaluate.

Posted by: Exclusive submissions | Nov 24, 2020 2:18:28 PM

@anon | Nov 19, 2020 - unless this year is drastically different (which could be the case, due to Covid), mid-December is far too early to submit. The cycle usually does not start until the end of January. However, there are always exceptions. So - if you have a specific journal in mind and you see, for instance, that it suddenly opened on Scholastica, then you can do one of two things:
(1) Submit and pray (technically this would be possible)
(2) Send an email to the editors, asking if they are reviewing already or whether you should wait. Not all editors answer, but some do - can't hurt.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Nov 24, 2020 12:17:03 PM

I'm new to this. When should we start submitting via direct email to top-10-ish venues for the next cycle? Right now, some of them say closed on the submission page of their review website - and some don't.

Would mid-December be a good time to submit early for the next cycle?

Posted by: anon | Nov 19, 2020 12:42:57 AM

Shoutout to the tenured prof at a T20 school adding law review editors on LinkedIn trying to get an article into a closed journal

Posted by: anonae | Nov 3, 2020 5:44:25 PM

For the benefit of everyone, here is a list of journals that have communicated to me explicitly that they no longer use ExpressO (but for which you can still technically submit - ExpressO is basically taking our money for nothing):

- American Criminal Law Journal
- Berkeley Technology Law Journal
- Stanford Law & Policy Review
- Stanford Journal of Criminal Law & Policy [journal is inoperative]
I'm pretty sure Stanford Technology Law Journal also don't use ExpressO, but I don't have official confirmation.

Otherwise, some journals are marked as open on ExpressO but were not reviewing in practice (again, money down the drain). I know of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, but there are probably others.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Oct 13, 2020 3:16:06 PM

Florida just filled up.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 10, 2020 3:29:35 PM

@anon | Oct 1, 2020 - Here's a non-exhaustive list of pros and cons of posting on SSRN:

1) Exposure - people will read your paper and can access it. You might even get some citations before submitting that way.
2) Proof that you were the first - if someone posts after you a similar argument, you can prove you did it first.
3) Traction - if your paper does well (e.g. downloaded a lot) you can mention in the cover letter. Student editors might interpret that as a positive signal.
4) 99% of journals don't have any problem with posting on SSRN prior to submission.

1) Someone might steal your idea after reading your paper and refuse to cite you.
2) 1% of journals does make problems and sees this as "a publication". Honestly, that is nonsense. But if you are super-interested in a specific journal that does this, that is a con.

In my view, the pros far outweight the cons. I hence post all my papers on SSRN and also update them over time if I make changes prior to publication.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Oct 2, 2020 4:44:07 AM

This is probably answered somewhere, but is it a good idea or bad idea to post your articles to SSRN before sending them out to journals? I can see good reasons (e.g., many downloads make the piece attractive) and bad reasons (e.g., few downloads make it look bad). Thoughts?

Posted by: anon | Oct 1, 2020 10:20:16 PM


Feb. is going to be extremely competitive.

But your article may do better.

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Oct 1, 2020 9:09:17 PM

PostDocGuy, thanks so much for the helpful insights. I have no urgent need to publish. It's more a question whether I take the first offer, on the first and only submission, from a school ranked between 40 and 50, or wait until February, betting that this is a solid article that could land an offer in the top 30. Tae the bird in the hand, or gamble on a truly outstanding potential placement? Does that sharpen the issue for you?

I also suspect, with nothing to buttress this, that February will be less competitive, and that the articles re-submitted after rejection are less likely to be as good (unless journals never got around to reading them, or filled up before looking at these quite strong submissions, but that is a sweeping supposition ). Again, much appreciated.

Posted by: nonya | Oct 1, 2020 10:52:05 AM

@nonya - that is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on your specific situation. Are you on the market? do you need a publication urgently? which other publications do you have? and so on. Otherswise, the general impression I am getting from my peers is that this cycle has been extremely competitive.
If committees realize this, they might say "well, this person did well even in this competitive cycle, so that's a good thing". The main question is what happens next cycle. My guess: it will only get more competitive, because all the papers that weren't placed will be resubmitted plus many new ones. Generally as our profession fills up, it will be come borderline impossible to publish in the top journals. This is what happens, for instance, in economics: there are 5 top journals and very few people get in. Hope this is useful.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Oct 1, 2020 7:57:31 AM

Dilemma: should I accept a top 50 offer now, before submitting in the February cycle (article not yet submitted elsewhere), or gamble that the article is good enough to do better in February? Submission angsting for sure! Help and insights much appreciated.

Posted by: nonya | Sep 30, 2020 4:02:37 PM

Virginia is full.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 30, 2020 1:07:01 PM

@SSRN - just write them an email. This usually gets the job done.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 28, 2020 3:42:16 PM

I am on day 12 of waiting for SSRN to approve my pre-print. Is it normal to take this long?

Posted by: SSRN | Sep 28, 2020 12:13:45 PM

PostDocGuy, I think many of those law reviews are closed. Some of them are closed on scholastica, though haven't mass rejected articles. With others, people on the board have shared insider info about certain ones being closed. For instance, Emory is closed on scholastica and someone earlier stated it was closed. I'm also pretty sure that Hastings, UCLA, and Tulane are done reviewing. So I guess the question is really who do we know is actively reviewing rather than who's just silent.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Sep 28, 2020 10:49:30 AM

@Axel Foley - I don't know, but here's a partial list of who I'm waiting for (some of these never even appeared on the spreadsheet):

Flagships - American University, Arkansas, Arizona State, Boston College, Emory, Florida, George Mason, Hastings, Lewis&Clark, Miami, Maryland, Pepperdine, Penn State, South Carolina, Tulane, Virginia, Wake Forest)

Specialty - Yale L. & Pol'y, J. Corporation L., Fordham IPLJ, Stan. Tech., Yale JOLT, American Crim. L. Rev.

There are some other ones who gave a decision on one of my submissions, but not others (Berkeley Tech., UCLA) so I have no clue what goes on there.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 28, 2020 10:11:25 AM

Do we have any idea of which top 40 or 50 law reviews are still reviewing articles? I would think that the late openers like Wisconsin and Florida are still reading articles, but do we know of any others?

Posted by: Axel Foley | Sep 28, 2020 9:56:06 AM

Anyone not get the NYU e-mail that they were full? Would like to kill any false hope that I'm still in play there...

Posted by: anon | Sep 24, 2020 2:22:36 PM

Has anyone heard from George Mason? They were the last ones to open, so realistically there is still a chance that they are not done yet

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 22, 2020 9:04:51 AM

Dear Harvard enthusiasts: I am sorry to burst your bubble, but the probability that any of you will receive an offer from HLR in late September is lower than the risk of dying from COVID-19.

Posted by: anon | Sep 22, 2020 6:15:48 AM

I second the previous question and ask if anyone would care to guess when Harvard will close for submissions for the season?

Posted by: anon | Sep 21, 2020 10:34:13 PM

Anyone hearing from harvard lately? And if so how long is it taking them?

Posted by: jrprof | Sep 21, 2020 6:59:34 PM

Georgetown emailed to say they are full.

Posted by: Magnolia | Sep 18, 2020 12:47:25 PM

@ Sep 17, 2020 3:12:42 PM - The specifically told me that they are full.

Posted by: nachosbelgrande | Sep 18, 2020 12:20:55 PM

@SmoothCriminalAtty - the same thing happened to me twice already.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 17, 2020 5:18:15 PM

Submitted an article to three journals on September 17th. A record for me and unlikely to actually result in any acceptances. I can say I submitted though.

Posted by: Magnolia | Sep 17, 2020 4:34:32 PM

@postdocguy - I emailed several places I had submitted on expressO and hadn't heard back from on expedites, just for the heck of it. Most didn't respond, but one was like, oh, thanks for emailing us, we don't use expresso anymore...

I wanted to reach through the internet and punch them in the face, but instead I just sent them a copy of my article. To their credit, they read and rejected it in a timely manner.

I wonder how many other places we are paying to submit to "don't use" expresso (and/or scholastica), but we'll never know?

Posted by: SmoothCriminalAtty | Sep 17, 2020 3:26:37 PM

@nachosbelgrande, what are you basing your "full" statements on? Nothing reported in the spreadsheet on either S. Cal or GW

Posted by: Anon | Sep 17, 2020 3:12:42 PM

I received an offer from a journal from which I have previously withdrawn my submission. The offer contains detailed suggestions for future revision....

Posted by: Anooooon | Sep 17, 2020 3:06:40 PM

GW is full.

Posted by: nachosbelgrande | Sep 17, 2020 2:54:55 PM

Just got a rejection from the Texas Law Review, which was odd because I did not remember submitting there. Looked closer and saw that it was for an article that I submitted about 18 months ago, which had already been accepted and published elsewhere.

Posted by: Befuddled | Sep 17, 2020 12:09:16 PM

Me: here's my paper
me: I got another offer, please expedite the review.
me: I got a second offer, please expedite.
me: I got a third offer, deadline is tomorrow.
me:are you going to give me an answer before the deadline?
me: I accepted the offer. Please consider the paper withdrawn.
journal (5,985 days later): we receive many outstanding submissions, and frequently we must make the difficult decision to turn down an excellent piece of scholarship.

Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2020 10:41:52 AM

Southern Cal is full.

Posted by: nachosbelgrande | Sep 16, 2020 6:11:55 PM

Chicago is full

Posted by: Anon | Sep 15, 2020 10:15:36 PM

@anon | Sep 15, 2020 9:43:28 AM:
Thanks. I thought about that but it's strange: why are the t20 more responsive? Shouldn't it be the other way around? The lower ranked journals face a strong competition so that you would expect them to be fast and communicative

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 15, 2020 2:24:31 PM

Columbia (Articles) just closed on Scholastica. Guessing they are close to full (if not already).

Posted by: anon | Sep 15, 2020 12:04:54 PM

@PostDocGuy: I think your observation is correct but the conclusion is wrong. You will surely hear less from ExpressO journals, but this is not because Scholastica serves as a screening mechanism or because ExpressO submissions are ignored. It is much simpler. Top-20 flagship journals have always responded. Top-50 - a little less (with journals like USC and Emory known for being consistently rude). Below that, you will rarely hear from journals unless they extend publication offers. Because you use Scholastica to submit to top-60 - 70 flagship journals and ExpressO for all the rest, you get more responses to Scholastica submissions.

Posted by: anon | Sep 15, 2020 9:43:28 AM

I wanted to share some thoughts about ExpressO, and was wondering if I'm the only one who feels this way. In addition to the newest problem (that they now basically exclude practitioners and oversea profs from submitting, because only those affiliated with "registered institutions" can submit), my sense is that something isn't working well there, in the sense that most journals just don't bother responding to ExpressO submissions. The response rate in Scholastica, from my experience, is about 10 times higher. Is this because journals have started using Scholastica as a sort of screening device? i.e. those who spend less money by submitting via ExpressO are viewed disfavorably for some reason?

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 15, 2020 8:53:43 AM

Guess I have to start thinking of a different title for my spring cycle re-submission.

Posted by: wheredidpeoplego? | Sep 14, 2020 1:27:59 PM

Not to beleaguer the discussion on secondary journals, but anyone have thoughts on/experience with the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender? Any idea how it compares reputation-wise with other journals in the area, outside of what the rankings say? Are they easy to work with?

Posted by: newprof | Sep 13, 2020 8:42:40 PM

"You claimed in a post below 'And I remember from law school, the administration cared so much about the flagship and let the specialties yolo.'
Really? Law schools do not care about their corporate law or international law journals, they only care about their standard law reviews - that is your claim?
What decade did you go to law school?
Which school did you attend?"

I am not Axel Foley, but his/her comments jibe with my own impressions. I attended law school within this decade (HYS) and was substantially involved on both the school's flagship and a well-respected specialty journal at the school. There was no comparison in the resources that the school institutionally put into the two journals. There was also no comparison in the structural set up of these two journals; the flagship had significantly more committed students and significantly greater accountability structures. I'd like to think that my specialty journal still managed to do a great job, but there's no doubt that these differences existed in a big way.

I'm not an advisor for any of my current institution's journals, so I can only speak from a second- or third-hand perspective there, but my sense is that things work similarly at my current school. I've spent some time at other institutions in various capacities as well, and my sense from that is that it's pretty common for flagship journals to be favored in one or more meaningful way.

Posted by: anon3 | Sep 13, 2020 12:15:06 PM

Really?, of course my experiences are anecdotal. I'm not saying that all schools don't care about their secondaries, but they almost all pay more attention and demand a higher standard from the flagships--relatively so. And even if administrations take a more hands off approach to specialties, that's not to say that the student editors are not dutifully and professionally running them. But in my experience, secondaries and their EICs have a lot more freedom and autonomy to accept articles, execute the publication schedule, etc. I could enumerate my experiences but it is all anecdotal. So take it or leave it.

And for what's worth (probably very little), I went to law school entirely in the last decade (between 2010 to 2019), though I'm not saying which one.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Sep 13, 2020 12:07:55 PM

Message for "AxelFoley",
You claimed in a post below "And I remember from law school, the administration cared so much about the flagship and let the specialties yolo."
Really? Law schools do not care about their corporate law or international law journals, they only care about their standard law reviews - that is your claim?
What decade did you go to law school?
Which school did you attend?

Posted by: Really? | Sep 13, 2020 7:16:48 AM

Does anyone know the status at: Emory, GW, USC, Georgetown, Chicago, or Virginia? Are any of these still reviewing?

Posted by: annoning | Sep 12, 2020 6:13:44 PM


If you're a business law professor, maybe you should mind your own..."business"...when it comes to discussing crim law journals.

Hahahahahahaha. Actually, I'm not mad at all, Axel, and not trying to be rude. I just couldn't let the dad-level pun pass by.

Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Sep 11, 2020 2:41:26 PM

nonono & postdocguy, from what you say, it looks like new crim law review is potentially good, especially if it's peer review. But please also realize that I got the wrong impression of NCLR because I'm a business law prof. Further, most other business law and non-crim profs are likely to have never heard of it. So if your goal is to build your CV among crim law people, this could do the trick. If your goal is to build your reputation across fields, a general law review might do a better job.

To me, this highlights a bigger issue with publishing in specialties: opinions vary wildly. Just look at that insane debate earlier about SJIL. With most flagships, there's a greater level of communal agreement.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Sep 11, 2020 1:34:47 PM

@anon1 -- I'm not sure. I submitted expedite requests a week ago that expired this morning to UVA, Gtown, GW, Vandy, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I heard back from none of them. I was a little surprised as it seemed like Wisconsin was responsive at least to expedites, even if it was a desk rejection.

I assume the journals that have been silent, like UVA, are backed up. The past couple of months have been hellish for everyone. Some students have had job offers pulled from firms or just simply no-offered. Journal leadership is likely trying to preserve moral since most journals have likely had social events banned by the respective university's COVID policy. I would imagine that responding to each and every request from professors is the first thing to go.

I certainly don't take silence personally. Particularly when law professors aren't exactly the most responsive bunch in the first place when it comes to student questions. Perhaps the silence is a teaching moment for students and professors!

Posted by: caffeine | Sep 11, 2020 9:36:53 AM

To postdocguy, I agree with nonono.
Do yourself a favor, ignore 90% plus of the guidance given out. Most posts are laughable "I heard ..." "I was told..."
Following the "free" suggestions on this forum is very risky.

Posted by: Topostdocguy | Sep 11, 2020 7:45:47 AM

@nonono- many thanks, that makes sense and fits well with my impression of the journal.

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 11, 2020 3:06:13 AM


NCLR is a good placement in the crim community! Any school making crim hires will have a crim person on the hiring committee who knows it. Just look at the people publishing there. It's an impressive list. It's got a more crim theory lean than some crim specialty journals (especially student-run journals), and as a result puts out work by more comparativists and scholars from other countries. But you'd still recognize a lot of the names publishing there in just the last year:


I'm not sure what axel is talking about it being a UCI student-edited speciality. It's a peer-reviewed quarterly journal published by UC Press. I'm not saying you should always take it over a t-50 placement when you're going on the entry level market, but the notion that it should not be "ranked," whatever that actually means, is just totally absurd.

Posted by: nonono | Sep 11, 2020 1:27:49 AM

Thanks, Axel!

Posted by: Perplexed | Sep 10, 2020 5:41:09 PM

Does anyone know what's happening with UVA? Seems like no notifications have been going out from them--either for acceptances or rejections. Have they filled their volume?

Posted by: anon1 | Sep 10, 2020 2:12:30 PM

Like a non said, if you're conflicted, tie goes to the flagship. One major reason is that publishing with a flagship is typically a much more pleasant experience. Administrations oversee flagships to a much greater extent and demand a much greater level of professionalism relative to secondaries. For nearly every colleague who's described a nightmare publishing experience, it was with a specialty--me included. And I remember from law school, the administration cared so much about the flagship and let the specialties yolo.

postdocguy, never heard of it. I doubt many others have heard of it. From a quick google search, it appears like it's a specialty from UC Irvine. I wouldn't even rank the New Crim Law Review. It might carry some currency within the crim law community, but it certainly has no reputation or currency out of the crim law world. In other words, take the flagship.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Sep 10, 2020 12:19:11 PM

How would you rank the "New Criminal Law Review" compared to, say, a t70 flagship? the NCLR seems to be highly regarded (notwithstanding the low ranking on W&L) but I'm not quite sure what to compare it to..

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Sep 10, 2020 11:53:27 AM

@perplexed -

I don't think you can reduce things so easily. For some, Hastings will be viewed as a T40 journal. For others, it'll be viewed as a T60 journal. There will be higher variability with Hastings than there will be with a lot of other journals in its current or former rankings range -- and there are real advantages and disadvantages that come with that.

All of that said, for hiring committee purposes, assuming you don't need to amplify your business bona fides and that they will shine through on your CV/FAR form regardless, I'd go with Hastings over Harvard or Stanford's business journals. As you can see on these boards, there's a real split in the academy as to how specialty journals are evaluated. Some here really like specialty journals. Everyone, though, recognizes the value of top flagship publications. I would generally err slightly in favor of publishing in a flagship for hiring purposes -- and that pushes Hastings over the edge for me. This is all less true if your CV doesn't already have fancy names on it (for law school, for clerkship, for PhDs, or for fellowships), but it's more true if you've previously only published in specialty journals.

Posted by: a non | Sep 10, 2020 10:38:34 AM


Thanks! So I am guessing you would take the specialty journal placement?

On the low...I was hoping that the peer-reviewed element of Hasting and its higher position in the peer rankings would push it in the T40s...Guess no.

Posted by: perplexed | Sep 10, 2020 10:24:22 AM

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