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Friday, January 29, 2021

Submission Angsting Spring 2021

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.)

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on January 29, 2021 at 11:48 AM in Law Review Review | Permalink


Angsting Prof,

Seriously? Placements signals that, in a competitive submission cycle, law students working on [insert name of journal] picked your piece from the thousands of submissions. Anyone can write anything and upload it to SSRN.

Posted by: AnonProf | Mar 30, 2021 3:40:51 PM

Let me suggest a more radical question: In the age of SSRN, what value does law review publication even add? For other academic journals, the answer is obvious: peer review.

Without that, law reviews provide . . . what? Properly bluebooked citations? (Another enormous waste of time and human capital).

When journal publication was a prerequisite for making a paper widely available the law review system served a purpose. Alfred North Whitehead famously said that the university had been obsolete since the invention of the printing press. That was wildly hyperbolic, but has the law review been obsolete since the invention of the Internet?

Posted by: Angsting Prof | Mar 30, 2021 3:30:22 PM

JuniorAnon and other juniors...no one cares enough to resolve the disgraceful problem undermining global admiration for student-edited US law journal publications (I am not referring to the US peer-reviewed journals which have a high standing). The problem of expediting and therefore preventing most submissions from being read is appalling. Excellent scholarship is ignored (unread) because the journals fill their spaces by reading expedites. Thus, academic positions are not always filled by merit but - unfortunately - by gamesmanship and strategic timing. If you want your paper read and given a chance you must (most of the time) use the lower ranked journals to get an offer and move up. The higher ranked law journals are quite pleased with this system as articles are allegedly "screened" by students at journals that could not "get in" to the top schools. T14 schools making offers based on offers made by T50 or T75 students...what a joke of a system. And a total waste of time for the "lower ranked" journals. Meanwhile as offers are pending there is a traffic jam until the offer is undoubtedly withdrawn and the lower ranked journal must start the process. It is truly clownish. Personally, I do not engage in this chicanery but I'm in a position that I can skip a cycle or year and wait. while it is a very unethical and bad system, it is not new and nothing will change - the journals turn over every year and there is simply not enough interest to change the existing structure.
The only "out" is to stop the expedite process which is a huge waste of time and resources. Only if the lower ranked journals will not afford the opportunity to expedite and higher ranked ones do not read expedites first will the system change. I have attended enough international conferences (pre covid19) to hear how the US law journal placements are widey viewed not as a proxy for quality and more of a lottery. Truthfully, the Europeans are right - I cannot defend the US law review placement system.
I will leave on a positive note - Risch is spot on - dont be too down on yourselves, I also have had great citation success with journals I accepted from that were - gasp - not T50. Your reputation will be built on your record of scholarship and citations. I know its hard to understand and yes landing the prestigious journals will make it easier but its just a longer road. Do not give up.

Posted by: root of problem | Mar 30, 2021 2:59:53 PM

Considering a few lurking editors have again come forward and in light of the UVA rejection email (after I withdrew) admitting they couldn't get to all articles, I'd like to say something here.

If any T10-20 editors are reading this thread, then I'd like to point out that it's especially damaging when your journals are unable to read all submitted scholarship before getting full in a cycle. A placement in your journals can make careers for junior scholars and young scholars who will be going on the job market. You wield an immense power over the lives and futures of young academics.

I know this cycle was difficult for many reasons and you're all doing as good of a job as you can given the circumstances. I have lots of sympathy for your positions right now. Moving forward, I just ask you to please try to ensure you have enough editors staffed and/or an internal decision procedure to make sure you can review all articles submitted, and especially those by junior scholars.

I am writing this as a relatively secure junior who has found my publishing footing, but I'm not so far away from the job market to remember the power you held over my career aspirations.

Posted by: JuniorAnon | Mar 30, 2021 1:46:57 PM

I wish journal leadership had the same type of shared chart. It seems an odd coincidence how many authors have "internet troubles" the day a response is due. And I'd love to share how many authors are only playing the expedite game. The process is exhausting for us, too.

I will say -- law journals would happily get on board with fee-waivers to resubmit if articles do not get reviewed. Each year my journal gets thousands of articles, and it's impossible to give each the time it deserves. $6.50 is too high.

Posted by: Outgoing EIC | Mar 30, 2021 12:57:24 PM

Virginia is full. Got a we didn't read it email.

Nonny I submitted to UCLA at the beginning of February and have heard nothing from them.

Posted by: Angsting Prof | Mar 30, 2021 12:32:04 PM

Pre-tenure prof here feeling pretty demoralized by 40 rejections and no indications of interest since submitting in early February an article that senior colleagues in my field have told me they think is very good. Two entries in the spreadsheet say that UCLA sent a "full" response to an expedite request, but I don't see other "full" entries for UCLA, and I haven't received a rejection. Anyone have observations about this? Thank you, fellow angsters.

Posted by: nonny | Mar 30, 2021 12:03:16 PM

For you angsting junior profs out there, let me add: 2 of my top 3 cited articles were published in Seton Hall and in the Marquette IP L. Rev. For each of them, it was the only offer I received. If your work is useful, it will be read and cited.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Mar 30, 2021 11:21:51 AM

honest q -

A good point. I was responding to Aello, but it occurred to me as I was writing that it might be taken that way. So, I'll expand, because I did not submit anywhere that I wouldn't be willing to publish - I'll accept any offer I get.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Mar 30, 2021 11:12:24 AM

Honestly curious: if you don't "hav[e] the angst of having to impress [your] colleagues with a placement," then why are you only talking to T50 AEs? If you extended your submission range and your promise to accept to, say, the T150, I'm sure you'd have your offer within two days.

Posted by: honest q | Mar 30, 2021 9:50:56 AM

Maybe I'm just too forward, but I don't know why senior folks are staying anonymous and just kvetching. Perhaps you don't want to look desperate, but one of the joys of tenure is not having the angst of having to impress my colleagues with a placement. Like angsting prof, I also have a really good historical article based on novel archival research. It took my co-author and me more than two years to research it.

Aello or any other T50 AE reading - if you accept my article for publication, I'll accept your offer without expediting. I suppose that's one way to rebel against the system and save you more headaches. I wonder if putting that into cover letters would make a difference in the future; maybe I'll try an experiment next time.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Mar 29, 2021 11:33:54 PM

T50 AE lurker here, posting to agree with SoundsofSilence -- we're drowning in submissions and losing offer after offer to higher-ranked journals.

The cycle is far from over. Please, for the sake of our sanity, withdraw your articles as soon as you get an offer you'd rather accept!

Posted by: Aello | Mar 29, 2021 5:59:44 PM

I'm in the same boat as angsting prof, and hopeful we will also have JuniorAnon's experience but can't feel badly for myself knowing the consequences are infinitely greater for those trying to get a foot in the door.

I have to think at some point the journals below T50 will rebel against this system as it currently operates. It seems increasingly the case that the odds of succeeding increase dramatically by submitting way below where you expect to end up, because very little that's not on expedite gets read, and accordingly that increasingly authors are submitting to places where they would never accept an offer (which is highly unethical). So these T50-130 journals are killing themselves reviewing submissions yet getting little payoff until the T50 fill up. And being used by unscrupulous authors in the process; they are devoting countless hours that they could be spending on other articles or on their classes, for authors who know they would never let those journals publish their paper. Ideally, perhaps, the T25 would read everything first, make their choices, and then close, and only then would lower journals open up. Obviously that would stretch the season, but I don't think all journals must be on the same schedule. The T25 could open as soon as fall exams are done, and enjoy their spring break instead of their winter break. Some journals could have their main season in the summer (which some might this year anyway). AEs: hold a convention and sort out this mess!

Posted by: SoundsOfSilence | Mar 29, 2021 5:20:47 PM

I'd take Am J Int'l L over any T100 and even T50 potentially. It's extremely hard to place in and it's peer reviewed. Congrats!

Posted by: AnonTT | Mar 29, 2021 4:44:35 PM

Do any of you take these specialty journals that rank well on W&L (for example, American Journal of International Law at #52, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law at #83) over T100 flagships that rank lower than that on W&L?

Posted by: ranking out | Mar 29, 2021 4:34:04 PM

Angsting Prof, I'm also someone who typically publishes well, blah, blah, blah and was having your exact cycle until I got a good offer out of the blue with no notice maybe a week or so ago.

I'm noticing a lot of my rejections are explicitly telling me they didn't get to consider the piece and asking me to resubmit it in August. One journal even apologized to me that they didn't get to my article! That was new. I really think this cycle has been different due to the high number of submissions and I wouldn't take it personally if a good article fails to place this cycle.

Similarly to you, I feel for those who are not yet on the tenure track. Fellows, postdocs, and others are going to have to tough time signaling if they can't accurately place to demonstrate the quality of their job market papers. I think those of us on Entry Level Hiring Committees for the next 1-3 years will need to spend more time on competitive applicants to better screen since we can't use journal placement proxies as easily, but I'm not sure everyone will be as contentious.

Posted by: JuniorAnon | Mar 29, 2021 4:18:08 PM

This is a message for people who are trying to get a tenure track job, or junior people in one trying to make sure they get tenure.

This weekend I reviewed the 19,000-word article I submitted very widely nearly two months ago (50 journals initially; now up to 80 total submissions).

It's just possible that I may not be the most objective evaluator, but that said, it's a great article. It's a piece of original historical research, based on obscure archival sources, that reveals a major scandal about an extremely prominent historical figure. Furthermore, the scandal is very relevant to certain current political and legal debates.

Plus I'm like a really good and interesting and funny writer if I say so myself and I do. I'm very well published and cited blah blah blah.

OK that wasn't very self-effacing now was it? But the point here is that I've gotten ZERO interest for this submission. I'm up to about 30 rejections -- starting to get a couple a day again after a couple of weeks of silence -- and no indications of interest from anyone. And again this was widely submitted.

I can barely imagine how devastating this would be if I were trying to go on the market, or was junior and had serious anxieties about getting tenure. As it stands I can afford to laugh about it, and I do -- the fact that a bunch of 2Ls buried by 10,000 submissions have failed to perceive the virtues of my submission is more sociologically interesting to me than anything else, although it's still annoying.

But I can afford this attitude, metaphorically and literally. Lots and lots of people are in positions where they don't have that luxury, and no doubt there are many other genuinely terrific articles out there that aren't getting picked up because the system is broken and terrible. If you wrote one of them, keep in mind that it's not you, it's them, as difficult as it may be to keep the faith sometimes.

Or maybe my article actually sucks and yours does too and everything is for the best in this the best of all possible submission systems.

But I doubt it!

Posted by: Angsting Prof | Mar 29, 2021 2:52:31 PM

My school doesn't pay for my Scholastica. I spent a lot of money on this website, which put a financial burden on me. $6.5 is too expensive!!

Posted by: Anon | Mar 29, 2021 2:51:33 PM

NewlyTT, it's wise to ignore short term fluctuations, but it's really hard to do so (because obviously X is on the rise (or decline)). I always reference this: https://7sage.com/top-law-school-rankings/. It really demonstrates how schools tend to revert back to where they average. That said, I've heard some pretty strong rumors that the newest rankings will REALLY shake things up.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Mar 29, 2021 2:34:41 PM

what is with the scholarshift or scholarsite site that I get twitter ads for? are law reviews going to shift to that?

I find it outrageous to pay $6.50 when the journal admits they didn't even read the article and tell to resubmit. journal editors could solve. the issue by waiving a new submission fee in the fall. problem is no one is organized to complain to scholastica. Most of us are not faculty members at rich schools; if they don't even look at the article we should get our money back (it is still ridiculous to charge $6.5 per submission and I fear the price will increase if no competition next year). That is why I am wondering about this new site

Posted by: anon | Mar 29, 2021 2:02:15 PM

How do you account for schools on the move when picking a journal? For instance, Florida and Pepperdine have been doing great in recent years while Hastings and Cardozo continue to fall. No one is going to remember (or bother to look up) where a school was in a given year, so isn't it smarter to discount current placement and go with the school with the more promising trajectory?

Posted by: Newly TT (previously Aspiring) | Mar 29, 2021 1:52:48 PM

anon: Not doubting you are correct. Just wondering how you determined what subject matters editors wanted?

Posted by: SoundsOfSilence | Mar 28, 2021 9:27:25 PM

It was a tough cycle for business, market, and related topics except antitrust. Seems editors were mostly looking for con law, admin law, crim law, and the more stereotypically public topics.

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2021 9:11:19 PM

Re: offers on your expedite deadline. Most of the top law reviews conduct board reads on a certain day of the week, so they won't typically hold a special vote for you without asking you to seek an extension first. And if a law review is holding its vote on the day of your deadline, they will frequently notify you of the vote so that you don't do anything rash like accept your offer prematurely. In either situation, you're made aware of the vote. Exceptions do absolutely occur: this cycle, I received an offer on the day of my deadline from a top 40 law reviews listed below without any heads up. It was an awesome surprise.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Mar 28, 2021 7:25:20 PM

anon: Nope. I submitted to a half dozen of those you listed.

Not a single decision posted on the spreadsheet so far today...

Posted by: SoundsOfSilence | Mar 28, 2021 7:01:22 PM

My current offer will expire tomorrow afternoon. I am wondering when I can suppose that the rest silent journals ignore my expedited review requests and rejected me without notice. That is to say, when will I accept my current offer. Tonight, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon? I heard journals rarely give offers on the last day.

Posted by: New | Mar 28, 2021 6:09:34 PM

Anon (12:41:05), I can only speak to the main line journals you've listed, but they've all been radio silent for me as well (and a few of them, like Emory, are almost always radio silent).

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2021 3:17:01 PM

Online Curious - I know of someone who submitted a full length article under 20k this cycle and a law review's online companion at a T14 school gave it an offer even though that person never submitted it to them. The author declined the offer and ended up placing it in a T30 journal later in the cycle. I'd go with the print if it feels like an article and less of an essay (although I get the line between those is really blurred today).

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2021 2:35:21 PM

JJ, I heard from Michigan, Stanford, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio State, and Virginia. Nothing from Berkeley/Harvard/Yale.

Posted by: AnonTT | Mar 28, 2021 2:26:30 PM

Are the tech law journals still reviewing? Haven’t heard from any of the top tech journals except Stanford...

Posted by: JJ | Mar 28, 2021 1:54:28 PM

LongGame -

I guess those journals are picking the wrong authors! But your message gives me hope, and I hope it gives frustrated AEs hope. I'd love to hear from one of those journals. I've got two in submission, from Jan 31 and Feb 18 and it's been crickets. I've never had this long radio silence before. I've published at the first journal to accept my article like 80% of the time, usually because I only expedite well above the range of any existing offers.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Mar 28, 2021 12:41:29 PM

I am wondering did anyone heard feedback from the following journals? Berkeley Business Law Journal
University of Cincinnati Law Review
Yale Journal of International Law
William & Mary Business Law Review
The Chicago Journal of International Law
Rutgers University Law Review
The Virginia Law & Business Review
St. John’s Law Review
Case Western Reserve Law Review
Maryland Law Review
Seton Hall Law Review
Wake Forest Law Review
Ohio State Law Journal
Emory Law Journal
Washington and Lee Law Review
Penn State Law Review
Stanford Journal of International Law
Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business
Loyola University Chicago Law Journal

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2021 12:41:05 PM

I would definitely take a T60-75 print general journal over a T14 online companion--any day of the week. I am surprised anyone would need to ask that question, quite frankly.

Posted by: AnonProf | Mar 28, 2021 11:29:59 AM

I don't think online companions are yet established as publishing meaningful scholarship, but maybe I'm projecting from my senior prof perspective. As someone who could be reviewing CVs of appointments or tenure applicants, I would not treat an online-only publication as a real article, but rather more like a solicited symposium piece (despite its not having been solicited). And, on the other hand, having witnessed the corruption of the article placement process in recent years, I no longer assume an article placed in a T10 flagship is better than an article placed in the T40 to 50 flagship range, or that an article placed in a T30 flagship is better than an article placed in the 60-75 flagship range.

Posted by: 60isTheNew40 | Mar 28, 2021 9:40:04 AM

Someone asked a question below, and it didn't get any replies, but it now is pertinent to my colleague's situation, so I thought I might bump it up. She had an offer from a T100 flagship journal (in the T60-T75 range), and she recently received an offer from a T14 online companion journal (it's not HYS). Note that she had submitted the full article (22,000+ words) to the flagship and a dramatically shortened version (sub 9,000 words) to the online companion.

Is this a close call at all? Would any of you go T14 online companion over T100 flagship?

Posted by: online curious | Mar 27, 2021 5:11:17 PM

Judging from the spreadsheet, there are a LOT of journals, esp. below T40 and specialties, that have issued no decisions in weeks, or no decisions at all yet, though ostensibly open and not indicating or likely to be full. Might some have become exasperated by the expedite game and suspended activity until the upper tier-journals fill, or given up entirely for this season? I know one AE expressed great frustration a couple of weeks ago, after their journal had reviewed hundreds and made a dozen offers but not landed a single article yet.

Posted by: LongGame? | Mar 27, 2021 2:41:30 PM

@ICHTY Thank you so much for your detailed guidance!

Posted by: Z | Mar 27, 2021 12:58:21 PM

@Z: You withdraw either (1) when you have an offer and you know that you will take it over other journals where your article is pending review; or (2) when you accept an offer. The first reason might get a little tricky (if, for instance, you have an offer from one journal and you want more time for expedites, you might wait to see if a peer journal makes an offer before your deadline expires so that you have more time to expedite -- I think people take different approaches to that problem).

Posted by: ICHTY | Mar 26, 2021 11:46:01 PM

I am wondering what is the difference between withdrawing and decline the offers you receive later. When you need to withdraw?

Posted by: Z | Mar 26, 2021 10:54:14 PM

I would agree with Newish TT Prof -- (1) Hastings; (2) Maryland; (3) Columbia Business. Pretty straightforward, and historically Hastings was much higher ranked and the journal punches above it's weight.

Posted by: Anon2 | Mar 26, 2021 1:32:29 AM

I think I would go (1) Hastings; (2) Maryland; (3) Columbia Business. Hastings now has faculty review. Congrats!

Posted by: Newish TT Prof | Mar 25, 2021 9:50:01 PM

How would you rank: Maryland, Hastings, Columbia Business?

Posted by: drk | Mar 25, 2021 5:47:01 PM

How should one weigh the offer of a lower-ranked (say, USN 110) print flagship against that of a higher-ranked (say, USN 50) flagship's online supplement?

Posted by: AnonC | Mar 25, 2021 5:18:56 PM

I am wondering what is the difference between withdrawing and decline the offers you receive later. When you need to withdraw?

Posted by: Z | Mar 25, 2021 3:57:31 PM

anon, SLR is on a submissions review break from March 9th until tomorrow. I would expect a wave of rejections (and possibly a few acceptances) in the next week or two.

Posted by: JuniorAnon | Mar 25, 2021 1:36:52 PM

I suspect Stanford has already rejected many pieces without notifying. They only let people know when there's an expedite. Obviously, not considerate if true.

Posted by: anon | Mar 25, 2021 1:25:15 PM

FWIW, I submitted only to the T40 (in waves starting in early February) this season. I got 2 notices of board read, 3 communications from journals that implied board read. 2 of the total 5 resulted in offers (1 from each category, express and implied). And I got 3 additional offers completely out of the blue. I withdrew from journal I hadn't heard from as soon as I knew I wouldn't take an offer from them and declined offers as soon as I knew I wouldn't take them. I ended up happily placing in a T20 journal after about 7 weeks. This is one of my best placements but also one of my longest and most stressful cycles. I usually submit later, so I wonder if that explains both the good outcome and the more difficult process.

Posted by: board reads | Mar 25, 2021 11:01:52 AM

Dilemma, I'd definitely take BYU. But I've also regretted my chocies.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Mar 25, 2021 10:01:56 AM

NoGoodNews, FWIW, I definitely know of non-expedite offers in the top 40 this week. Also keep in mind that an offer on the spreadsheet listed as an exited didn't necessarily require the expedite. For instance, I've received notices of board votes and then received an offer out of the blue from a different journal. So when I later get an offer from one of the initial board vote notices, I'll list the acceptance as an expedite even though the article was going to a final vote anyway. So I think the spreadsheet can over embellish the necessity of an expedite. In March at least, I think expedites are less necessary but much more necessary during the height of the season.

Posted by: Axel Foley | Mar 25, 2021 9:33:18 AM

@Dilemma it doesn't matter, as long as you release the other two for the rest of us ;-) But in all seriousness, I would go with either BYU or Hastings (where the dilemma is that BYU is ranked higher in this year's USN but slightly lower in the last 10 year's average compared to Hastings).

Posted by: PostDocGuy | Mar 25, 2021 9:33:02 AM

Hastings LR Vs. BYU LR Vs. American U LR? which one is best?

Posted by: Dilemma | Mar 25, 2021 9:25:36 AM

I've had a few publication agreements with word count provisions like that over the last few years. I too wondered whether it was a trend. Although the agreement I signed this year didn't have such a provision, so maybe what I sensed was a trend was mere coincidence.

Posted by: word counts | Mar 25, 2021 8:47:12 AM

Woo hoo, I got an actual rejection from USC! Isn't this about as rare as an acceptance from the HLR?

Posted by: Angsting Prof | Mar 25, 2021 8:33:33 AM

Axel Foley: Judging from the spreadsheet, there has not been a trend toward more readings without expedite this month. And if you look just at acceptances, it seems there has not been one from a T80 in the past week that was not off an expedite. I cannot in good conscience submit below where I would accept, which might explain why I have received no indication that anyone has read either of my articles submitted in mid-February. Instead I get: "didn't get to you before we filled."

Posted by: NoGoodNews | Mar 24, 2021 9:58:20 PM

Here's something that I have not seen before: a word count cap for the final version based as a percentage (110%) of the word count in the version submitted on Scholastica. I don't have a problem with that; if anything further edits to my piece will make it shorter. Is this a trend, though? Is it because profs do a bait-and-switch with word counts?

Posted by: an | Mar 24, 2021 3:46:14 PM

@anon1 - Yup!

Posted by: review | Mar 24, 2021 1:24:04 PM

@anon1 - Yup!

Posted by: review | Mar 24, 2021 1:24:04 PM

Ack! sorry on the quadruple posting! It didn't seem like my comment was appearing, so I re-tried a few times.

Posted by: Anon1 | Mar 24, 2021 11:13:22 AM

@Review -- Congrats! I think I recall you asking earlier in the comments about how far up you should expedite a T70 offer (or something like that). Did this T30 offer come off that expedite?

Posted by: Anon2 | Mar 24, 2021 11:11:19 AM

@Review -- Congrats! I think I recall you asking earlier in the comments about how far up you should expedite a T70 offer (or something like that). Did this T30 offer come off that expedite?

Posted by: Anon2 | Mar 24, 2021 11:10:22 AM

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