You just completed your latest legal scholarship article and you’re ready to have it published in a noteworthy law review. Now the question is— which law reviews would be the best fit, and how can you maximize your chances of being accepted by one of your top choices?
Even for the most seasoned legal scholars, submissions can be daunting. There’s a lot to think about when managing submissions to multiple law reviews— from deciding which journals to target, to tracking which law reviews have made a decision on your article, to knowing when to make expedite requests. In this post, we’re sharing some submissions pro-tips that you can use to improve your chances of publication and save precious time. So, before you rush to hit the submit button, make sure you’re taking these steps!
In order to increase your chances of article placement, aim to submit to multiple relevant law reviews at times when you know that they are likely to begin or are in the process of reviewing articles. There is no hard science behind when to submit to law reviews. However, our historical submission season data does point to two peak times:
- August through October
- February through April
Between these months we’ve historically seen the majority of submissions received and the majority of decisions made. Submitting within one of these peak timeframes may help your chances of publication because a high percentage of journals are actively reviewing articles.
That being said, we’ve found that law reviews open and close throughout the entire year depending on where they are in their editorial cycle. So if you have an article ready and it’s not a peak submission time, don’t despair! Instead, check the “For Authors” pages of the law reviews you’re interested in. You may find that they’re still reviewing articles. If it’s unclear from their website, you can always reach out to the editors to ask by clicking “contact by email” on the journal’s Scholastica profile.
Be sure to also follow updates on The Conversation. Many law reviews post when they are in need of more articles to fill their volume or when they’re soliciting submissions on a particular topic for an upcoming symposium or special issue.
This may go without saying, but before you start pulling the trigger and submitting to law reviews you should take some time to come up with a submissions strategy. Start by determining the top 3 to 5 journals that you think will offer you the best professional advantages and be an ideal fit for your article. This will give you greater focus in your submissions efforts.
When making your target law reviews list, think about your article placement goals from all angles. Your primary focus may be getting placed in a journal that will stand out in your tenure application or it may be getting placed in a journal that will give your article the most visibility and engagement possible — depending on the nature of your article these two goals may not be mutually exclusive. Once you have a top group of journals you’re aiming for you can start looking for additional journals to submit to that would also be relevant alternatives.
Remember to use all of the resources available to you when researching law reviews. In addition to searching on Google, you can get a higher-level view of your options by searching for journals via the Scholastica submissions page. Here you can search for law reviews by title and also sort them by subject area. As you find journals you’re interested in you can select them so they’re saved in your Scholastica account. Then, once you’ve made any final updates or additions to your list, you can submit to all the law reviews you’ve selected at the same time via our group submission feature.
Once you have your submission strategy you’ll likely be itching to get your article out. But before you pull the trigger, be sure to give it a thorough final review.
Overall, make sure that your submission is clean without any typos or grammatical errors. Look at the guidelines of each of the law reviews you’re submitting to and check for any requirements specific to the journal. Most journals will have similar expectations, but it’s important to always check. Additionally, be sure to review your citations! Law review editors are hyper-vigilant of citations and will flag areas of your article that they think require additional references or any references that appear incomplete. So make sure all of your legal assertions have citations and that you don’t have any missing citations details. In an interview a former chief articles editor at UCLA Law Review, Franco Muzzio, said that missing citations information can result in rejection, even for the most promising submissions. “We’ll get some articles that will just say ‘add citation, add citation’ throughout,” he said. “Sometimes they’re really novel and interesting, but we get the impression from those articles that the authors are going to be difficult to work with […] so we don’t end up offering them publication.”
Beyond the above submissions technicalities, take some time to review your submission from the perspective of someone unfamiliar with your article. Specifically, focus on the title, abstract, and introduction. These are the first things editors will look at so you want to be sure they’re attention-grabbing and that they quickly and succinctly communicate the arguments of your paper.
Throughout the submission process, you may have questions for law review editors or need to reach out with an updated file. This is totally normal and editors will expect it. In this case, just be sure that you are using each law reviews preferred communication method. For law reviews using Scholastica that’s easy— use the Discussions feature. Discussions are stored next to the manuscript they’re about in our system making it easier for editors to quickly know which submission you’re inquiring about. If the law review is not using Scholastica, check their website to see what communication instructions they have listed.
When working with law reviews that use Scholastica, be sure to also make all of your decision responses and expedite requests via the system. The benefits of this are twofold: first your communication will be more likely to be seen, and second, you’ll be making editors’ lives easier by helping them keep all of their law review work in one place.
Remember that you can also save time by communicating with law reviews in bulk via Scholastica. You have the option to send Discussion messages, decision responses, or expedite requests to multiple journals at once as explained in the “Communicating” section of the Law Author Guide.
Speaking of expedite requests, it’s important to know when it’s worth submitting one and when to hold back. First, for a quick overview, expedite requests are when you alert one or more of your preferred law reviews that your article has received an offer from another law reviews and that you need all article decisions before your response to that offer is due.
Expedite requests can help to push your article higher up the submissions pile at some journals, but it’s important to use them strategically. If you’re going for a top journal make sure you wait to submit an expedite to them until you have an offer from a similarly ranked publication. Also, when making expedites be sure that you actually have an offer on the table. Don’t make any assumptions based on your article going to full board review. While a strong indicator that your article may be accepted, full board review is not a guarantee of acceptance so most law reviews will not grant expedites in this situation and may be put off by such requests.
Finally, be sure to take advantage of the submissions resources at your disposal! We’ve developed some great free guides and tools for law authors.
Be sure to check out The Scholastica Law Review Submissions Center. Here you’ll have access to:
- An automatically updating table of open and closed law reviews
- Submission pro tips
- Law review submission data insights
Also, remember to follow #LRSubmissions on Twitter for law review opening alerts and submissions updates and tips.
Finally, you’ll find answers to any Scholastica-specific questions in our handy Law Author Guide. And, if there’s anything you’re unsure of, just reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help!