Law review submission season is never without its stressors and struggles. But, despite all of the challenges that can arise throughout the article selection process, there are times when things go remarkably smoothly — when communication flows seamlessly, editors issue speedy article decisions, and authors have the information they need to decide on publication offers. And there is a lot to learn from those success stories, particularly for law review editors looking to improve the experience of authors working with their journals.
At Scholastica, we want to help editors and authors celebrate especially positive law review submission experiences and also highlight the article selection best practices that make them possible. So, this article selection cycle, we’re inviting legal scholars to share submission season success stories about times they worked with law reviews that demonstrated superior editorial practices, such as:
- Expeditious communication of submission status updates
- Efficient handling of expedite requests
- Constructive article revision practices
Now through the 1st of November 2020, we invite authors to share submission success stories, as well as the article selection best practices all law reviews can learn from those positive experiences via this feedback form. Legal scholars submitting success stories have the option to share their identities or remain anonymous.
So what article selection practices do authors value most? And what insights can law review editors glean from noteworthy submission experiences? The responses we’ve gotten so far lend themselves to two themes:
1. Follow-ups and follow-through: If there’s one moral of the story when it comes to successful law review submission experiences, it’s that authors value frequent submission status updates and, above all, final article decisions whether it’s a yes or a no. Each author who’s shared a submission success story thus far has commented on the importance of law reviews making decisions on all submissions they receive, echoing our 2019 author article selection survey when over 90% of authors said that receiving rejection letters was “extremely” or “somewhat” important to them.
“Responding, even if it is a denial, helps us understand where we are in the process,” said Yelena Duterte, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School. Duterte considers any time that a law review sends an accept, reject, or maybe article decision a success. “This gives us as authors a better understanding of where we fall in the process for each journal.”
Duterte added that law reviews can also improve their publication outcomes and the experience of submitting authors by following up on pending publication offers, describing a positive submission experience when “editors reached out to determine whether I was still interested and expressed why they were interested in my article.” In situations like this, by following up on submissions, editors can not only remind authors of their publication offers but also provide further details on the benefits of placing articles on particular topics with their journals.
2. Timely and thoughtful article edits:
Another key to a positive article submission experience that one author noted is when law reviews have constructive article revision processes. The author highlighted their experience working with Columbia Science and Technology Law Review saying that they appreciated that the journal prioritized “rapid response to submission, careful edits, and timely editing.”
Considering the pros of Columbia Science and Technology Law Review’s editorial approach, the author said what stood out most was that they focused on having “respect for author’s word choices, but pressing when there are problems such as ambiguities or redundancies.” This kind of thoughtful approach to revisions can help enhance article submissions without detracting from authors’ stylistic writing choices.
We want to thank the legal scholars who have taken the time to share a law review submission success story thus far! If you have an especially positive submission experience that you’d like to highlight and thoughts on what set the article selection processes of the law review(s) you worked with apart from the rest, there’s still time. You can submit a submission season success story between now and November 1st, 2020 via this feedback form.