Ask an Articles Editor!

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11 Responses

  1. Jake Linford says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for taking on what may be a rush of questions.

    As they say, timing is everything. As best you can recall, when did your law review begin reviewing submissions in the fall and the spring?

    It may have been James Tierney who suggested that U. Chi. L. Rev. was taking submissions throughout the year. Were offers made during the “off-season?” If you can share, what proportion of offers made were for articles submitted spring / fall / off-season?

    As you look back on it now, did an author stand a reasonable chance of getting a good look outside the traditional seasonal flurries of submissions? Did an off-season submission get a better look?



  2. 1L says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks so much for this.

    I’m a rising 1L student at a T14 university. I know I can work hard and hopefully make law review in a few months, but I also may not get that opportunity. Is there an obvious bias against accepting articles/notes from law students at other universities who are not yet finished with their studies?

    Thanks again,


  3. Prof says:

    On the topic of expedites: Some suspect that many law reviews aren’t likely to even read a piece without an expedite request. How true? And to what extent, if any, does the source of the other offer matter? That is, if U of C Law Review got an expedite based on a “Tier One” journal, “Tier Two,” secondary journal vs. main-line review, etc., would that influence whether a piece gets a read and how favorable editors are likely to be disposed towards it?

    Also, if you don’t mind talking about it, what is the voting process? Does an article need consensus, majority, supermajority?

  4. Orin Kerr says:


    Two questions:

    1) Why does the U Chi LR do a symposium issue? Most journals use symposia to get authors who probably wouldn’t write for them otherwise, albeit at a cost of less strong articles. But your journal is prestigious enough to get the pick of submitted articles, at least outside the small number possibly taken by the HLR, YLJ, SLR, and the CLR.

    2) How much faculty pressure did you get to make offers to Chicago faculty members?

  5. Bruce Boyden says:

    What’s the answer to life, the universe, and, you know, everything?

  6. David Fagundes says:

    This is a great idea, and more information is always better, so in that vein I’d like to point out that I did a similar thread over at PrawfsBlawg this past May with Carl Engstrom, articles editor of the Minnesota Law Review, in which he answered some extensive interview questions and then responded in the thread.

  7. Josh Blackman says:


    I’m so glad you’re blogging here. On the topic of Chicago Law Review, did you see this post from Professor Bainbridge:

  8. 2nd Year prof says:

    1. What sort of thing (if any) stands out from a cover letter – both good and bad?

  9. WPB says:

    Do editors care (whether for better or worse) if an article has been posted on SSRN before submission? What about if Larry Solum has declared it Download of the Week?

  10. Anon says:

    Further to Josh’s point… to the extent that you established phases in your process (whether leading to peer review or not), what are the approximate number of articles that make it through the relevant cuts. As authors we often hear that our article has made it to board review or some other stage, but we have no idea by what percentage our chance of receiving an offer has improved. Obviously, one review’s process isn’t necessarily representative, but it’d be nice to hear your thoughts.

  11. Bruce Boyden says:

    Further to Anon’s question (and much more seriously than my prior comment), I’ve always assumed, and would like confirmation, that “your article has made it to Board review/final review/etc.” means “your article now has a (100/x)% chance of acceptance,” where x = the number of articles editors. I’m assuming in that that each articles editor picks one article per slot available to bring to the meeting.

    But just typing this, I’m now thinking that may be way overestimating the correct probability. Do articles editors pick *more than one* submission per slot available to bring to the meeting? If so, then I guess the correct percentage would be 100/xy, where y is the ratio of submissions brought to the meeting to slots available. If that’s correct, I’m curious what y typically is. If there’s no set “slots available,” then I guess I’m also interested in the relationship between the number of submissions each articles editor floats per meeting, on average, and the number actually accepted at the end of any given meeting. If that’s significantly higher than 1:1 then “your article has made it to final review” starts looking like “your article may be accepted, if you roll snake eyes.”