The Answers to the Ultimate Questions

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8 Responses

  1. Lawrence Cunningham says:

    Interesting. I’d caution readers, however, not to let some of what has gone on in one law review articles office alter how they write and polish their work or whether or when they post it to SSRN or even when they submit it.

    For instance, David in this post says editors at Chicago one year paid no attention to cover letters. That doesn’t mean to stop writing them or stop writing them well. Preparing a succinct account of a piece and its value usually helps sharpen the work and the cover letter is a great vehicle for that exercise.

    Similarly, post your articles to SSRN as you wish and submit them to journals when they are ready, and do not pressure students to do anything, whether you are on their journal’s faculty or anywhere else.

    All that said, as a kind of “inside baseball” story, it is always interesting to hear recollections of what happened in an articles office.

  2. This mostly agrees with my experience at Yale, but on semi-peer review, I don’t think it’s that different from traditional peer review (e.g., in science): the reviewers have no obligation to help, but many generously spend lots of time providing uncompensated reviews anyway (at least based on my experience at Yale). In fact, the process seems very analogous to review at Nature and Science, where the editors retain lots of discretion, so reviews are only useful when they give reasons, rather than just thumbs up or down.

  3. Sean M. says:


    I was on the articles committee of William and Mary in ’09-’10, so thank you for the compliment and curse you for taking our articles. :)

    (For what it’s worth, while we hated our offers getting poached, in our more sanguine moments, we took it as a sign that we must have been doing something right).

  4. David Schraub says:

    Law Review lore has it that one year, after taking five articles from us, the articles committee at Harvard sent us a thank you note for being such good screeners for them.

  5. 2nd Year prof says:

    David, thanks for the insights. It would be wonderful if Chicago (or another top journal) adopted your idea of an Emerging Junior Scholar Issue. You could solicit articles, and have Chicago faculty/students conduct a blind review of submissions.

  6. Orin Kerr says:

    Very interesting about the symposium issue. I suppose that matches my experience: I did a U Chi L Rev symposium in 2007 that was published in 2008, and my recollection is that the group of contributors was selected by a faculty member.

  7. 2nd Year prof says:

    Another question just came to mind – does a board review at a top-10ish journal carry any weight in your eyes? In other words, is it worth it to relay this information to other journals?

  8. David Schraub says:

    It has a little — more for those journals with notoriously short timelines on their offers than for the signaling value. But the “top-10ish” caveat is critical — we definitely didn’t like being bombarded with emails telling us that they were at final review at the Obscure Secondary Journal Law Review.