Legal Peer Review Journals: Time to Reject/Accept/R&R?

One of the advantages of student-edited law journals is that the turn-around time for acceptance or rejection is typically relatively fast – if you are going to hear, you’ll know within a month or two 95% of the time.  The same can’t be said for peer review journals in other fields, which are famously very, very slow.

What about peer reviewed journals that focus on law, and which regularly publish the writings of American law professors?  After the jump, I’ve listed the the top fifty peer and referreed journals, by combined impact factor (W&L) rank.  I’d be curious to hear from readers who’ve submitted to these journals regarding how long it took to get a substantive response (whether acceptance, rejection, or R&R). I’ll participate in the comment thread if others do – I’ve submitted to JLS, JELS, and JLEO, and JLA, and have generally positive views about those journals’ ability to get back with some answer in a reasonable amount of time.

1 Supreme Court Review
2 Journal of Legal Analysis (2009-)
3 Supreme Court Economic Review
4 The Journal of Legal Studies
5 Cato Supreme Court Review
6 American Business Law Journal
7 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2004-)
8 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics
9 Journal of Tort Law (2006-)[online]
10 The American Journal of Comparative Law
11 Journal of National Security Law & Policy (2005-)
12 Tax Law Review
13 Theoretical Inquiries in Law (Israel)
14 Constitutional Commentary
15 Law and Contemporary Problems
16 The American Bankruptcy Law Journal
17 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law (2003-)
18 The Federal Courts Law Review
19 Clinical Law Review
20 Air Force Law Review
20 American Journal of International Law
22 American Journal of Law & Medicine
22 Antitrust Law Journal
24 Annual Review of Law and Social Science (2005-)
25 Law & Social Inquiry
26 The Business Lawyer
26 The Journal of Law, Economics and Organization
28 Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal
29 Florida Tax Review
30 AIPLA Quarterly Journal
30 Pace Environmental Law Review
32 European Journal of International law (United Kingdom)
33 American Law and Economics Review
34 Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy
34 Jurimetrics The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology
34 Psychology, Public Policy, and Law
37 Family Law Quarterly
38 New Criminal Law Review
38 Pittsburgh Tax Review (2003-)
40 Connecticut Insurance Law Journal
40 Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal
40 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies
40 International Journal of Constitutional Law (2003-) (United Kingdom)
44 Law & Society Review
45 Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal
46 Journal of Competition Law and Economics (2005-) (United Kingdom)
46 University of Toronto Law Journal (Canada)
48 Food and Drug Law Journal
49 University of Illinois Journal of Law, Technology & Policy
50 University of Ottawa Law and Technology Journal (2003-) (Canada)

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6 Responses

  1. I. Glenn Cohen says:

    I have received amazingly fast turn around from the Journal of Legal Analysis the two times I have submitted, less than a month, including detailed reviewer comments in the latter case that generated a conditional acceptance.

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    Thanks for starting us off!

    I also have gotten very quick turnaround from JLA (n=1). Less than a month, albiet for a very kind “no fit” rejection.

    JLS: Around 2-3 months, with truly amazing reviews (rejection, but the kind that makes the paper better)

    JLEO: 3 months, as I recall, again with tremendous reviews (acceptance, at last).

    JELS: The timing has varied. Three submissions: one was R&R’d at 3 months; one was rejected at 6 months; one is pending at 3 months.

  3. Matt says:

    I haven’t submitted to any of these, or refereed for them, but have submitted twice to _Law & Philosophy_. The first time I got an R&R in about two months and then an acceptance in about a month after I re-submitted, and the second time an acceptance w/in about two months. I have also refereed for Law & Philosophy and was asked to do my review w/in a month. I’m pretty sure I did that. I’ve also reviewed for _Criminal Law & Philosophy_ twice and was asked for a review in a month, and did that. Both _Law & Philosophy_ and _Criminal Law & Philosophy_ seem to me to run pretty tight ships. (I’ve also reviewed for the University of Chicago Law Review, and was asked for a report in one week. That’s hard, if you want to write an actual report.)

    My impression is that, in many cases, a significant portion of the delay in peer reviewing comes from difficulty in finding referees, though of course there are other reasons, too.

  4. Anon says:

    Delays can be pretty bad with many of the law and economics journals. Here are my experiences with seven submissions.

    Acceptances:

    JLE: first round 5 months, second round 11 months, third round 1 month
    JLEO: first round 7 months, second round 6 months, third round 3 months
    JLS: first round 7 months, second round 5 months
    JELS: first round 3 months (accepted subject to minor revisions)

    Rejections:

    JLEO: 6 months
    JLS: 2 months; 5 months

    The quality of the reviews varied a lot. In one case, the reviews were extremely helpful and definitely improved the paper. Most of the reviews were at best marginally helpful, and some were completely worthless.

    In four of the cases, the editor followed the recommendation of the referees; in three cases, the editor overruled the referee. For the papers that were accepted, the editors also made constructive suggestions that improved the papers.

  5. Anon says:

    I’ve submitted several papers to the American Business Law Journal, and typically hear back within 6 weeks.

  6. Comparative Law Rookie says:

    Does anyone have information to share about the American Journal of Comparative Law? What is their review process like?