ExpressO or ExpressNo?

It’s that season, again, when law profs (and others) spit and polish their newest works, preparing them for delivery to their favorite 50…75…100 law reviews. Colleagues have been dropping by my office with unusual frequency asking me my opinion of ExpressO. (ExpressO is a service that delivers manuscripts to law reviews on behalf of authors – primarily via email.) When I last circulated an article, I used a three-prong strategy: ExpressO to most journals, direct mailing to those that didn’t accept ExpressO, and Fed Ex to ten journals I thought particularly ripe for placement.

In the end, all three approaches yielded at least one offer. (I ended up placing the piece in a Fed Ex journal – though I’ll never know if my high-rent mailing was a factor in that board’s decision.) The experience was successful but yielded little useful data. Some people have expressed the fear that Expresso does not work well for authors using less glammy letterhead. These folks think that members of the academic hoi polloi need to jam hardcopy in front of an editor to get his/her attention. On the other hand, I know several people from solid – but not gourmet – institutions that have done very well with ExpressO. So some questions:

What do you – writers and editors – think of ExpressO?

And particularly student editors, two questions:

What do you do with ExpressO submissions – read them on the computer or print them out?

Do you treat ExpressO submissions differently than manuscripts emailed directly?

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1 Response

  1. Alfred L. Brophy says:


    Thoughtful post, as always–but I must ask, why won’t you know if your high-cost strategy of fed exing paid off? I would think that an empirically oriented prof like you would have asked the editors: “hey, did it matter to you that my article was sent via fed ex?” I have some vague memories (because I was on law review way back in the 1980s) that faculty would submit articles via fed ex. But what I recall happening was that some lowly 2L would ripe the packages open and then present them to the high and mighty (3Ls). So that one couldn’t determine whether the article came in via fed ex or 4th class. Perhaps the times have changed and journals are now looking to other signals of quality? Like the authors (or their schools) are flush.

    And as long as I’m thinking about empirical studies, perhaps this is some data someone ought to be collecting….