Submission Strategies in Response to the Shrinking Law Review
Over at the VC, Orin Kerr examines the desirability of the increasing trend of law reviews to give “exploding” offers — offers that expire in 1 day or 2 days. The law review submission process involves authors submitting simultaneously to multiple law reviews. Once the author gets an offer, she requests higher-ranked journals to conduct an expedited review. To make it harder for higher-ranked journals to conduct an expedited review, journals are giving out offers with shorter time windows. The effect: Whereas before journals had a week or two week to conduct an expedited review, now they have just a day or two.
Orin believes that this is problematic:
If this is in fact happening, I worry that it is on balance a bad thing for journals. First, I suspect that the perceived advantage to individual journals is mostly illusory: Journals might want to make fast offers and give a very short window to try to limit expedites, but my guess is that other journals are likely to respond by speeding up their expedite processes accordingly. And on a broader level, I’m concerned that journals that decide extremely quickly are likely to focus even more on the proxy of author/school prestige and less on the quality of the article. . . . On balance, then, tighter windows would seem to make the rich richer; it may be harder for excellent articles by lesser-known authors to break in to top journals.
I agree with Orin. The shrinking windows for law reviews to consider articles just rushes the process and threatens to make review more cursory. It is also a race to the bottom.
Check out Orin’s post for some interesting comments.
My question is about submission strategy. The strategy for authors used to be to send to a bunch of law reviews, get an offer, and then slowly expedite in stages, working one’s way up to the top law reviews. This strategy is deeply flawed today. Given the number of exploding offers, one has to expedite all the way to the top. And because many top law reviews have an extensive review process, if you want to be considered by them, there’s often no way for them to review it in a 1 day or 2 day window.
So what should the strategy be for authors who want to maximize their placements?
Perhaps the following: One should submit in stages, with the top journals first, then followed by another group of journals a week or so later, then followed by successive waves at weekly or bi-weekly intervals, slowly working one’s way down the rankings. In light of the ever-shrinking law review offer shelf life, is this the best strategy?