Is the Fall Law Review Submission Window Moving Earlier?

An editor at a top law review emailed me with the following:

From our records, it looks like the submission season started about two weeks earlier this year than last year. We keep a daily log of submission numbers, and the uptic this year was on July 24, with the real flood starting on August 2. Last year the uptic was August 1, and it built up gradually until the big flood starting August 15.

The earlier dates have created a backlog for us. We were not expecting things to move earlier, and most of our committee members have been on vacation since early August and are not returning until school starts. We have about twice as many articles awaiting review now than we did in February when we began our review process. I have received numerous expedite requests that the committee simply cannot handle.

I don’t know if other schools were expecting the earlier submission dates, but I’d be interested to find out whether they were and how they have dealt with it. And I think the early movers are doing quite a disservice to themselves (by being unable to expedite) and to others (who will have to wait until we clear the backlog before their articles are read). If you had asked me over the summer, I would have strongly encouraged authors to wait until at least the week before Labor Day to submit their articles. Now, I’m hoping more of them wait until mid-September.

I’ve generally thought that the fall window began around the third week of August, at the time when law students were returning to school. Is it moving earlier? From the editor’s email, it appears that more professors are submitting in the beginning of August and more law reviews are reviewing and extending offers in early August.

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1 Response

  1. Katie says:

    I’m the editor of a specialty journal, so this may not be particularly relevant, but we’ve been reading and extending offers all summer, and also saw an uptick in submissions in early August. Unlike the editor quoted above, we have also been expediting articles all summer and do not have a backlog. (I’m sure we have fewer submissions coming in, though, and while we also probably have fewer readers – four – we constitute the editorial board and thus don’t have to feel guilty about making ourselves work over the summer. Annoyed, perhaps, but not guilty.)