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Everyone, it seems, agrees that the process creates perverse incentives: professors submit to dozens of journals, so that student editors must make decisions on thousands of articles; student editors are forced to make quick decisions in competition with other journals, and so rely on proxies of dubious merit to decide what to read; students at higher-ranked journals rely on the work of students at lower-ranked journals to screen articles.

What strikes me, though, is that the Peer Reviewed Scholarship Marketplac e seemed to solve all of these problems when it was created in It incorporates peer-review from subject matter experts and provides this feedback for authors to strengthen the piece, whether or not they accept a given offer. It takes away the time pressure of the compressed submission season.

It protects the freedom of choice for both professors and for student journals; students still decide which pieces to make offers for after seeing the peer review evaluations , and professors can feel free to decline offers--they are not obligated to take an offer from a journal they don't wish to publish with.

When PRSM was created in , I thought it would quickly become the predominant way that law journals select articles. Why hasn't it? Do more journals need to start using it so that authors will submit to it? It seems like they have a pretty good cross-section already, as there are 20 journals listed as members , about half of which are ranked in the top 50 law journals, and some in the top Do more authors need to use it, so that journals will sign on? Or is there something I'm missing--some benefit of the current practice that PRSM fails to replicate?

I'm one of Temple Law Review's advisors. Or to put it differently, though in theory a goofy academic could generate a hundred more useful ways to spend students hours than law review, it's not at all obvious that any of those alternatives would generate equivalent passion and commitment from students. The advising process has also recently given me a new perspective on an old problem. Counterfactual reasoning sets in -- "if only I'd pushed back against those meddling kids!

Inevitably the question is entertained: what, exactly, is stopping the professor from backing out of the deal with mediocre law review A to accept the offer of awesome law review B?

Gideon's Migration

After all, the process is crooked, everyone is just reading expedites, and reliance arguments are weak. Law reviews aren't going to sue for breach of contract -- even if one exists, which might be doubtful. If they did , this is the clearest case of efficient breach possible. But then norms of professional courtesy typically set in.

And, though I've been teaching for over a decade, and heard literally dozens of stories like this, I'd never actually heard of anyone backing out of a law review acceptance until this cycle. Temple just had someone back out. Because that person is junior - and no doubt listening to a more senior mentor's advice - I'm not going to provide more details. Have I just been naive?

Is law review conscious decoupling common? Is that behavior, in fact, righteous? By "the madness," I mean this. Opaque "submission seasons" and letterhead biases and footnote fetishes and massively multiple submissions I kinda want to start an MMORPG called "World of Lawcraft," all about getting law review articles published and all the other crazy pathologies of law review publishing. As Your GameTheoryBlogger, this seems to me like a classic strategic problem: nobody likes the system, it means huge amounts of work for the students, work that time for Real Talk TM probably impairs their educations, and most of the real benefit to them is just victory in an insane status arms race in which law review membership is a signal of smartness that law firms respond to; it also undermines the scholarly enterprise to have Real Talk TM scholarly reputations and their associated benefits depend yeah yeah only in part post-publication review sure ok on the judgment of 2Ls with like three minutes to read a paper.

Yet we are unlikely to be able to just replace the system whole-hog with peer review, because the individual costs of doing so are so high. I confess I kinda miss the early days of Prawfs, where Kate Litvak was around and leading the mighty charge for peer review in the comments. Yes, I remember those days, back in like I think I even remember the first e-mail Dan sent around announcing this blog's existence!

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More broadly, we seem to have lots of collective action problems like this in legal education. Think of the pitiful death of the law clerk hiring plan.

And of the way that we all bow and scrape to the almighty, but universally loathed, gods of U. Can we get better at it? How do we improve our institutional capacity for collective action? All ideas, no matter how crazy, welcomed in the comments. The submission window is just about to open and we await Redyip's semi-annual return -- some journals already have announced they are accepting submissions.

So let the angsting commence.

Yale Law Journal: Volume 121, Number 7 - May 2012

If you are an author or law review editor and want to share information about your submission experience to the law reviews, this is the place to do it. If you have questions about the process, this is the place to do it. Feel free to use the comments to share your information and gripes or praise about which journals you have heard from, which you have not, etc.

Have at it. And do it reasonably nicely, pretty please. Edit: To get to p. To get to the end of comments, click here. The Law Review will extend offers for publication by December 8, All authors who submit articles to this program agree to accept a publication offer, should one be extended. For more information and submission instructions, visit this description. Back in June, we learned that at least the Eighth Circuit believes the right to burn a flag is clearly established.

I wonder what the Seventh Circuit will think of the right not to have a police officer proselytize and hand-out information about a church in the course of a traffic stop. But the experience was almost exactly the same as it was with print journals in terms of editing schedules and process. I am hard-pressed to think of much in the way of a downside, honestly.

‎Yale Law Journal: Volume , Number 5 - March on Apple Books

The vast majority of articles I read are from digital sources, so I suspect any skepticism about the online-only format will soon be a thing of the past. And I guess online-only journals may direct more traffic to their site, and away from SSRN, decreasing the author's downloads, but again--that seems pretty marginal. The important thing is that the work is good and that people read it; SSRN downloads are only a proxy for those much more important considerations. So having said all of this, and to polemically recast this post as a question to the Prawfs readership, is there any reason to prefer print law review articles?

And see you all sometime in the guest-blogging future. So I understand Redyip is still waking up from his dogmatic winter slumber but the commenters on the prior thread are clamoring for him to brush his teeth and be on his way, so if you are an author or law review editor and want to share information about your submission experience to the law reviews, this is the place to do it.

Feel free to use the comments to share your information and gripes or praise about which law reviews have turned over, which ones haven't yet, and where you've heard from, and where you've not, and what you'd like Redyip to bring you for Purim, etc.

Enrique Schaerer—Yale Law School Moot Court Finals

It's the semi-annual angsting thread for the law review submission season. If you're interested in asking Redyip questions, BDG might come out of the woodwork too to conduct an interview. Here's the last installation of back and forth.

Update: link to final page of comments here. It might be useful for folks to have access to law reviews' publication agreements, whether to help with negotiations, compare copyright provisions, or whatever. I've begun a spreadsheet with links to such agreements that are available on the web. If this is duplicative of another such effort, please let me know, and I will gleefully ditch my spreadsheet and add a link to the other resource. I am interested in links to any law review publication agreements, whether main journal, secondary journal, peer-reviewed, or student reviewed.

The spreadsheet so far is here :. Update: I included a link in the spreadsheet to the Miami law wiki page on Copyright Experiences. This is a very helpful resource that includes links to information about the copyright policies of a large number of law journals.

I find these critiques to be based on a blend of ignorance, arrogance, and incoherence. Ignorance because they don't really seem to know what's going on in actual law reviews. The CJ's quote is a good example -- it's a caricature of a cliche about law reviews, rather than an actual observation about them.


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Arrogance because there is always outrage about these "amateurs" and "incompetents" getting to touch the golden prose of scholars. Sure, some journals and some editors are worse than others, but on the whole students know the Bluebook and are respectful yet challenging of authors. I have gotten terrific editing from law reviews, including a set of edits at a specialty journal that I just turned around this past month. Would some peer review be nice? Sure, but 1 there are peer review journals and 2 meaningful peer review comes in the literature to follow.

Finally, incoherence -- because the critiques don't fit together. Law review articles are incredibly esoteric and out of touch? Then why are they being chosen by editors who almost all go on to be lawyers themselves? Law blogs are better than law reviews? I don't know where to begin with that one. There are a lot of different tropes and agendas meandering around in these critiques, and they just don't hang together.

The critique of internally-placed articles based on Albert Yoon's research does raise real concerns. But this is a much more subtle point than the rest of Liptak's post. But law reviews are a resource for which law professors should be grateful. I hope more law profs come out of the woodwork to defend these institutions of research and learning, or they just might begin to disappear.