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A Sample Law Review Submission Policy

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18 Responses

  1. Eric Goldman says:

    As for the very last point, where you need a requested citation, I’ve heard that Wikipedia is useful for manufacturing citable authority. Eric.

  2. Anon Law Prof says:

    That’s very funny, but this has been done before, even more succinctly and rudely:

    1) Articles must be 35,000 words or less (Including footnotes). Both text and notes should be double-spaced.

    2) Include a cover letter, NOT a link, with the following contact information:


    Mail Address

    Email Address

    Phone Number

    3) If you include a resume, it must be a reasonable length. For the sake of argument, if it exceeds 5 pages, it is not reasonable.

    4) CLR does not allow the use of images or graphics in our published articles.

    5) CLR will publish up to five author-created charts, graphs, and/or tables. All charts, graphs, and tables must be included in the manuscript by the end of the primary editing stage.

    Oh, wait, that’s not a joke? It’s Cal’s actual submission policy? Never mind, then.

  3. Anon Law Prof says:

    Here’s the link (HTML tags didn’t work in last comment):

  4. former editor says:

    11. Is your article about constitutional law, federal courts, or some novel theory of discrimination? If yes, add 40.

    12. Are you that insufferably self-important professor from our faculty who made our life miserable 2 years ago when we made the mistake of publishing his article? If yes, multiply by zero.

    13. Does your article come “recommended” by our dean? The one who doesn’t like us? If yes, subtract 30.

    14. In your article, do you coin a buzzword to describe your theory so that you can pretend it’s novel? Depending on which editor looks at your submission, either add 20 or subtract 20.

    15. Is your article a political op-ed dressed up as scholarship? If an articles editor sympathetic to your cause reads it, add 100. Otherwise, subtract 10.

    16. Have you decided to use us as unpaid research assistants by putting in a bunch of footnotes that say “[CITE]” or “Sunstein article”? If this shows up on the first 10 pages, subtract 30. If it’s hidden near the end of the article or in the middle, do not adjust your score.

    17. Is the introductory material:analysis ratio in your article greater than or equal to 4:1? If yes, subtract 10.

    18. Is your submission basically the same as an article you published last year? If we find the old article it in time, subtract 30. If your entire introduction is cut and pasted from the old one, subtract an additional 10.

    19. Are you a young professor and is the only apparent purpose of your article to suck up to the more senior people in your field? If yes, subtract 20.

    20. Does your article reflect that you think “empirical study” means “counting things”? If yes, subtract 20.

    21. Are you one of those “creative commons” people who will fight to the death over your copyright when no one would pay real money to read your stuff anyway? If yes, subtract 10. If you’re able to conceal this until right before we send the article to press, subtract zero.

  5. another former editor says:

    excellent post! but i must say, once an offer and acceptance are on the table, there is a drastic role reversal and the author abuses the law review up until publication. so in some ways, it’s a fair trade-off…the law review needs to abuse the author as much as possible up until acceptance.

  6. former editor says:

    22. Do you use any of the following quotes in your article? Subtract 10 for each quote. 15 if it appears right at the beginning.

    a. “`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’”

    Carroll, Through the Looking Glass (1871).

    b. “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (minus an additional 5 if you replace the word “Caesar” with the name of a legal doctrine)

    c. “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” attributed to Benjamin Franklin (minus an additional five if you misquote it).

    d. “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” Holmes, The Common Law (1881).

    e. “From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141, 1145 (1994) (Blackmun, J., dissenting)

    23. Is the draft of your article more of a placeholder to cement a commitment to publish, rather than a “draft”–that is, over the course of editing, will your tame 30-page essay on the Supreme Court’s election law jurisprudence morph into a disgusting 230-page hydra-like rambling manifesto about the nature of democracy that veers off on all sorts of tangents, responds to every letter of text published on the subject between the initial offer and publication, which we never would have published had we seen that version at the selection stage? If yes, and if we can figure this out in time, subtract 100.

    24. Are you Jennifer Lopez with tenure and elbow patches? That is, will you constantly pester us with capricious requests? Will you ask us to speak to your research assistants, will you drop by the office, will you–instead of accepting or rejecting our proposed changes–want to discuss them all in excruciating detail? If so, and if we can detect it in time, subtract 15. Subtract only 5 if your article has any redeeming qualities.

  7. Another former editor says:

    12. Are you that insufferably self-important professor from our faculty who made our life miserable 2 years ago when we made the mistake of publishing his article? If yes, multiply by zero.

    12(b). Was it more than two years ago? Our institutional memory isn’t that long, so multiply by one instead.

    . . .

    25. Does your article have a table of contents? Add 5 — unless your article has three or fewer parts or is thirty or fewer pages long, in which case subtract 5.

    26. Does the title of your article lack a colon? Subtract 20.

    27. Subtract 1 for each of the following you mention or cite in your article: Posner, Magna Carta, Scalia, “the province and duty of the judicial department,” Holmes, any television show (if the Sopranos, subtract 3), Wikipedia (subtract 10), Second Life (subtract 5), an anonymous comment on the Internet, any dictionary except Black’s.

    28. Does your article use a lot of foreign sources? Those are brutal to find and figure out how to cite, so subtract 75 if they appear in the first ten pages. Unless we are a “… Journal of International Law,” in which case we are desperate for articles about international law, so add 50.

    29. Is your article about a topic like management, state law, or arbitration, which we don’t have a class on at our school? Subtract 40.

  8. Another Anon Law Prof says:

    30. Is your article about a topic like tax or the Uniform Commercial Code? Don’t bother sending it to us.

  9. Dave says:

    Glad to see some law review editors have gotten in on the action. Trackbacks don’t seem to be working, so I’ll point out my response over at Blog De Novo.

  10. Ex-editor says:

    Definitely funny. And funny ’cause it’s true.

    But what about the opposite list? From the other side of the mailbox, there are certainly “policies” that professors (or worse, non-professors) comply with when submitting their articles. Most professors have been editors themselves, but how quickly they seem to forget. To begin with:

    1. My article is obviously the only article being submitted. And if not the only article, at least the only article with any merit. Obviously.

    2. If I haven’t heard anything within three days (two days, if weekends aren’t counted), I should immediately call, fax, email, and candy-gram the law review office. They must have misplaced it.

    3. Why aren’t these overpaid, lazy, do-nothing editors at their desks all the time? What, they have classes to attend?

    4. I wonder what they do with the sick cash they’ll make off of my article? Cause my article will definitely be excerpted by casebooks, hot new popular legal books, and probably made into a movie. And all the profits will go toward building new backyard swimming pools for those lucky editors.

    5. Even though I haven’t actually consulted the bluebook, my method of citation is superior. Why? Because it’s easy for me (or at least for my RA).

  11. another ex-editor says:

    6. You need to send my article to the printer next Friday? How about I submit it on Thursday night/Friday morning, somewhere around 2am? I’ll make sure it’s bluebooked PERFECTLY.

    7. Speaking of bluebooking, don’t worry…I’ll have my research assistant take care of it.

    8. Sorry to ignore your emails, I’ve got more important things to attend to, unlike you who merely has to overhaul all 200 of my footnotes while taking 15 credits of class. When did you say you needed my article again?

    9. Hope you don’t mind…I didn’t use track changes. When I was a law review editor, computers weren’t even invented, so I don’t understand all that “tech-y” jargon. You can just go through my 100-page article one sentence at a time to find the edits. It’s not like I made any mistakes.

  12. Orin Kerr says:

    My favorite comment:

    14. In your article, do you coin a buzzword to describe your theory so that you can pretend it’s novel? Depending on which editor looks at your submission, either add 20 or subtract 20.


  13. Eric Chiappinelli says:

    I devised a Myers-Briggs-like test (called the Law Review Article Type Indicator)for law reviews to use in selecting articles. It’s at 42 Wm & Mary L. Rev. 559 (2000). The electronic versions don’t include the charts/graphs, unfortunately.

  14. Gary Chartier says:

    31. Are there at least five footnotes on each page? Add 20. Is the average number of footnotes per page less than four? Subtract 30.

  15. Tony D'Amato says:

    If you cite Wittgenstein, you get 10 points. If your citation is a “compare Wittgenstein” citation, you get an additional 5 points.

    If your citation is “on the contrary, Wittgenstein said”, you get 5 added points.

    If your citation is “Wittgenstein should have said,” you get 12 additional points.

    If your citation is “Ludwig Wittgenstein should have credited Gottlob Frege with this idea,” you get 15 extra points.

    If you say that this idea falls between the Tractatus and the Investigations, and Wittgenstein was never able to resolve it, add 25 points.

  16. If your citation is “Ludwig Wittgenstein should have credited Gottlob Frege with this idea and Frege merely twisted something that Russell had said,” add 25 points.

  17. former editor says:

    If your citation is “Ludwig Wittgenstein should have credited Gottlob Frege with this idea and Frege merely twisted something that Russell had said,” add 25 points.

    I think we’ve wandered far afield from speculating as to how student law review editors select articles.

  18. Former production editor says:

    32. Does your submission include charts and other graphical matter that likely add little to what you’re saying, but that look ‘neat’? Oh, and do you have no idea how to make them correctly, because you have no real mathematical, statistical, or even design background? Am I going to have to remake it all properly for you, in an especially painstaking fashion because you included incorrect numbers in your original?! (For your sake, I hope you can get in touch with the articles editor more quickly than I can pass a note to him in Corporations class getting your article killed!)

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