A Sample Law Review Submission Policy
posted by Daniel Solove
I recently came across the following law review submission policy and was astounded by its candor. Check it out for the real truth behind law review article submissions.
We thank you for your interest in submitting to Pulp Law Review. Please read our submissions guidelines carefully.
Pulp Law Review accepts electronic submissions via our online submission system. We require you to put all your documents (CV, cover letter, article) into one file so that it messes up your margins and pagination and makes your life difficult. We do this to ensure that only those who really want to spend the time and aggravation submit to us.
In order to increase your cost and delay your submission, Pulp Law Review will only accept hard copy submissions from ExpressO. We do this because we are a very highly ranked law review, so we can get away with it.
The Pulp Law Review desires to publish articles of outstanding quality that make meaningful and original contributions to legal scholarship. Because we would not be able to fill our six issues under this standard, we have decided to also accept articles that rehash existing scholarship but that do so with clever framing, articles that sound really profound, or articles that discuss trendy theories (extra points if your article gets these theories right, but we’re unlikely to know if it does).
In considering your article, we use an objective point system for assessing scholarly quality. Articles receiving over 100 points are generally accepted. Here is how it works:
1. Are you from a highly-ranked law school? If yes, add 20.
2. Have you published in highly-ranked law reviews? If yes, add 30.
3. Is your name Cass Sunstein? If yes, accept immediately.
4. Does your article have a nifty title? If yes, add 10.
5. Is the introduction good? If yes, add 40.
6. Do the footnotes need a lot of editing? If yes, subtract 50.
7. Does your article have more than 6 parts? If yes, subtract 10.
8. Do you thank a bunch of big shots in your introductory footnote? If yes, add 10.
9. Is one of our professors personally hand-carrying your article to us along with free coffee and donuts? If yes, add 20.
10. Are you submission #457? If yes, then you’re our lucky lottery winner and your article is accepted on the spot.
Pulp Law Review welcomes book review submissions. A book review is basically the same as an article; however, it differs in that it that spends a few sentences discussing a book before launching into the author’s thesis.
We firmly believe that the ideal length of a law review article is 0 words. However, we will accept articles of greater length under exceptional circumstances. Under no circumstances will we accept an article in excess of 35,000 words.*
* Except if you’re on our list of big shot authors.
Notification of Selection or Rejection
If we select your article, we will notify you promptly and give you an insanely short window of time in which to accept our offer. You can certainly try to have other journals engage in an expedited review, but we’ve designed our window so that hardly any will be able to review your piece in time.
If we do not select your article, we often will not bother to inform you. After all, you’re a loser, and we have no reason to show you any respect whatsoever. You’ve already wasted enough of our time.
If you call to check on the status of your article or to request an expedited review, we will only answer our phones during one randomly assigned hour each day. If you cannot reach a person, please leave a message on our voicemail, which we promptly delete without listening.
During some years, we might send you a brief letter or email when we reject your article. Here is the text of our letter and a translation:
|TEXT OF LETTER||TRANSLATION|
|Thank you for the submission of your article.||We are not really thankful at all. You completely wasted our time.|
|After careful review, we have decided that we are unable to publish your article.||You lost us at at page 3. We wasted 45 seconds of our precious time on your article as well as the time it took to dump it in the recycle can.|
|We receive many submissions a year, and can only publish a few articles per year.||We do in fact receive many submissions — far too many — but only a few are decent. Yours wasn’t one of them.|
|Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish many excellent articles such as yours.||We don’t want your crappy work even for our law review’s online companion.|
|We hope that you continue to submit your work to us in the future.||Yeah, right. If you believe this, you really are a fool.|
If we accept your article, we will take copyright in it. In return for your relinquishing your copyright to us, we will pay you $0. We will then make revenue off your article by licensing it to Westlaw and Lexis, and sometimes by charging fees for excerpts. We will gladly share none of this with you.
We like to think of our editing as akin to putting lipstick on a pig. We often will not meddle much with the substance of your article, as what really matters most is that the footnotes are meticulously accurate.
Sometimes, however, we enjoy rewriting an article to change the style and substance of what you are saying. We get very frustrated when authors complain about our rewriting their articles. We want to publish articles that say what we want to say, and most authors make the mistake of interfering with this process.
We will often ask you to supply pin cites and parentheticals, as well as copies of sources that should readily be available in our library. It is important to realize that we do not Bluebook for the reader or for you, but for its own inherent goodness.
We will also ask you to supply citations for every sentence, including citations for your own original thoughts as well as for obvious propositions that everybody knows. Our rule is that nothing can be said without a citation to it being said somewhere else. It does not matter if the source being cited to merely states the proposition as an ipse dixit — as long as there is something out there that states the proposition (including your own bald statements in earlier work), this is sufficiently authoritative.