Saturday, May 24, 2008
Having been in the legal academic for just a year, I already feel strongly about the inadequacy of the law review system. The thing that is particularly weird is that everyone submits to every law journal out there and then bargains up the placement. The immediate effect of this is that most of the journals, particularly the top ranking journals, do not review submissions; they let the lower ranking journal do the first screening work -- extremely unfair. This process is also unfair to authors because they usually get only a short time period to respond to lower ranking journals that have accepted their submissions. I think this problem can easily be fixed if the legal academy adopts a submission policy used by Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, i.e., authors are obligated to publish with the journal that first accepts their papers. In this way, authors are more selective about the journals where they want to place the article in the first place, so the work load is evenly spread out among different law journals. Moreover, every journal, including top ranking journals, has the incentive to read the submissions as quickly as possible. It seems to me that a significant chunk of the law review submission problem can be easily eliminated by the above measure. It just requires some law journals to take the initiative. I think journals other than a handful of "elite" ones all have the incentive to opt for this.
Lynn's most recent work is There Are Plaintiffs and . . . There Are Plaintiffs: An Empirical Analysis of Securities Class Action Settlements, 61 Vand. L. Rev. ___ (2008) (with James D. Cox & Randall S. Thomas).