Thursday, August 16, 2018
So ... I entered a piece in the law review submission free-for-all. It has caused me to reflect further on this system that generally causes academic jaws to drop in every other discipline when you describe it. Being at this stage of my career (see Further Reflections on the End of Ambition) where placements tend to be a matter of bucket list check-off and pure ego, my heart really does go out to those whose angst is related to getting or retaining a job. I thought "ctr" (the Appointments Chair at a T50 school) offered some wise counsel in the comments, consistent with the data, about not getting too hung up on the relative rankings of the schools in which you place your pieces.
I do not discount the angst. I recently went through the five stages of law review submission grief.
Denial: [Imagine thought balloon if this were a cartoon] "Oh wow, I've been called now by the fourth different Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review that Has Never Published Anything Written by Anybody Who Has Ever Been on Our Faculty to do a peer review of a submission. I must be thought of as having scholarly chops well above the station otherwise indicated by the faculty letterhead on which I am obliged to submit my own work."
Bargaining: "Dear Senior Articles Editor for Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review that Has Never Published Anything Written by Anybody Who Has Ever Been on Our Faculty: I was flattered when you asked me several months ago to be an unpaid peer reviewer for the article submitted by [deleted] and was happy to turn around thoughtful comments in fewer than 24 hours because you were on an expedite deadline. I did point out at the time the irony of your calling me for a review when all of my submissions to your journal have been rejected within hours, if not minutes, of their submission. Nevertheless, I did do it for you in the appointed time. As you may recall, you commented on my comments as 'fascinating,' 'insightful,' and 'extremely helpful to our board's consideration.' I now have a new piece ready for submission, and am willing to give it to you for an exclusive review for two weeks."
Depression: "Dear Professor: Thank you for submitting your article to the Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review. Even though I found it fascinating and insightful, I am afraid that we will not be able to consider it for inclusion. We wish you the best of luck in your placement of the article. We hope, however, that you consider the Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review for future submissions."
Anger: "Ungrateful little shits."
Acceptance: American Samoa Journal of Bible Studies and Blockchain Technology.
[I promise more serious advice in a future post.]