To a large extent, the answer to this question depends on whether one is junior or senior, but generally speaking, how many articles should one write in any given year? This is not a loaded question, I promise. I think the general sentiment is that junior people should strive to write at least one article a year to get tenure, but beyond tenure, if one wants to have an impact on the scholarly dialogue, my impression is that more than one article per year is required. I write in constitutional law and election law, and many of the senior professors in my area might write one article a year, but the article places in Harvard-Yale-Stanford-Columbia law review. Unlike these individuals, if the rest of us write one persuasively argued, solid piece that does not land in a top ten (or twenty or thirty) law review, then my sense is that you have to write another strong, well argued piece within the same time frame in order to raise your profile and get your arguments noticed. So my question is not whether it is better to write two or three mediocre pieces per year instead of one solidly written piece. The answer to that is obvious.
Instead, I am asking whether someone fairly junior in their career should strive to write two or more very good pieces per year in order to raise their profile and start landing those top twenty placements that seem to matter so much to everyone? This is clearly difficult---it is hard to write one good piece, much less two or more. One piece of advice that I have received on this point is that it is best to have one article substantially finished and another always in the works at any given time so that you are constantly workshopping and consistently have your work “out there.” Other advice that I have received is that it is better to just focus on writing one amazing piece at a time, and that good work tends to get noticed during submission cycle and land a good placement. My sense is that there are folks who might disagree with both of these positions.
What do you think?