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April 10, 2013


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Scott Pryor

Do as I say, not as I'm doing. I had begun reading and putting some initial thoughts in writing since the semester break but switched to a new topic a week ago. I hope to "catch the wave" in the chapter 9 bankruptcy of Stockton, CA. I have traditionally accumulated material over the course of the spring semester and worked to turn it into a good draft by the end of the summer. I suggest that folks not change course midstream but I feel I shouldn't pass up this opportunity.

How long a trajectory do other folks have between picking a topic and getting an article out the door?

Haskell Murray

I am also interested in answers to the trajectory question, though the answers will obviously vary. Most of my work has been focused on social enterprise law, which is changing by the week. The law review process is painfully slow for those of us who want to impact an emerging area of law. My last article was about 18 months between picking the topic and getting the article on WestLaw/Lexis. In that time, the number of state statutes in that area more than doubled, and the model statute was amended in some significant ways. I kept updating and rewriting and finally had to let it go. I am thankful for SSRN, which allowed me to get my article to the public a year before the article was available on WestLaw/Lexis. I'd like to use the online journals for some of my more time sensitive articles, but being a junior, pre-tenure professor it seems like I should focus most of my time on traditional articles.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

I'd like to know how a largely autodidactic (at least in the areas I'd like to publish) researcher and writer with only the barest of higher education institutional affiliation (adjunct at a community college) can acquire research assistants!

Jacqueline Lipton

And I suppose I should also add that a question I have every time I attack a new project is the extent to which I should plan and stick to a detailed outline. I tend not to be a great planner and veer off on all sorts of tangents in the initial draft, then use successive drafts to tighten my argument. It may save more time if I planned more tightly in the first place and stuck to the plan, but I do find I have some happy accidents along the way if I let the first draft flow a little more broadly and tangentially. I'd be interested in others' thoughts on this as well.

Haskell Murray

Patrick, if serious, you could probably attract a research assistant simply by posting a call for research assistance on a well-read blog in your area(s) of interest. Most student research assistants seem to do the job for the experience, mentoring, resume bulletpoint, and reference letter - not the money.

Patrick S. O'Donnell


Wow! I never imagined that might be the I have to think more seriously about doing that! Thank you.

Marcia Narine

Ditto to Haskell's question about online law reviews since I am new to academia and my first two articles concerned topics that had to be edited at the last minute because I chose areas that were so current that they necessitated amendments. I am interested in writing about areas that require reform and probably always will be but I know I should probably focus on the more traditional formats at this stage in my career as well. How are online business and law reviews perceived? And what is the typical trajectory from idea germination to getting it out to the traditional law review at least early on?

Haskell Murrsy

Marcia, I only have limited experience, but just the editing process with a traditional law review seems to take at least 3-6 months (5 months and 8 months on my last two articles, but the 8 month one was with a new law review that had some unique issues that caused delays).

From idea germination to publication, I would say 12 months or longer for most articles. That said, I am sure it varies. I have never published in an online law review, but I have heard they are generally much quicker. But as mentioned, at this stage in my career, even if online law reviews are gaining more respect, I am going to stick with traditional law reviews to be safe and just do some blogging on the really time sensitive matters. Also, as mentioned, SSRN can help you get a traditional article out to the public many months before the law review does.

Colin Miller

In regard to the question of whether the publish in an online law school supplement, consider the following:

Kevin Lapp

I co-authored a piece published in an online law review supplement (North Carolina Law Review's Addendum), and found the process quick and satisfying. That said, the piece was "published" over a year ago, and has not yet appeared on Westlaw, and I'm not sure it ever will (no other pieces published by the UNC Law Review Addendum are on Westlaw, though articles from other online law review supplements can be found there). Whatever lack of access to the piece derives from its absence from Westlaw is certainly worth considering when accepting/negotiating an offer to publish.

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