Notes from an Interview with a Journal’s Executive Article Editor

I watched this informative video conversation between Prof. Leandra Lederman (Indiana-Bloomington), Prof. Jon Choi (Minnesota) and Indiana Law 3L Abbi Semnisky, who is the Executive Articles Editor at the Indiana Law Journal. My notes:

  • They received 30% of the entire year’s submissions on the first day they were open in Scholastica.
  • Both the Minnesota Law Review and the Indiana Law Journal have eliminated the August submission window. They take 100% of the year’s worth of articles out of the February window. That window closed by the second half of March.
  • The Indiana Law Journal has a 5% acceptance rate. The Minnesota Law Review has a 2% acceptance rate. Both of them said that about 2/3 of their offers are accepted.
  • To get an offer from the Indiana Law Journal, at least 4 editors must read the piece, but they don’t do “board reviews.”
  • The Indiana Law Journal takes externally sourced symposium packages.
  • Abbi emphasized the importance of the article’s abstract several times. In Scholastica, the abstract is presented to editors as the primary item for their review without any clicking. Thus, the abstract plays an outsized role in the screening process.
  • Some preferences Abbi mentioned:
    • interdisciplinary articles (on the theory that they attract more citations)
    • Word files, not PDFs (I believe that’s true for many journals)
    • A ratio of 70% text/30% footnotes.
    • 20,000-28,000 words
    • Proper bluebooking and grammar to reduce the editors’ workload
  • Abbi said that tailored/personalized expedite requests can get more priority than generic ones.

A disclaimer: every journal is different, and the priorities and practices of articles editors can change from year-to-year.

For more, check out this Twitter thread from an outgoing senior articles editor at the Georgetown Law Journal.