What is the difference between an Article and an Essay? The distinction is fine. Both have solid arguments, researched premises, and most importantly, footnotes. Each are posted on Lexis and Westlaw, and come out in printed form. However, they often have different editors. So what continues to drive this distinction? Length.
Harvard Law Review surveyed 800 faculty in 2004 to assess their opinions on legal scholarship. Ninety percent of the participants expressed that articles in law reviews were simply too long. As a result, eleven journals signed a joint statement to announce an ideal article length of 40-70 pages.
A number of these journals have instituted submission guidelines for essays: scholarly pieces from 10,000-25,000 words. This is separate from the very short electronic publications or newer publications that supplement larger journals, such as Yale Pocket Parts or the PENNnumbra. Rather, essays are published in the main section of print law reviews, and the only difference from articles is the length.
UVA's definition: The Law Review typically treats any submission of 15,000 or fewer words (including footnotes) as an Essay, but this is only a general rule of thumb. Length is not necessarily the defining characteristic of an Essay. Essays often are "thought pieces" that advance something approximating an idea rather than an argument, or they involve more offbeat topics than Articles. Responses to previous articles are treated as Essays, as well. The Law Review's annual Ola B. Smith Lecture also is published as an Essay.
I have started a list of law journals that accept Essay submissions. This post may also benefit from reader opinions on Essays. Do they merit the same attention as Articles? Would they "count" the same as an Article for promotion and tenure? This dialogue focuses on essays only. Thanks.
Law reviews that specifically accept and separately acknowledge Essay submissions: (Please add to the list in the comments section)
Columbia Law Review
UC Davis Law Review
Yale Law Journal
Michigan Law Review
NYU Law Review
Virginia Law Review
Northwestern Law Review
General Submission Instructions
The Columbia Law Review is published eight times a year, in every month but February, July, August, and September. At this time, the Articles Committee and the Essays & Reviews Committee are reviewing submissions for the Review’s Fall 2018 issues and later. Please contact Kevin Koai, Executive Articles Editor, or Anika Havaldar, Executive Essays & Reviews Editor, with any questions about submission guidelines or procedures.
We accept and manage submissions exclusively through Scholastica. We are excited to partner with Scholastica, as it enables us to provide better, faster and more consistent feedback and an improved submission experience for you in the future. As a first step, we encourage authors to create an account at https://scholasticahq.com.
Because peer review of articles and essays improves the Columbia Law Review’s selection process and helps to verify piece originality, the Review strongly prefers subjecting submitted pieces to peer review, contingent on piece-selection timeframes and other extenuating circumstances.
I. Submissions instructions
The Review has separate Scholastica submissions pages for Articles, Essays and Book Reviews, and CLR Online. As a result, you will not be able to submit to the Review simultaneously with your larger pool of Scholastica submissions. Instead, please use the links below to access the right submission page for your piece. You can also access these pages by searching for Columbia Law Review on Scholastica. Please see the Submission Categories section below for further instructions regarding which submission category is appropriate for your piece.
If you have submitted to us in the past and wish us to consider your previous submission, please resubmit your piece to us through Scholastica.
Institutions can create accounts to pay for their authors’ submissions to Scholastica, so authors affiliated with law schools will have the same payment experience they have had on ExpressO. Scholastica is committed to ensuring that authors are able to submit articles regardless of institutional support and will consider requests for fee waivers and other accommodations at email@example.com. Additional information about Scholastica is available on their site.
We are not part of the general Scholastica submissions pool. Submissions to the Review will need to be done separately from Scholastica submissions to other journals, using the links below:
To submit an Article, please click here.
To submit an Essay or Book Review, please click here.
To submit a piece to CLR Online, please click here.
II. Submission Requirements
- Submit only one, double spaced copy of your manuscript. We greatly prefer if submissions appear in Microsoft Word format. Regular submissions are only accepted electronically via our separate Scholastica submissions pages (please see below). Please note that we do not accept regular submissions by e-mail, disk, or facsimile.
- Text and citations should conform to A Uniform System of Citation (20th ed. 2015) (“The Bluebook”). Footnotes are strongly preferred over endnotes.
- We encourage the use of gender-neutral language.
The Columbia Law Review has a strong preference for accepting pieces between 20,000 and 37,000 words (including footnotes). For additional information regarding CLR Online submission requirements, please see the CLR Online section below.
We will not consider student-written Articles or Essays. We do, however, accept student-written CLR Online submissions.
III. Expedited Review
If you have received an offer from another journal and would like to request an expedited review, please do so through Scholastica. To do this, login to your Scholastica account, go to “My Manuscripts”, click on “Manage Submission” for your submission to our journal, and then click on Expedite Requests”.
Please be aware of the Review‘s policy concerning expedited reviews: If the Review makes an offer of publication for an Article, Essay, or Book Review following an expedited review, the author has only one hour from the time of actual notification in which to accept the offer. This policy does not apply to CLR Online pieces.
We appreciate if you are able to let us know if you decided to withdraw your article from consideration. You may do this through your Scholastica submissions page.
We urge you to visit our homepage for examples of recent Article, Essay, and CLR Online publications to get a better sense of the difference between the three categories. If you are getting ready to submit and have a question about which submission category is appropriate for your piece, please reach out to the relevant Executive Editor and we will do our best to provide guidance.
I. Print Publication
The Review is proud to publish both Articles and Essays in its print volumes. While Articles and Essays are distinct in substance and tone, there is no difference in citation format between the two and our editing process is the same for both Articles and Essays.
Articles tend to analyze a problem and suggest a solution. Such analysis usually articulates some background information to inform the reader, before turning to a novel argument. Along these lines, published articles regularly follow a traditional roadmap of introduction, background, analysis/argument, and conclusion, and provide a comprehensive treatment of a particular area of law. Articles tend to be formal in both the author’s tone and in the obligation to ground information and analysis in comprehensive substantive support via consistent citation.
To submit an Article, please click here, or on the button below.
Essays tend to explore novel issues. They are similar to Articles both with respect to scope and sophistication. Essays tend to differ from Articles in that they often exercise significantly more structural, stylistic, and substantive flexibility. Essay authors wield this flexibility in a wide variety of ways, with some choosing to pursue an ambitious rethinking of an entire area of law, and others choosing instead to present a provocative theory that concerns a single concept or doctrine. Essays also tend to be shorter than Articles, although they need not be.
The Review also accepts book reviews for publication. Completed book reviews are strongly preferred to book review proposals, but proposals will be considered.
To submit an Essay or Book Review, please click here, or on the button below.
II. Online Publication
Columbia Law Review Online
CLR Online is committed to publishing responses to scholarship that appears in the Review’s print edition, as well as original pieces addressing pressing and dynamic legal issues. The criteria for online publication are consistent with the Review’s standards as a leading source of legal scholarship. Given that CLR Online‘s purpose is to provide an online forum for legal discussion from a variety of perspectives, we strongly encourage authors to limit their submissions to 3,000-6,000 words (including footnotes). Submissions should also conform to the requirements (aside from word count suggestions) listed above. CLR Online pieces are published throughout the year on a continuous basis. Published content is available on Westlaw, LexisNexis, Hein, and EBSCO in addition to being permanently available online in .pdf format.
To submit a piece to CLR Online, please click here, or on the button below.