The Best Time To Submit Publications This Spring

Contrary to popular belief, according to The Yale Law Journal data, the best time to submit publications in the spring cycle may be late February or even early March.

The Yale Law Journal reviewed its submissions data and found that the Journal’s experience is consistent with anecdotal reports that the spring submissions cycle is increasingly front-loaded, with a growing percentage of pieces submitted in the first half of February. However, this trend has not carried into the fall cycle, where submission ratios have remained relatively consistent across recent volumes.

The prevailing wisdom in the spring cycle appears to be “submit early.” However, from the Journal’s perspective, this approach does not offer any appreciable advantage.

[O]f the dozen or so publication offers that the Journal makes in the spring cycle, historically a majority have been made in March or later.

Also, authors should know about a possible downside to submitting early in the spring cycle: slower review times. The front-loaded cycle places a significant strain on the Articles & Essays Committee, and in most instances it takes several days—perhaps even a week—before an editor first reviews a new submission

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As mentioned over at the PrawfsBlawg when discussing the downside to submitting early, [a] more plausible and interesting possibility [rather than the strain it places] is that early submissions are disadvantaged because novice editors are not only deluged with submissions but relatively risk averse. At the start of the process, editors may be holding out hope for The Perfect Article and feel afraid of recommending acceptance of pieces that their colleagues or academic reviewers will regard as rubbish. By contrast, late-cycle editors know what kind of article they like and have a better sense of what is left in the by-then dwindling pool of submissions. 

Food for thought during the upcoming submission cycle.

Need Help with a Research Assignment? Chat With A Librarian!

Ask a Librarian

Are you having trouble formulating a research strategy? Not sure what resources to use? Wondering what are the reference or circulation desk hours? Cannot find the document needed?

You can get real-time help regardless of location—at home, on campus, at a favorite coffee shop, or in a study room.

To access a chat session: Go to the “Ask a Librarian” on the Library’s website and type in your question in the Chat box. A research librarian will help you.

Chat Hours:

Monday- Thursday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

CALI Lessons

During the course of the semester, you may want to take advantage of CALI lessons to help you prepare for exams. CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction)tnt_legalpapers_6_logo includes tutorials that are created by law school faculty for students. There are over 50 web-based lessons covering more than 35 law school subjects. Texas Tech University School of Law is a member of CALI, so the lessons are available to you.

If you haven’t already done so, here’s how you can set up a CALI account:

1. Get the authorization code for Tech Law.

  • You can do this by stopping by the Law Library’s reference & information desk and asking for a CALI card.
  • Or, you can also retrieve it online via the Law Library’s Electronic Resources page, alphabetically listed under CALI.

2. Once you have the code, go to http://www.cali.org and, on the right side of the screen, click the link for “Register.”

3. Complete the registration process, which will require you to create your own username and password, in addition to entering your CALI authorization code.

Once you have registered with CALI, you will have full access to all of their resources. You can search for lessons in a variety of ways, including by topic and by casebook.

Laptops in the Classroom

The most recent in a string of articles discussing the effects of laptops in the classroom was recently published in the Winter 2016 volume of The National Jurist. The study referenced in the article, entitled “The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of coffee-apple-iphone-laptopLonghand Over Laptop Note Taking,” compared performance between students taking their notes by hand versus those who typed their notes. The study concluded that, while the efficiency of typing appeals to many students, computers are a detriment to student absorption of information.

According to another study by the University of Louisville Law Review, nearly 90 percent of students using laptops during a class are engaging in online activities unrelated to the class at some point during class—whether it be email, instant messaging, shopping, or checking out their fantasy football league standings. But, even when internet is not an option and they are just using their laptops for note taking purposes, their learning may still be impaired because they are not processing the information. By taking handwritten notes, students are forced to listen carefully and analyze what the most important pieces of information are. This process is called “encoding” and is the key to cementing learning—and it doesn’t happen when students are just transcribing what the professor says.

So should we ban all laptops? Not necessarily. Some classes make use of technology during class and many students get nervous trying to take notes without their computers. However, it might be worth informing students that they may be doing a disservice to themselves by choosing to use their computers in the classroom.

Access to State Bar of Texas CLE Materials

The State Bar of Texas provides electronic access to their digital collection of CLE materials at no charge to the faculty, staff, and students of Texas ABA accredited law schools.

CLE1

  1. To access these materials, go to http://www.texasbarcle.com.
  2. Click “Online Library” (on left menu).
    1. Click Subscribe Now! (on upper right).  OR –
  3. Click on “Subscribe to the Library” (in the center).
  4. On the Login/Registration screen, look under the blue LOG IN button. Click on the blue Click here link next to New User?                                                                                                          CLE2
  5. You’re now on the Web Site Registration screen.
  6. If you’re a member of the Texas Bar, fill in your name and bar card number, click GO (and you should be able to skip the rest of these instructions).
  7. If you’re not a member of the Texas Bar, look under the blue Go button and click on the blue click here (If you have a pop up blocker, turn it off.)                                                      CLE3
  8. Fill out the CLE Profile form and click on Save
  9. You will be back at the Login screen. Type in your Email address and the password you set up in step 6.
  10. You need to accept the Online Library Agreement and you have to affirm that you are a full-time faculty member/student affiliated with a Texas ABA-accredited law school.                                                                                                                                                         CLE4
  11.  You will automatically get a pop up window that asks you to Affirm that you Qualify as a current faculty. Click on I Affirm I Qualify.                                                                                CLE5
  12. You’ll see the message that your subscription has been activated. Click the gray link for Search the Library.                                                                                                         CLE6
  13. If you aren’t sure what you are looking for you can click the “View listing of courses for selected years” instead of trying to use the Search function. You will be able to browse the CLE courses for the one you want.                                                                    CLE7
  14. After selecting the CLE course you are interested, click the name of the course (i.e. Immigration Law 101). You will be taken to a listing of the contents included for that course, where you can pick and choose which chapters/articles you wish to read.          CLE8

If you have any questions or need assistance with anything, please contact one of the Law Librarians.  We would be happy to help you.

Peanut Butter and Jelly…and a Demo program is back!

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Starting Wednesday, January 27th from 11a.m.-1:15p.m., you can come by the Creative Commons (1st floor west side Law Library) and make your own FREE peanut butter and jelly sandwich and see a quick demo!

This week we will help you find out how to contact a Reference Librarian when you have questions! Alyson Drake, our new Student Services Librarian will be there as well.

We will have this program every other Wednesday during the spring semester!

Choosing a Writing Reference Guide

Whether you’re a master wordsmith with a hundred publications or a struggling student who has trouble keeping the active and passive voices straight, you will at some point find yourself either struggling with how to properly structure a sentence, use a word, or drop in punctuation. For those times, it’s a good idea to have a reference guide of some sort. With the new semester starting, students will soon be writing memos, briefs, and seminar papers, and faculty will be diving into the spring submission season, so getting a good reference guide is fairly timely.

First off, getting a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. is not a bad place to start, though it’s not a cure-all. The original text, published in 1918, is considered the authoritative statement on English usage, even if there has been resistance to it in recent years. There have also been updates to it over the last century. The most well-known version is the “Updated and Expanded” edition written by E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web and other stories, which is commercially available through a number of sources (and in its 5th edition). However, the original Strunk text is public domain and available freely on the web in a number of locations. John W. Cowan, a computer programmer who codifies the syntax of programming languages, maintains an updated version of Strunk’s text on his website.

Moving on from The Elements of Style, there are hundreds of guides, publications, tip sheets, and so on with writing, grammar, punctuation, and style advice. I can’t possibly review all of them here, as each writer has their own needs. Instead, let’s assess your needs with the following questions:

  1. What is your general proficiency level? If you are a highly proficient writer, you’re probably good just picking up a fairly mechanical reference book (for academic writers, your fields’ publication manual may be sufficient). If you’re moderately proficient, you’ll want something that’s thorough, but written for more advanced writers. If you struggle at the basic level, consider some of the books written by the test prep companies, as they have exercises and tips targeted towards struggling writers.
  2. What do you struggle with? If you’re struggling at the sentence level (grammar, punctuation), then you’ll want to focus on guides on proper usage. Punctuation and grammar handbooks abound, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble. If you struggle with putting sentences together into paragraphs or sets of paragraphs, you’ll want to find a guide that helps with broader organization and composition. If you write technically sound compositions that fail to be persuasive or impactful, then you may want to consider guides on rhetoric.
  3. What are you trying to write? If you’re struggling at the most basic level, then this question should wait until you’re more comfortable with the ins and outs of general composition. For those who are more advanced, however, this can be a big question. The practices for journalism, fiction writing, and legal writing can be quite different, so you may want to consider a style guide appropriate to what you’re trying to write. For legal writing, there are three books you may want to consider:
    • The Redbook, by Bryan A. Garner — This style guide for legal documents contains extensive guides on usage, grammar, punctuation, style, and formatting, and also includes the specifics on a number of document formats. Currently in its 3d Edition, published by West (978-0-314-28901-8)
    • Academic Legal Writing, by Eugene Volokh — This guide is a little more advanced, and is geared towards those writing seminar papers, law review articles, and other works of scholarship. It’s relatively cheap (around $30 on most online retailers), and has advice from the word-level to the rhetorical-level, as well as tips for finding topics and getting on law review. Currently in its 4th Edition, published by Foundation Press (978-1-59941-750-9)
    • Making Your Case, by Bryan A. Garner and Antonin Scalia — This book is about argumentation, and specifically about the forms of argumentation in the process of a legal case. If you’re fine with the general mechanics of writing, but are having difficulty being persuasive, this is probably a good place to start. Published by Thomson West (978-0-314-18471-9)

Have questions? Feel free to contact me or the Office of Academic Success and we’d be happy to help!