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How to Publish an Academic Article in the US?

What are the essential things to consider when publishing a law academic article in the US? Here are some useful insights.

Photo by Viktor Talashuk

As a member of The Center for Legal English at Georgetown Law, I teach our yearly workshop to graduate students entitled “From a Seminar Paper to a Publication.” Here are some key takeaways to consider:

1. Follow Eugene Volokh’s timeless advice.

If you already have a final draft with a substantial length and number of citations ask yourself:

Is the topic that I am writing timely, novel, non-obvious, and useful?

Is your treatment of the topic sufficiently developed to meet the requirements of the journal? If not, what do I need to modify?

2. Check in with other experts in your field, such as colleagues or professors.

Ask for their advice on revising your paper.

Read current research on the topic if significant time has passed since you wrote the paper.

Analyze articles from the target journal to understand the style of the journal, such as the number and quality of citations, etc.

Contact the journal editors. Check submission guidelines.

3. Law article expectations.

Law journals would normally expect you to fulfill these requirements:

  • A “hook” in the title or the introduction, that engage with the reader through an accurate problematization of the issue to be discussed.
  • An abstract that summarizes your thesis and main findings.
  • A clear table of contents that allows the reader to understand how are you structuring your arguments.
  • An introduction than includes a brief thesis statement and a roadmap.
  • Frequent and significant citations following the journal’s style. Usually this should be according to the latest Bluebook edition.
  • Specific, tangible recommendations and conclusions. Especially in the US where normative scholarship predominates these days.

4. Be Aware of the Manuscript Submission Cycle.

There are specific times of the year where Law Journals will most likely review and respond to your submissions.

In the US there are normally 2 big submission cycles: 1. Late January – February. 2. Late July – August.

If you submit your piece within these time-frames you are more likely to receive a timely response from the editors.

The most recent graphic by Scholastica explains this trend:

Source: Scholastica Law Review Submission Insights: 2023 Edition

5. Enjoy the process!


One response to “How to Publish an Academic Article in the US?”

  1. “How to publish an academic article in the US?” by Sebastian Luengo-Troncoso – Georgetown Legal English Blog

    […] A great post (and new blog/website) by Sebastian Luengo-Troncoso, a Chilean lawyer and currently a doctoral (S.J.D.) candidate at Georgetown Law titled, “How to Publish an Academic Article in the US?“ […]

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