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This is a question for legal academics, or anyone who has been published. I wrote a paper this past semester that was marked well, to which the professor noted that it was a highly original thesis and area of scholarship. It wasn't discussed then, but I'm wondering if I it is possible to get this paper published? For anyone who has been published in the legal field, what is the submissions process like? I don't want to sound totally delusional if my paper is indeed trash.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, capitalttruth said:

This is a question for legal academics, or anyone who has been published. I wrote a paper this past semester that was marked well, to which the professor noted that it was a highly original thesis and area of scholarship. It wasn't discussed then, but I'm wondering if I it is possible to get this paper published? For anyone who has been published in the legal field, what is the submissions process like? I don't want to sound totally delusional if my paper is indeed trash.

Yeah, it's possible. I've been published in a couple journals; it isn't complicated. You have many options. You can publish in a journal or as part of a compendium on a particular topic. You can contribute to a blog. You can make your own blog.

What your ultimate goal is, how quickly you want to published, and where and what kind of audience you're looking for is kind of up to you, and you should do that research yourself. You may find better help from the prof who liked it. You should ask them. They may have connections to a publication.

Even without the prof's help, the submissions process is not complicated. Find reputable publications seeking content. Then you send them a copy of your thing. If they want to publish they will and if they need you to change it, they will give you a review and feedback and ask you to do so. A lot of publications accept rolling submissions--meaning your paper might not get in the next edition, or the one after that, but they'll keep it in the bank until they have space and it's appropriate. But that can take time. Which is why you submit broadly.

Good luck. Talk to your prof.

Edited by FineCanadianFXs
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Posted (edited)

If you're looking to be published in one of the school-affiliated academic journals, I can say that the Journal I worked on the past couple of years puts every submission through a couple of rounds of review before the final decision to publish. The first round is an internal review conducted by student-editors at the journal and it's mainly a check for the logical coherence of your argument and how much editing work the paper will require before it's ready to be published. The second round is an external review completed by scholars and practitioners in the field. This is to ensure that the paper is well situated in the literature in the area in the sense that it presents an original perspective and addresses any issues that might arise. The paper also needs to acknowledge similar works and show that it's done a thorough review of the existing scholarship. 

The second-round external review is where most student papers that I've seen trip up. The reason is because for most people writing a paper for a course, they might look at the most relevant sources for their topic, but fail to extend their search into a really thorough review of all the existing research in the area. Student papers often present an original perspective but we often have to ask the student to revise and resubmit pending further research on the subject. In my three-years working on the journal, we've only accepted 2 student papers. For some perspective, we rejected papers from SCC clerks and papers that won CBA essay writing contests. 

My advice would be to get more feedback from your Professor about your paper to see if there's other sources you should review which (a) may need to be addressed in your paper to demonstrate that you've thoroughly considered the existing perspectives on the topic and (b) might further refine your argument. They might also suggest you to further limit the scope of your paper to avoid potentially contentious claims that could cause problems for you down the line. If they're willing to take you on for an ISP to further expand your paper or if they're willing to co-author a related piece with you, that would also help your chances. I definitely don't want to discourage you from submitting because it's actually really important to the law journals to provide students the opportunity to publish. Good luck with your submission and I hope it works out! 

Edited by QMT20
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Your best best will be a student-run law review. Not gonna lie, we receive a lot of papers that were probably A+ papers in a seminar, but really don't cut it in terms of scholarship. That being said, it's still a good idea to submit, because either 1) your submission is accepted, or 2) you find out where you went wrong in the feedback. I'd also echo the advice to reach out to the prof. He/she might have a better idea of whether the paper is ready for publication, where it needs work, and whether you should be aiming at student-run law reviews or academic journals. Lastly, be careful about "submitting broadly." Many journals do not allow you to submit a paper if you've submitted it somewhere else. Every journal will have guidelines on things like this on its website.

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