The Top Three Law Reviews Strongly Prefer Articles Under 25,000 Words. But Their Articles Consistently Exceed 25,000 Words.
In 2005, eleven top law reviews signed a joint statement regarding articles length: Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, Texas, Penn, Virginia, and Yale. The statement explained that “The vast majority of law review articles can effectively convey their arguments within the range of 40-70 law review pages, and any impression that law reviews only publish or strongly prefer lengthier articles should be dispelled.” As far as I know, no journal has abjured that statement. Several journals still link to it on their submission pages.
Today, the top three law journals make specific requests about article length. Do the journals actually adhere to their limits? To answer this question, I created a spreadsheet that lists all of the articles published in the Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, and Stanford Law Review between 2010 and 2020. (I only included articles, and excluded essays and student notes). For each article, I recorded the page-count, as well as the word count. None of these journals come close to their requests.
Yale Law Journal
The Yale Law Journal General Submissions Guide
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