The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Free Speech

Good Batch of Recent Submissions to Journal of Free Speech Law—but We're Looking for More

And we can publish them much more quickly than most major law reviews would.


We've gotten a lot more submissions to the Journal of Free Speech Law over the last month and a half than we had been getting before, and we've just accepted two of them (and are still considering a third): one of the accepted articles is on the history of Beauharnais v. Illinois (the group libel case), and the other is on shifts in the Chinese government's approaches to speech regulation, both at home and abroad. But of course we'd love to see more submissions, including of course traditional U.S.-focused doctrinal and theoretical work—which has been the bulk of what we've published so far—as well as empirical articles and pretty much anything else that deals with free speech questions. And we're glad to publish articles on statutory, regulatory, common-law, and state constitutional free speech rules and not just on First Amendment questions.

As we've noted before, the journal is peer-reviewed, and now two years old. It has published dozens of articles, including by Jack Balkin (Yale), Mark Lemley (Stanford), Jeremy Waldron (NYU), Cynthia Estlund (NYU, forthcoming within a week or so), Christopher Yoo (Penn), Danielle Citron (Virginia), and many others—both prominent figures in the field and emerging young scholars (including ones who didn't have a tenure-track academic appointment).

If you or some colleagues are planning to submit articles on free speech to the usual law reviews when the submission cycle begins in February, just submit them exclusively to us before that. We will give you an answer within 14 days (our guarantee, which we have so far never broken); and then if you'd like to have it published quickly, we can publish it in within several weeks, if it's sufficiently clean and cite-checked by your research assistant. (We can also have it cite-checked for you by one of our student staffers, but that takes a bit longer.) This means your article can be published by us, if it's accepted, almost a year (or more) before it would be published by the law journals.

Please pass this along to friends or colleagues who you think might be interested. Note that the submissions don't compete for a limited number of slots in an issue or volume; we'll publish articles that satisfy our quality standards whenever we get them.

All submissions must be exclusive to us, but, again, you'll have an answer within 14 days, so you'll be able to submit elsewhere if we say no. Please submit an anonymized draft, together with at A few guidelines:

  • Instead of a cover letter, please submit at most one page (and preferably just a paragraph or two) explaining how your article is novel. If there is a particular way of showing that (e.g., it's the first article to discuss how case X and doctrine Y interact), please let us know.
  • Please submit articles single-spaced, in a proportionally spaced font.
  • Please make sure that the Introduction quickly and clearly explains the main claims you are making.
  • Please avoid extended background sections reciting familiar Supreme Court precedents or other well-known matters. We prefer articles that get right down to the novel material (if necessary, quickly explaining the necessary legal principles as they go).
  • Each article should be as short as possible, and as long as necessary.
  • Like everyone else, we like simple, clear, engaging writing.
  • We are open to student-written work, and we evaluate it under the same standards applicable to work written by others.

We publish:

  1. Articles that say something we don't already know.
  2. Articles with all sorts of approaches: doctrinal, theoretical, historical, empirical, or otherwise.
  3. Articles dealing with speech, press, assembly, petition, or expression more broadly.
  4. Generally not articles purely focused on the Free Exercise Clause or Establishment Clause, except if they also substantially discuss religious speech.
  5. Articles about the First Amendment, state constitutional free speech provisions, federal and state statutes, common-law rules, and regulations protecting or restricting speech, or private organizations' speech regulations.
  6. Articles about U.S. law, foreign law, comparative law, or international law.
  7. Both big, ambitious work and narrower material.
  8. Articles that are useful to the academy, to the bench, or to the bar (or if possible, to all three).
  9. Articles arguing for broader speech protection, narrower speech protection, or anything else.