Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the difference between NULR Online and Colloquy?
A. Colloquy was the original name of Northwestern University Law Review's online companion to its print issues. The name changed in 2014 to Northwestern University Law Review Online (commonly referred to as NULR Online). While essays published during the Colloquy-era retain a distinct periodical abbreviation for citation purposes, NULR Online and Colloquy are otherwise one and the same.
Q. How often does NULR Online publish scholarship?
A. At present, we aim to publish two or three essays per month, in addition to our podcast series. This rate may increase or decrease throughout the year.
Q. What is the difference between NULR Online essays and essays in print journals?
A. NULR Online focuses on publishing timely pieces in a format that is accessible to expert as well as lay readers. As such, our essays are generally shorter than a traditional essay in a print journal. While NULR Online welcomes essay submissions with word counts of up to 10,000 (inclusive of footnotes), typical essays are between 3,000-6,000 words and an ideal NULR Online essay is between 3,000-4,500 words. NULR Online also discourages excessive use of footnotes and instead encourages authors to use footnotes primarily to provide necessary support for assertions made in the text of their essays. This unique style not only makes our pieces more colloquial, it also allows for a quicker editing process. Thus, the time from submission to publication is generally much shorter than it would be for a print journal.
Q. Are NULR Online (and Colloquy) pieces available on WESTLAW or LEXIS?
A. All essays are currently available on WESTLAW and LEXIS.
Q. What is the format for citations to pieces published in NULR Online?
A. The format for citing NULR Online essays is [Author], [Title], [Volume] Nw. U. L. Rev. Online [First Page] ([Year]), [url]. For example:
Jessie Hill, Ties that Bind? The Questionable Consent Justification for Hosanna-Tabor, 109 Nw. U. L. Rev. Online 91 (2014), http://www.law.northwestern.edu/lawreview/online/2014/16/hill.pdf.
For a NULR Online (or Colloquy) essay that is reprinted in the print Law Review, the format is the same except that it also includes a parallel citation to the physical journal. For example:
David McGowan, What Tool Works Tells Us About Tailoring Patent Misuse Remedies,
102 Nw. U. L. Rev. 421 (2007); 101 Nw. U. L. Rev. Colloquy 208 (2007), http://www.law.northwestern.edu/lawreview/Colloquy/2007/16/.
Q. What is the editing process for publishing pieces in NULR Online?
A. All pieces receive a thorough substantive edit, a source and citation check, and a final edit for technical issues and formatting. Thus, readers can be assured that pieces published in NULR Online have received the same careful treatment as pieces in the print journal—the only difference is the speed with which NULR Online pieces go from submission to publication.
NULR Online essays can be published in as little as a month, with the average timeline ranging from six to eight weeks. The speed of the process depends on the author's interest in haste, the author's willingness to review editorial suggestions quickly, and the availability of open NULR Online slots.
Q. What is the submission window for NULR Online essays?
A. We accept submissions on a continual basis. There is no window for submissions, as we review and publish pieces year-round. In most cases, we strive to accept or reject submissions within two weeks after submission, although in high-volume periods the process typically takes longer.
Q. How can someone locate a piece in NULR Online?
A. We regularly have visitors who find our site while using a search engine to try to locate information on legal questions. Additionally, if someone enters a NULR Online citation, or its author and title into a search engine, it will take her there directly. Our archives can also be browsed chronologically. Finally, NULR Online content is available on WESTLAW and LEXIS, meaning NULR Online pieces can be located in exactly the same way as most other major legal scholarship.
Q. If I publish with NULR Online, will that be considered "real" scholarship?
A. Yes. Unlike some other online projects of legal journals, NULR Online is not published in a magazine-style format, nor is it a reactionary supplement to the Law Review. Rather, NULR Online is an extension of the Law Review itself, subject to the same standards of quality, but able to take advantage of new technologies in order to publish faster and in a more publicly-accessible and interactive format. NULR Online essays are different from, but certainly not inferior to, traditional Law Review articles and essays—to which the impressive list of authors that we have published in our short history attests. Only the timeliness, conciseness, and overall accessibility of NULR Online essays distinguish them from pieces in the Law Review.
Web publication is a powerful tool. It allows us to publish with great speed in a format that is instantly available around the world. It enables us to maintain an interactive space for scholarly discussion where scholars and laypersons can engage in back-and-forth exchanges. Here, people can discuss emerging legal issues or engage in dialogues within weeks of having an idea, as opposed to the traditional lag of more than a year between the inception of an idea and its publication.
We view these new technologies as the future of legal publication. Based on a survey we conducted, an increasing number of scholars read and locate scholarship primarily through electronic media, with print serving a less important role. Indeed, much of the content produced by traditional print journals is now accessed mainly in digital formats. Nevertheless, law reviews at all schools follow a publication model that is more than a hundred years old. Through NULR Online, we have been developing a new paradigm of legal publication—one that is faster, more openly accessible, and far more interactive than what was done previously.
Q. What steps can I take to maximize the chances that my submission will be accepted?
A. First, have something worthwhile to say. The single most important factor in our acceptance decisions is whether the author is making a useful contribution to legal discussion and thought.
Second, be clear and concise. We are firmly committed to the idea that a piece can simultaneously be thoughtful, clear, and brief. Give only as much background as is necessary for a reader to follow your argument, and make sure that your piece is organized so that it is easy to read. To this end, try to use footnotes sparingly, and keep them brief, as they can be more disruptive to an online reader than they would be in a print publication.
Third, cite your piece to open-access sources, especially sources available on the Internet, as much as possible. We prefer citations that we can follow up with links, enabling our readers to instantly navigate to source material. Also, given that our editing timeline is much faster than a print journal, we find that relying on sometimes lengthy inter-library loans to check sources can bog down the process. If you must cite sources that are not readily available, we prefer that you submit electronic copies of those sources to us for our use in the source-and-cite process.
Fourth, consider writing a critique of previously published scholarship in the Law Review, whether the prior scholarship was in the print journal or NULR Online. We enjoy publishing such pieces, and consider them with special care whenever we receive them.
Finally, consider getting other authors involved in creating a dialogue with you on an interesting topic. We are committed to the idea that interactivity and dialogue are key ways of developing and refining legal ideas. We publish both single-author pieces and multi-person dialogues, but we have a special interest in the latter. We encourage authors to submit a proposal for a dialogue-based set of pieces.