Some of my students asked: Just how likely is it that I can get my article published outside a home-school journal? I did some research on recent publications by UCLA law school graduates, and I thought I'd pass it along.
I'd expect that students at some schools publish more, because of the culture of the school and the type of students the schol draws (Yale would be a likely guess here); and students at other schools publish less. But my guess is that, to the extent this shows what UCLA students can do, students at other schools can do, too, especially if they circulate their articles widely enough.
1. In the seven classes from '00 to '06, at least 29 UCLA law students published articles in other schools' journals either the year they graduated (or before), or the year after. Most of the articles published the year they graduated or earlier (22 articles) were probably circulated before the students graduated. Most of the articles published the year after (7 articles) were probably circulated right after the students graduated.
2. For the benefit of those readers who have the usual lawyer affection for arithmetic, let me mention that this is about 3 articles per year from current students, plus 1 article per year from the just-graduated.
3. A little over half the articles (17) were published in specialy journals, such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy and the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, the Journal of Medicine and the Law, and the like.
4. A little under half the articles (12) were published in general-purpose journals, ranging from one article in UC Davis (top 50) and two articles in USF (second 50) down to the third tier (Cleveland State) and lower-ranked schools (Franklin Pierce, Willamette, Western States, Cal Western, and University of West L.A.).
5. This is likely an underestimate; I searched for author's notes that said something like "JD, UCLA, 2003" (though I crafted the search to be more inclusive than that) -- if an author omitted his year of graduation from the note, the article wouldn't have come up.
6. What fraction of articles that were circulated got placed? Impossible to tell, since we don't know how many people tried to get their articles published. But my sense is that if your article is good and you distribute it widely (talk to me if you'd like to know how widely), chances are that you'll get at least one acceptance; some articles get several, and you can choose the best.
7. Finally, of course use these numbers for comparison -- your mileage may differ, especially since it depends on how good your article is, something no statistical analysis can tell us.