An articles editor for a Top 20 law review writes:
I have for some time been thinking that it would be best to simply eliminate accepting paper copy submissions for [our law review]. The online system we primarily use (and where we receive the vast majority of our submissions) is far superior to paper copies. Indeed, the only thing that paper copies do from my end is give me more tedious work that cuts into the substantial time I must give to other editing responsibilities, as I must log each submission my hand. It does so while giving authors no benefit that I can see.
I thus see no point to paper copies. They only add work for absolutely no benefit. I hear, however, that some professors actually prefer sending paper copies. The only halfway decent justifications I have heard are (1) that they can send a personalized cover letter via mail (this justification makes no sense as our online system allows for the submission of cover letters); and (2) that authors think they have a better chance of getting their submission promptly reviewed because the editor who reviews paper submissions will give them a quick look when logging them into the law review's system. This latter explanation is at least plausible, but my experience is that this gives the author no advantage over online submissions, as I and other editors do the same thing with online submissions.
I write to ask for your help. I would like more information on this issue from professors. As your blog is read by a wide array of professors, I was wondering if you could put a post on your blog asking professors to comment on this issue, so I and others can get better information.
A good question; what do our law professor readers think?