One of the many things that surprised me when I became a professor 12 years ago is the “law review game.” What happens is this: prof writes an article and sends it out to a ton of journals. Once he gets one acceptance, he then tries to “leverage it up” to “higher” journals. If he gets a higher one, then he tries again. It’s led to all sorts of things — expiring offers to publish, and so on, as well as writing that is intended to be published in journals “at the top,” which may or may not reflect what lawyers and judges want and need to read.
It’s all silly. Law students have no clue as to what is good writing, or important subjects, and so they go by labels (“ooh, a professor from harvard wrote this so it must be important” and the converse) or, imho, whether the article fits with what they’re being taught in law school (so, students at the more “theoretical” schools will think theory is what is important to “the profession,” whatever that means to them).
Of course, all scholarly work is now on line and so accessible by searching. So, placement in the sense of getting information out means absolutely nothing and, perhaps, the opposite if the “profession” includes most practicing lawyers, who read predominantly bar journals and practice-specific materials (the latter, such as “the X law school journal of law and technology” are generally not viewed by law profs as being as good as the law review of school X).
This leads to law professors trying to further their careers by openly admitting they write for a small segment of students at “high end” law reviews. Usefulness to lawyers, judges, legislators… not much of a factor.
In my own view we ought to be writing for judges and lawyers, not each other or for second year law students at Harvard.