I have seen this question discussed in general on a number of blogs, but I am particularly interested in what empirical legal scholars thought about the benefits and detriments of both types of publishing outlets. To some degree, your views may turn on what your institution rewards (law reviews or peer reviewed journals), but there is also the matter of what journals you find publishing in most rewarding personally and intellectually. While there is increasing cross-over in both publishing and reading in the two camps, I think that you do make an important decision about the potential audience for your work when you choose one over the other.
This being said, there are a number of what are reasonbly considered law review outlets that are peer reviewed or refereed. In reviewing John Doyle's excellent law review rankings and submissions webpage, I count over 200 law outlets that are refereed, including the Supreme Court Review, Journal of Legal Studies, American Business Law Journal, Law & Society Review, and the Journal of Empirical Studies, among others. Of course, there are a multitude of other referreed outlets in discplines such as political science, economics, criminology, public administration, and sociology, to name just a few.
I would be interested in hearing what others think about the relative advantages and disadvantages of publishing in student edited law reviews vs. peer reviewed journals. Here are what I believe to be some the advantages of each:
Student edited law reviews:
1) Simultaneous submission. Perhaps nothing is more annoying than having to wait six months or more for the slow wheels of the peer review to render a verdict - and then on to the next journal for another slow, nail-biting wait. The sequential process of peer review is especially hard on untenured people, for whom timing is very important.
2) A larger, and more diverse audience. This might be arguable, but I believe that most will at least agree that law review exposure usually brings you a new audience for your ideas, relative to the rather limited audience of some social science disciplines.
3) Greater academic freedom. There, I said it. For whatever reason, it seems that the peer review process somehow tends to limit the type of questions that people think are "interesting," and therefore worthy of publication. It is my impression that law reviews are more open to different approaches and new research topics. I'm quite sure that many will disagree with me on this point.
Peer Reviewed Journals
1) A more rigorous review process. There, I said it. I think that good things can come from having peers review your work and I believe that many of my publications are much better because of the peer review process. Further, with regard to ELS, some may question the capability of student editors to assess high level empirical methods. That being said, it is my understanding that informal networks of peer review in legal academia go a long way toward addressing this concern.
2) A blind review process. I've seen some discussion on the lack of blind review with regard to law review publishing and I think that the "academic celebrity factor" in law review publication decision making is a bit hard to deny. Balkin and Levinson's witty and insightful article "How To Win Cites and Influence People" is especially revealing on the law review publication process and gaining citation. To be sure, the blindness of the review process in refereed journals is perhaps open to question and the development of internet search engines hasn't helped this concern.
3) It keeps you humble. I really couldn't think of a good third advantage, but I wanted to mantain symmetry of the categories. However, peer review certainly does keep you grounded - nothing like a blistering (and insightful) review to remind you that you don't know everything.
I'm sure that you all will have plenty to say about this. If I have offended people from both sides equally ... well then, my job is done. So, in the words of Saturday Night Live's Mike Myers, playing his mother-in-law, here's the topic ... "Refereed vs. Student Edited" .... talk amongst yourselves.