- Table of contents
- Citing Judicial Opinions ... in Brief
- Citing Constitutional and Statutory Provisions ... in Brief
- Citing Agency Material ... in Brief
- The Bluebook
- ALWD Citation Manual
- Purposes of Legal Citation
- Types of Citation Principles
- Levels of Mastery
- Citation in Transition
- Who Sets Citation Norms
- Electronic Resources
- Judicial Opinions
- Constitutions & Statutes
- Agency & Exec. Material
- Court Rules
- Law Journal Writing
- Case Documents
- Words in Case Names
- Case Histories
- Omissions in Case Names
- Reporters & Courts
- Spacing & Periods
- In Citations
- Items Not Italicized
- Citations & Related Text
- Short Form Citations
- Tables of Authorities
- Changes in The Bluebook
- Table: Bluebook
- Table: ALWD Manual
- Table: State-Specific Practices
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- A Bluebook Guide for Law Students
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Case Citation (Rule 10)
- Statutory Citation (Rule 12)
- Citing Articles
- Citing Books & Treaties
- Electronic Resources (Rule 18)
- Advanced/Other Areas
- Topical Indexes to Rules
- Books/Aids on the Bluebook
If you can suggest any other FAQs, please feel free to e-mail [email protected] .
Q: What does it mean when the Bluebook says “article in consecutively paginated journal” - and when does it apply?
The short answer - in general, you do not have to worry. When an issue or volume is numbered from its first page to the last in sequential order, then it is consecutively paginated. An issue or volume may contain multiple articles, editorials, etc., within that same issue or volume. Thus, when citing to that particular article in a consecutively paginated journal, the page cite will be from that issue or volume's page range. Thus, you will not have to additionally cite to a sub-issue or quarterly edition. Follow Rule 16.3
A volume has two issues with the first containing pages 1 to 180 and the second issue containing pages 181 to 370. This is a consecutively paginated volume. When citing an article in the volume, give the page number but not the issue number.
If each issue in a volume begins at page 1, then the volume is non-consecutively paginated. Thus, in your citation you will need to indicate the issue as it appears on the cover. See Rule 16.5 for details.
See also Newspapers.
Q: What do I end a citation with?
Unless the citation is a citation clause, every citation, whether in a footnote or in a brief, must end with a period. As a sentence by itself, it must also be separated by the next sentence by two spaces.
Also see What's the difference between a citation sentence, citation clause and textual reference?
For periods when citing to other court documents in a brief, see the Court Document section.
Q: What's the difference between a citation sentence, citation clause and textual reference?
Citation sentence: A citation sentence is used when the citation refers to the entire preceding textual sentence. Begin with a capital and end with a period.
Citation clause: Use a citation clause when differing parts of one sentence require a citation. Set off with commas, unless it ends a sentence, then end with a period. For party name abbreviation rules, it is the same as a citation sentence.
Textual reference: When referring to a case by name alone, underline and cite fully with a citation sentence or citation clause.
In the Colyer case Judge Anderson determined that mere membership in the communist party was not a threat to the country. Colyer v. Skeffington , 265 F. 17 (1920). Judge Anderson was later overruled on the communist issue, Skeffington v. Katzeff , 277 F. 129 (1922), but his decision and reasoning was often later cited. Galvan v. Press , 347 U.S. 522 (1954); Bovinas v. Savoretti , 146 F. Supp. 274 (1956).
In the above example, the first Colyer is a textual reference. The Skeffington is a citation clause. The last is a citation sentence.
Q: What is a regional reporter?
Q: how do i create "small caps", q: what is a pinpoint cite, and when do i have to do one, q: what is the "present participle".
A present participle is usually used in conjunction with the verb 'to be,' and should indicate an action that is in process and incomplete.
The professor was lecturing.
The author was reading his new bluebook guide.
Explanatory parenthetical in the bluebook usually begin with present participles. Examples include, but are not limited too, "questioning," "stating," "examining," etc.
Smith v. Jones , 345 Mass. 222 (1990) (questioning the relevancy of DNA evidence).
Smith v. Jones , 345 Mass. 222 (1990) (denying motion to dismiss).
Smith v. Jone s, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) (elaborating on historical precedents).
Q: What typeface conventions should I use?
The Bluebook requires two typeface conventions depending on what the text is being used for. For Law Reviews consult Rule 2, and for Court Documents/Legal Memoranda consult Bluepages [Rule 2]. Be sure to check with local rules for Court Documents in case they differ.
The main differences are as follows.
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The Second Draft - Volume 34, No. 1
The folly of the embedded full citation: how the bluebook and alwd manuals encourage weak legal writing download pdf.
The two most prominent citation manuals for legal writing, the Bluebook and the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, tell us that we may place full citations to legal authority in a separate citation sentence or citation clause , or that we may embed them as a grammatical element of a textual sentence . In addition, we may sometimes refer to an authority by name in the text of a sentence without a citation, typically deferring the citation to a citation sentence that follows.
For a writer’s first and full citation to authority, the third option—the embedded citation—is a dubious choice at best, and beginning legal writers would benefit greatly from never embedding full citations into textual sentences. That’s right— never . The folly of the embedded citation shows up in examples in both the Bluebook and ALWD, and both manuals would do legal writers, especially beginning legal writers, a big favor by expressly discouraging its use for full citations. Moreover, each manual should remove or revise its examples of embedded full citations and textual case references that open with the clunky “In [full case name]” phrasing.
Consider first this example from ALWD Rule 34.1(c), the embedded citation rule: In International Shoe Co. v. Washington , 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945), the Court held that if the defendant was not present in the forum, due process required that he have certain minimum contacts with that forum .
Often, a writer relies on a case for the first time (thereby requiring a full citation) in the topic sentence of a paragraph introducing a new idea—here, the minimum-contacts rule. However, as legal-writing textbooks appropriately point out, paragraphs should be organized around legal principles, not cases . As a topic sentence, the ALWD example fails this tenet of organization. The point of this topic sentence should not be the case as much as the legal principle: where a defendant is not present in the forum, due process requires minimum contacts. The embedded full citation distracts from the legal principle and requires adding the excess words “the Court held that.” Hence, a more concise and effective version would defer the full citation to a citation sentence, as follows:
Where a defendant is not present in the forum, due process requires that he have certain minimum contacts with that forum. Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) .
A rule-based topic sentence without an embedded citation works well precisely because of, not in spite of, the absence of the case name and citation from the textual sentence. The transition to the new paragraph is much smoother without the clunky “In [case name]” opening , and any trained legal reader would know from the separate citation sentence following the textual sentence that the stated proposition is supported by a Supreme Court opinion.
While textual references to full case names without citations avoid the distraction of the embedded citation, they still present the risk of the misguided “In [case name]” sentence opening. ALWD provides this dubious example in Rule 2.3, which governs references to cases in textual sentences:
In Performance Coal Co. v. Federal Mine & Health Review Commission, the court disagreed with the government’s interpretation of the statute .
The stronger option would be to lead with the actor (the court) and its action (disagreed):
The court has disagreed with the government’s interpretation of the statute. Performance Coal Co. v. Federal Mine & Health Review Comm’n [with citation].
In some circumstances, an experienced writer might want to highlight the identity of the deciding court and the name of the case—for example, in referencing well-known Supreme Court authority in a brief. The writer should still avoid a fully embedded citation, which hinders the flow of the sentence, and instead open the sentence with the actor and action—“The Court held.” Returning to the earlier example citing International Shoe , the following use of a textual case reference would suffice:
The Court held in International Shoe Co. v. Washington that, if the defendant was not present in the forum, due process requires that he have certain minimum contacts with that forum. 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945).
Shifting to the Bluebook, here is an example of a dubiously embedded full citation appearing in the Bluepages:
In Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 366 N.E.2d 1271 (N.Y. 1977), the court applied the diminution in value rule .
The citation reveals that Penn Central is a case from New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals . Let’s presume that this is the writer’s first reference to the diminution in value rule, and the writer is pointing out in an inter-office memo that this is the rule a lower court will apply. The sentence needs to be restructured to focus on that rule and not on the case.
The court will apply the diminution in value rule. See Penn Central Transp. Co. v. City of New York, 366 N.E.2d 1271 (N.Y. 1977).
A writer wishing to focus on the identity of the decisional court could choose phrasing like the following:
The Court of Appeals has applied the diminution in value rule. Penn Central Transp. Co. v. City of New York , 366 N.E.2d 1271 (N.Y. 1977).
Unfortunately, by endorsing the embedded full citation and presenting clunky and wordy examples of its use, both ALWD and the Bluebook are encouraging inexperienced legal writers to do what is already their wont: embrace the safety of the immediate case reference in the textual sentence and avoid firmly asserting a rule. While ALWD does suggest that writers “ may prefer to edit sentences to avoid using embedded citations ,” it still endorses their use. The Bluebook does an even greater disservice in this realm by establishing through rules 10.2.1 and 10.2.2 a sort of false equivalence between full case citations embedded in textual sentences (where, as argued in this article, they almost always do not belong) and in citation sentences or clauses (where they almost always do belong). The Bluepages for practitioners similarly advance this false equivalence.
To be clear, subsequent references to a case, where a short-form citation would be appropriate, can usually appear in a textual sentence without a problem. By way of example, the second sentence after the topic sentence introducing the minimum contacts rule could appropriately begin with “In International Shoe , the Court . . .,” and then provide more specifics of the application of the minimum contacts rule in that case. A citation sentence with a short-form citation (326 U.S. at 316) would follow.
Embedded full citations to statutes and other non-case authorities are also problematic, albeit less so when the citation is shorter than a typical case citation . Consider the following example from the fifth edition of the ALWD Guide:
The statute of limitations for such actions is one year as provided by 49 U.S.C. § 16(3)(f) .
The better and less wordy alternative would be—
The statute of limitations for such actions is one year. 49 U.S.C. § 16(3)(f).
In the sixth edition, the ALWD authors provide the following option, which, in an appropriate context, would be acceptable:
The court’s opinion quoted 49 U.S.C. § 16(3)(f) (2012) as authority for the one-year statute of limitations.
Beginning and experienced legal writers often overlook the ways in which embedded full citations—especially embedded full case citations—lead to wordy sentences that highlight legal authority instead of the legal principle for which that authority is being cited. Many legal writing professors actively discourage their students from cluttering their textual sentences with unnecessary citation information, but these lessons are undercut by each citation manual’s seeming endorsement of these embedded citations. To better complement legal writing instruction and good practice, the Bluebook and ALWD should revise their manuals to discourage the use of embedded full citations and to exclude example sentences beginning with “In [full case name].”
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Citation sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a period. One citation sentence may contain multiple citations separated by semicolons. Use citation
When a citation or citations relate to a portion of a sentence they should be embedded in the sentence as a citation clause, set off by commas, directly
the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, tell us that we may place full citations to legal authority in a separate citation sentence1 or citation clause,2 or that
quote, in which case that quote should be set off with double quotation marks. Any further imbedded quotes should be indicated with alternating single and
... in Sentences. The Bluebook requires a full citation the first time you ad- ... time you cite is at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.
correspond to and supplement Rules 1-21 in the Bluebook. Rule 22 focuses on recurring ... S.R. 1.1(b): String Citations in Textual Sentences in Footnotes .
Begin with a capital and end with a period. Citation clause: Use a citation clause when differing parts of one sentence require a citation. Set off with commas
However, different types of signals (i.e., contradictory authority cited after supporting authority) must be grouped in separate citation sentences. Right. See
. In addition, we may sometimes refer to an authority by name in the text of a sentence without a citation, typically deferring the citation to
Citations can appear "within or at the end of a sentence", depending on the placement of a quotation or an author's name (American Psychological Association [