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Bluebook Rules: Quick Tips

Points to Remember

When citing to anything that is state specific, be sure to check the "Tables" part of the Bluebook for the specific state that you are citing to. Some states may require parallel citations or have other various regulations to be aware of.  

Access BlueTips

Many of the tips on this page came from legalbluebook.com's BlueTips page where you can find many other tips organized by topic. 

Statute Citation Tips

  1. Look to Rule 12
  2. Cite to the official code and/or its supplement if possible. If not then cite to an unofficial code (usually the annotated version), then Lexis or Westlaw, then looseleaf, internet or newspaper (in that order) [rule 12.2.1].
  3. The official federal code is the United States Code (U.S.C.) - cite there if available [rule 12.3 & table 1].
  4. If you are citing to a specific subdivision or subdivisions of a code section, indicate all the subsections. If you are citing to multiple sections, use §§. Consult rule 3.3 on how to use section and paragraph symbols.
  5. Only include an official title when the statute is commonly cited that way, or if the information would aid in the statute's easy identification within a textual setting [12.3.1(a)].
  6. The Tax Code has its own special citation form - Rule 12.9.1. 
  7. Consult Table T1 for any statute citations of individual states. 
  8. Cite to the date of the edition that you are using. 

Tips from legalbluebook.com & Suffolk University's A Bluebook Guide for Law Students (by Scott Akehurst-Moore)

 

Bluebook Hazards

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Case Citation Tips

  1. The main party name rules are 10.2, 10.2.1 & 10.2.2.
  2. Remove words indicating multiple parties or legal titles [rule 10.2.1(a) & 10.2.1(e)]
  3. Each state's name has an abbreviation (Table 10.1)
  4. Eliminate spaces between single capitals - which includes number/letter combinations for circuits or editions (Rule 6.1(a)) (example N.W., S.D.N.Y.)
  5. Always provide the page that the opinion begins on in your case citation [Rule 10.8.3]
  6. If you want to use a pinpoint cite, then add the page (to be pinpointed) after the first page number. This is true even if both are the same page. [Rule 10.8.3]
  7. Remember after you cite a case you may be able to use short form citation for that same case [Rule 10.9]
  8. If a reporter name is the same as a state's highest court's abbreviation, then no indicator is required [Rule 10.4(b)]
  9. Typeface on court documents- only party names are underlined or italicized (excluding the comma) [B1] and each citation sentence must end with a period [B2]
  10. Typface on Law Review articles- do not underline party names, but italicize procedural phrase [Rule 2.1(a)]

Tips from legalbluebook.com & Suffolk University's A Bluebook Guide for Law Students (by Scott Akehurst-Moore)

How to Cite to a Supplement

If the information you are citing is in a pocket part/supplement then cite the addition of the pocket part/supplement and NOT the main volume. BUT if you want to cite to both the main volume and the pocket part/supplement then you must cite to both (i.e. if you are citing something that the supplement simply added or changed from the main volume). See rule 3.1(c).

What is a Pinpoint Cite?

A pinpoint cite is a citation form used when you are not just citing to a case in general terms. You should use pinpoint cites when the proposition that you are advocating for comes from a particular page or sentence of an opinion. Here are some examples: 

Boeing v. Airbus, 276 P.3d 56, 58-60 (Wash. Ct. App. 2004).

Tatiana v. Sousa, 489 U.S. 61, 68 (2004). 

Additional Resources

Find this User Guide in the OCU Law Library at the Circulation Desk. Call #: KF245 .D85 2010

Electronic Resource Citation Tips

  1. Cite directly to an internet source when a source does not exist printed form or a commercial database. [Rule 18.2]
  2. If the internet has a source that is the same as the print version & citing the internet version would increase access, then you may parallel cite to the internet with "available at." [Rule 18.2.3(a)]
  3. If an author is unclear, omit author information unless there's a clear insitutional owner of the domain, i.e., Starbucks. [rule 18.2.2(a)].
  4. If the date is not indicated clearly - use "last visited X date " in the parenthetical [rule 18.2.2(c)].
  5. The URL should take the reader page cited with no intervening links. [Rule 18.2.2(d)]
  6. Under rule 18.2.2(b)(i), main page titles are abbreviated in accordance with table T13. Where a main page title is better characterized as an institutional author, however, abbreviate in accordance with rule 15.1(c).

Tips from legalbluebook.com & Suffolk University's A Bluebook Guide for Law Students (by Scott Akehurst-Moore)

 
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