Legal citations in the US are most likely to follow bluebook citations. It is equally popular among law students, attorneys, academics, judges, and other professionals in the legal field. It’s a distinctive citation system that helps bring professionalism and consistency to all legal paperwork. If you are a law student struggling to understand bluebook citations, this blog is for you. We’ve discussed all the fundamentals of bluebook citations for you to use in your assignments.
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Bluebook was first published in 1925 as an eight-page booklet for the Harvard School of Law, and now it’s present in a three-volume manual to be used by law students and professionals associated with this field all over the United States.
The primary purpose of the bluebook citation system is to enable the reader to find the cited source swiftly. It is used in legal writing, letters to authorities, statements of judges, writings by lawyers, and reports on governmental affairs.
This is a legal citation format system that works perfectly to credit the original source creator. Students are more encouraged to learn bluebook citations because it’s a necessary requirement for university dissertations and paperwork by professionals.
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Suppose you are a student who is planning to join law school or you are already enrolled. In that case, bluebook citations should be the first thing to master because you will have to follow them in your assignments and documents throughout your academic years at law school. Let’s take a look at the bluebook citation format.
When you cite a book in bluebook format, you need to start with the name of the author, the title of the book italicized or underlined, the page number from where you cited information, the addition of the book and the book publishing date. The format will be the same for a book that two or more authors write.
Author’s name, Book Title, Page Number(Edition and Date of Book Publishing).
Example of bluebook citation for book
Linda H. Edwards, Legal Analysis Report 18 (4th ed. 2016).
Assignments and other documentation in the law school may require you to get help from a previous legal case in order to bring clarity to your subject. To cite a case, start with the last name of the party and then place v. to show whom the first party is fighting against. Either italicize or underline the names of the parties.
Then comes the name of the second party. Put a comma after it and add the reporter volume number followed by the reporter abbreviation. Then cite the first page of the case followed by the specific page you extracted information from. End it with the name of the final decision of the case.
Name of the first party v. name of the second party., Reporter Volume Number Followed by Reporter Abbreviation First page of the case, the page you used information from (Date of the decision).
Example of Bluebook citation case:
Richards v. Star Corporation.,278 G.Y.M 2d 264, 265 (Sup. Ct. 1996).
Sometimes you will need to use an article to support your main argument. If you are including a law review article in your work, you need to cite it according to the following bluebook format.
Name of the author, The title of the article underlined or italicized, volume number of the law review followed by an abbreviation of the law review and the first page of the article, the page you extracted information from, (Date of the publication).
Legal Citation Example of Article
Jones M. Richard, The Rules of Law, 56 U.Song. L. Rev. 166, 168(1986).
If you are assigned an assignment where you must add verses from the holy bible, you need to cite that according to the Bluebook citation format. You need to add the entire verse with the version of the bible in parenthesis.
Verse in quotation marks. Chapter Followed by page number (Version).
“Seek the Lord and his strength: seek his presence continually.” Chronicles 16:11(King James)
Bluebook citations have a distinctive format if you have used information from an online source like a website or blog.
Name of the Author, underlined or Italicized Title of the Specific page you used, the title of the website’s main page (the date and time when you accessed the website), and the URL of the website.
Eris Phornt, More on Section 7 of the Torture Convention, The Volkov Conspiracy (Jan. 29, 2009, 11:02 AM), https:// URL of the website
One of the significant differences between the Bluebook citation system and other formatting styles is the interchanging use of Italics font style and underlying feature. Bluebook citations maintain consistency with the titles and names of the sources, whether it’s a website, a book, an article, a law review, or any other source. But you need to be very keen about these two things;
If you choose to italicize, your whole document will follow the same pattern in the references.
If you are underlining the titles, you must keep the entire document consistent. Only do one or the other throughout the document.
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The Bluebook citation system is a necessary requirement for documents, statements, and reports in the field of law. The primary purpose of bluebook essay citations is to make it easy for the reader to locate the cited source. It might look intimidating at first but after understanding the essential elements of it, it gets more accessible and more handy.
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