Your Guide on Bluebook Citation: All That You Need to Know

Table of Contents

Understanding What Is a Bluebook Citation

For a long time, the Bluebook has been the ultimate source of guidance regarding legal Citation in the United States, with law students, attorneys, academics, judges, and other legal professionals relying on its distinctive citation system.

The development of the Bluebook, from its first publication in 1925, as an eight-page booklet for Harvard Law, to its present status as a three-volume manual used by most law schools of the country, has been well documented in detail. The Bluebook has been accepted and critiqued, but it's now much better with the Bluebook uniform system of citation edition 20th.

The primary goal of a legal citation is to enable the reader to quickly find the cited source. For this reason, the citations in The Bluebook are structured to provide the essential data to take the reader straight to the specified items cited.

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Where Is the BlueBook Used: Application

This set of citation rules applies to students of law, judges, attorneys, police, and politicians and is based on the law. The Bluebook can be used to refer to passages in legal writing, including sources of officials, judges, lawyers, authorities, and news reports on governmental affairs. As such, learning to write under Bluebook legal citation is necessary for university dissertations and documents created by professionals.

When borrowing from the words of another, it is essential to acknowledge the source with quotation marks and a reference. Doing so grants both you and the creator of the work the appropriate credit.

Citing sources and providing quotes indicate the research that has been completed and the reading level that has been conducted. Furthermore, they enable others to trace your work and build on it.

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What Elements Make Up the Legal BlueBook?

Before going to law school, you need to know that the Legal Bluebook is an all-encompassing resource for legal authorities striving for precise and uniform citations in their legal documents. It is composed of the following:

Elements That Make Up the Legal BlueBook
  1. Introduction - Offers a summary of the Legal Bluebook and its purpose.
  2. Citation Principles - Presents Citation fundamentals, such as using bluebook citation abbreviations, punctuation marks, and the sequence of citation elements.
  3. Typefaces - Specifies the font styles and sizes that should be employed in legal documents.
  4. Case Citation - Offers instructions regarding the citing of legal cases, including the appropriate application of case titles, shortened forms, and alternative references.
  5. Statutes, Rules, and Other Materials - Supplies instruction on quoting statutes, mandates, rules, and other legal materials.
  6. Secondary Sources - Offers direction concerning citing secondary sources, including books, periodicals, and treatises.
  7. Quotations and Quotation Marks - Offers advice on integrating and organizing quotations and quotation marks in legal documents.
  8. Parentheticals - Offers instructions on incorporating parenthetical remarks in legal papers to supplement pertinent information.
  9. Pinpoint Citations - Offers instruction on citing particular pages or subsections of a legal text.
  10. Signals - Offers advice on utilizing signals, for instance, 'see' or 'cf.,' to demonstrate the connection between referenced materials.
  11. Authorities - Offers instructions on using authority indicators, e.g., 'supra' or 'infra,' when referencing cited sources.
  12. Capitalization - Offers advice on capitalization in legal documents, comprising capitalization of court names, titles, and headings.
  13. Abbreviations - Grants advice on abbreviating legal documents, including legal terms and Latin phrases.
  14. Subdivisions - Offers instructions on incorporating divisions, like sections, paragraphs, and subparagraphs, into legal papers.
  15. Foreign Materials - Supplies instruction on citing foreign legal materials, comprising foreign cases and statutes.
  16. Citation Forms - Demonstrates how to reference various legal sources.

Understanding Bibliography

A Bluebook bibliography must feature an alphabetically organized list of all sources referred to in a legal document, ordered by the author's surname or, in the absence of an author, by the initial word of the title. Every entry should comprise the following:

  1. Author: It is essential to include the author's name exactly as specified in the source. If there are multiple authors, they should be listed in the same order as they appear in the source.
  2. Title: The source title should follow sentence case formatting, with the initial word and any proper nouns capitalized and italicized.
  3. Publication Information: This comprises the author's name, the place of publication, and the date of publishing. For journals and magazines, the volume and issue numbers should be appended.
  4. Page numbers: If relevant, specify the page numbers from which the details were sourced.

Here's what a Bluebook bibliography entry for a book looks like:

  • Fisher, Spencer. Legal Writing for Dummies. Chicago: Dolphin Press, 2023.

And here's an example of a legal review article:

  • Smith, Jane. "The Impact of Social Media on Jury Selection." Harvard Law Review 133, no. 4 (2021): 567-598.

Understanding Footnotes

Bluebook footnotes contain more detailed information regarding the sources mentioned in a legal document. Bluebook footnote citations are used to cite a source and include the author(s), title, publisher, year of publication, and pinpoint citation (page numbers or section numbers). These footnotes are generally located at the bottom of the page with the source.

For example, the Citation in the Bluebook Footnote could look like the following:

  • Spencer Fisher, Legal Writing for Dummies (Chicago Dolphin Press, 2023.) 15-17.

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Bluebook Citation Examples

Understanding the different approaches when drafting a proper reference document is important. To grasp these differences better, we need to refer to Bluebook citation examples and recognize these distinctions before we write a law paper. As an example, a court case and a tabloid are different. Let's delve into more specific examples below, prepared by our admission essay writer:

Court Proceedings

The Bluebook citation format is regularly utilized in legal writing and court proceedings in the United States. Here are some illustrations of how Bluebook citations may be utilized in court proceedings:

  1. Statutes: By giving the F.B.I. false information, the defendant breached 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2).
  2. Bluebook Citation secondary sources: Professor Smith has demonstrated the relevance of the Fourth Amendment's forbiddance of unreasonable searches and seizures to the employment of thermal imaging technology. See Smith, Fourth Amendment Protections, 34 Yale L.J. 679 (2019).

Books Produced by One or Multiple Writers

Books written by a single writer differ slightly from those written by two or more writers. Here are the illustrations:

  1. Book with One Author: Lee, Emily. The Science of Biology. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  2. Book with Multiple Authors: Brown, Robert, and Michael Garcia. Contract Law in Practice. 3d ed. West Academic Publishing, 2020.

Tabloids (Printed and Online)

Journalism is integral to providing knowledge of legal affairs. It is crucial to state the author, subject, publication, and issuance year when citing printed and digital newspapers. The foliate number or web address should then be included, in accordance with whether the paper is available in hard copy or online.

  1. Tabloid in Print: Balakrishnan, Anita. ‘Lawyer Wins Appeal in Lawsuit with Paralegal.’ The Law Times (2019), Page 21-23
  2. Tabloid Online: Anita Balakrishnan, Lawyer Wins Appeal in Lawsuit with Paralegal, The Law Times (2019),

Legal Scholarly Texts

When citing legal passages from academics and lawmakers, students must mention the writer's name, article heading, volume number, journal title, first page, and year of publication. To produce a valuable Bluebook citation law review article, it is important to reference official government documents and the works of legal scholars.

  1. Law Review Article: William Johnson, 'Rethinking the Fourth Amendment: Privacy and Technology,' 96 Yale L.J. 1345 (1987).
  2. Book by a Legal Scholar: Martha Jones, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press 2018).
  3. Law Journal: Harvard Law Review, 'The Emergence of the Modern First Amendment,' 120 Harv. L. Rev. 1267 (2007).

Bluebook Website Citation

Using the Bluebook citation machine site is allowed among students or lawyers. There's a special way to write a bibliography using the citation machine Bluebook. The writer has to write a topic, a web page, a date for publication, a URL address, and the date of the last visit to the site. Example:

Heading, | Webpage, | Date of Publication, | URL Address, | Date of Previous Visit Tuesday Round-Up, Scotus Blog, Publication Date: 6/18/19,, Last Visited: 6/20/19

To Sum Up

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