This section is devoted to discussing some of the Bluebook issues that traditionally frustrate law students when they first learn legal citation.
Bluebook Bluepages rule 1 (B1, pp. 3-4) covers when authors should use underlining in legal documents. Note that there are different rules for academic writing and practitioner writing. Follow the stylistic guidelines in the Bluepages, which are intended for practitioners and others writing legal documents, rather than the pages printed in white, which are intended for law reviews. The most important of those rules are summarized below:
- Case names (including the "v." and procedural phrases, such as "In re")
- Publication titles
- Article titles
- Legislative history titles
- Explanatory phrase that explain prior or subsequent history (such as "cert. denied")
- Cross reference (such as "Id.")
Do Not Underline
- Reporter names
- Procedural rules
Note: According to B1, publication names can be underlined OR set in italics. Underlining is the more common convention. This Guide will use underlining for all appropriate case, publication and title citation examples. Please check with your Legal Research & Writing or U.S. Legal Discourse instructor to determine whether underlining or italics is the proper citation format.
Legal citation with the Bluebook is chock full of arcane abbreviations ("Wall St. J." for the Wall Street Journal, for example). While there are many rules in the Bluebook that new legal research students can ignore, abbreviations are not among them. Each student should know where to find the appropriate abbreviations for words or names that are used in legal documents, including case names (Table T6), court names (Table T7), geographical terms (Table T10) and periodicals (Table T13). All the abbreviations tables begin on p. 430.
Court and Reporter Information
Of all the tables in the Bluebook, new legal researchers will use Table T.1 the most. This Table includes the names and abbreviations for each court, case reporter, statutory compilation, session law, and administrative code for the federal courts and the courts of every state and territory within the United States.
After you determine the formal name of the reporter, compilation or administrative code you need, use GULLiver, the Library's online catalog, to find where these books are located in the Library.