Citing Legal Materials/Legal Style Manuals

Lawyers and scholars of the law have developed their own methods of citing legal materials in such documents as court briefs and law journals. Some other general style manuals have also developed specific rules for citing legal materials.

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation

  • The style most commonly used by lawyers and legal scholars.
  • Introduction to Basic Legal Citation, by Peter Martin of Cornell Law School, is an online beginner's guide to legal citation based on The Bluebook.

Texas Rules of Form

  • Popularly known as the Greenbook, this supplement to The Bluebook addresses citation problems unique to Texas; in cases of conflict, Texas Rules of Formshould be followed in citing Texas authorities.

Manual on Usage & Style

  • Affectionately known as the MoUS, this diminutive guide to style and usage for legal writing by the editors of the Texas Law Review contains rules on such topics as punctuation, capitalization, numbers and symbols, italicization, grammar, word choice, spelling, quotations, composition, and editing. 
  • The latest edition is available for purchase from the Texas Law Review.

ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation

  • The ALWD Web site has information about the manual, including an FAQ, a list of schools and publishers that have adopted it, and instructional materials for teachers.
  • This refinement of The Bluebook published by the Association of Legal Writing Directors is more consistent and logical, and includes many more examples. Because it is designed to be a teaching tool and not just a reference work, The ALWD Citation Manual has fuller and clearer explanations, with sidebars that offer advice or call attention to common errors. 

AALL Citation Formats

  • The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) was among the early supporters of medium-neutral, public domain formats for citation to legal materials. Their Citation Format page contains materials that further explain public domain citation and provide jurisdiction-specific recommendations for it use.

Universal Citation Guide

  • Bluebook-style citations currently require the author to refer to page numbers from the paper publications of a specific vendor, such as West. This system complicates matters when the author wishes to cite the same document (or the reader wishes to consult the same document) as it appears in a different format (e.g., online) or as it has been issued by a different vendor (e.g., LexisNexis). This guide sets out a blueprint for courts that wish to design citation schemes for their own decisions that are not keyed to print format or to any specific publisher’s products, and also includes universal citation formats for statutes and administrative rules. 

The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation

  • Popularly referred to as the Maroonbook, this is an attempt to simplify the often obsessively detailed and often arcane rules of The Bluebook. It sets forth very general guidelines and encourages writers to use common sense in applying them to specific situations. The Maroonbook has been around since 1989, but has never quite caught on with lawyers or scholars. Although the Chicago Manual and Turabian list it as a suitable alternative to The Bluebook, virtually no one actually uses it who is not affiliated with the University of Chicago or writing for one of the journals mentioned above.

Citing Legal Materials in APA Style

  • Samples of reference list entries and text citations in APA format for major types of legal materials.

Citing References from LexisNexis® Academic

  • Sample MLA, APA, and Bluebook citations are provided for selected document types found in LexisNexis® Academic.

How to cite electronic, print and microfiche congressional publications

  • Basic guidelines and sample citations for sources in the ProQuest Congressional database. It is not clear what style is being used for the examples, and for any source or format other than ProQuest Congressional (including other online and electronic formats), the user is merely referred to The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources.