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Rethinking Legal Citation: A Bibliographic Essay

  • Charlotte Stichter


The easy accessibility of sources via web links and the fluidity of online formats offer an opportunity to revisit the purpose of legal citation and to consider competing citation models from a fresh perspective. This bibliographic article identifies the leading citation guides in use in the United States along a historical continuum and documents selected works that extol, critique, or excoriate—but for the most part continue to recommend adherence to—these guides. Secondary sources are included for the purpose of outlining the scope of the debate concerning which of the many citation guides now in use is preferable, and to help predict the path that legal citation is likely to take in coming years, particularly given the realities of a hyperlinked world and easily accessible source documents. Using these materials as a framework, the article invites the reader to think creatively about the purpose and future of legal citation.



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Abbott, Nathan ed. Brief Making and the Use of Law Books. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1906,
American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). Universal Citation Guide, 3rd ed. Buffalo: William S. Hein, 2014; 1st ed. State Bar of Wisconsin, 1999.
Barger, Coleen M. ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, 5th ed. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2014.
Berring, Robert ed. The Bluebook: A Sixty-Five Year Retrospective. 2 vols. Buffalo: William S. Hein, 1998.
Bieber, Doris M. Dictionary of Current American Legal Citations. Buffalo: William S. Hein, 1981.
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 20th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law Review Association, 2015.
Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and of the Several States of the American Union: With References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law, 15th ed. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1892 (1839),
Dworsky, Alan L. User's Guide to A Uniform System of Citation: The Cure for the Bluebook Blues. Littleton, CO: Fred B. Rothman & Co., 1988.
Garner, Bryan. The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, 3rd ed. St. Paul: West Academic Publishing, 2013.
Good, C. Edward. Citing & Typing the Law: A Guide to Legal Citation & Style (Based on A Uniform System of Citation, 14th ed. 1986). Charlottesville: LEL Enterprises, 1987.
Griswold, Erwin. A Uniform System of Citation, Form of Citation and Abbreviations, 1st ed. Cambridge, MA: ___, 1926.
Martin, Peter W. Introduction to Basic Legal Citation, online ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 2015,
Price, Miles O. A Practical Manual of Standard Legal Citations. Brooklyn: Alpert Press, 1958.
Prince, Mary Miles. Prince's Dictionary of Legal Citations, 8th ed. Buffalo: William S. Hein, 2011.
Rawle, Francis. Bouvier's Law Dictionary and Concise Encyclopedia, Third Revision, 8th ed. 3 vols. Kansas City: Vernon Law Book Co. & St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1914,;view=1up;seq=19.
Soule, Charles C. The Lawyer's Reference Manual of Law Books and Citations. 2d Thousand. Boston: C.C. Soule Law Publisher, 1884.
Sprigman, Christopher Jon et al. The Indigo Book: An Open and Compatible Implementation of a Uniform System of Citation., 2016,
Teply, Larry. Legal Writing Citation in a Nutshell. St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West, 2008.
United States Supreme Court, Office of the Reporter of Decisions. The Supreme Court's Style Guide. Metzler, Jack, ed. Washington, DC: interAlias Press, 2016.
University of Chicago Law Review. The Maroonbook: The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation, University of Chicago, 2016.
University of Chicago Law Review. The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation, 1st ed. University of Chicago, 1989.
Yale Law Journal. Abbreviations and Form of Citation. 1921 & 1924 eds.
Bacchus, Michael. Comment. “Strung Out: Legal Citation, ‘The Bluebook,’ and the Anxiety of Authority.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 151, no. 1 (Nov. 2002): 245,
Berring, Robert. “On Not Throwing Out the Baby: Planning the Future of Legal Information.” California Law Review 83, no. 2 (Mar. 1995): 615.
Cooper, Byron D.Anglo-American Legal Citation: Historical Development and Library Implications.” Law Library Journal 75, no. 3 (1982): 1,
Gallacher, Ian. “Cite Unseen: How Neutral Citation and America's Law Schools Can Cure Our Strange Devotion to Bibliographic Orthodoxy and the Constriction of Open and Equal Access to the Law.” Syracuse University, College of Law Faculty Scholarship, Paper 2 (Apr. 2007),
Martin, Peter W.How Structural Features of the US Judicial System Have Affected the Take-up of Digital Technology by Courts.” European Journal of Law and Technology 1, issue 1 (2010): ___.
Martin, Peter W.Neutral Citation, Court Web Sites, and Access to Authoritative Case Law.” Law Library Journal 99, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 329.
Paulsen, James. “An Uninformed System of Citation.” Harvard Law Review 105, no. 7 (May 1992): 1,780.
Posner, Richard A.Goodbye to the Bluebook.” University of Chicago Law Review 53, no. 4 (Autumn 1986): 1343.
Posner, Richard A.The Bluebook Blues.” Yale Law Journal 120 (2011): 850.
Salmon, Susie. “Shedding the Uniform: Beyond a ‘Uniform System of Citation’ to a More Efficient Fit.” Marquette Law Review 99 (2016, forthcoming): ___,
Shapiro, Fred & Graves Krishnaswami, Julie. “The Secret History of the Bluebook.” Minnesota Law Review 100 (2016): 1563.
Weresh, Melissa H.The ALWD Citation Manual: A Truly Uniform System of Citation.” Journal of the Legal Writing Institute 6 (2000): 257,

Rethinking Legal Citation: A Bibliographic Essay

  • Charlotte Stichter


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