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Bluebook Citation

Bluebook Quick Reference

B 1.2:  Bluepages rule for Introductory Signals

B 1.3:  Bluepages rule for Explanatory Parentheticals

Rule 1:  Rule for Structure and Use of Citations

Structure and Use of Citations

The main purpose of citations is to provide your reader with an easy way to find the authority for which you are referencing. Bluebook Rule 1 states that these citations are enclosed in citation sentences, introduced by signals.  Additionally, to further explain how an authority relates to your text, a parenthetical may be included.

When Do I Cite?

Legal writing, in general, requires very precise and exhaustive use of citations.  It is used to allow the reader to quickly go to a specific page of a specific source to find the support for whatever argument you are making.

As a basic rule, include a citation for anything you use from any type of authority.  For legal memoranda and court documents you will want to include a citation for all facts, thoughts, or opinions that you gather from any outside source, even when you are not using direct quotations.  These sources include:

  • Cases
  • Statutes, constitutions, rules, and legislative sources
  • Secondary sources

EXCEPTION:  You do not need a citation for something you have already previously discussed OR when you are discussing your own facts.