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Bluebook Citation 101 -- Practitioner Format

Overview

Rule 18.3 of The Bluebook covers the commercial databases such as Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law. The Bluebook still requires the use and citation of printed sources where available (see R. 18.2). Commercial databases should be cited in preference to other, general Internet resources.

Statutes

Codes should be cited according to R. 12.3, but if citing to an electronic database, additional information is required.

Elements of Citation

  • Title (for Federal)
  • Abbreviated name of the code per T. 1
  • Subject (where applicable)
  • Title, Chapter, Volume (where applicable)
  • Section and/or paragraph
  • Publisher
  • Database
  • Currency of the database (as opposed to year of the code)

Examples:

Cal. Bus. & Prof. § 1670.2 (West, Westlaw through Ch. 202 of 2013 Reg.Sess. and all 2013-2014 1st Ex.Sess. laws).

Cal. Bus. & Prof. § 1670.2 (Deering, Lexis through Ch. 129 of  2013 Reg. Sess.).

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources should be cited according to the rules for that source, but add a parallel cite to an electronic database. Include the database identifer if it is available.

Example:

Nicole Perlroth et al., N.S.A. Able To Foil Basic Safeguards Of Privacy On Web,  N.Y. Times, Sept. 6, 2013, at A1, available at 2013 WLNR 22171198.

Cases

According to Rule 18.3.1, an "unreported" case may be cited to an electronic database. 

Elements of Citation

  • Case name (see R. 10)
  • Docket number
  • Database identifier (if unavailable, add information on the specific collection in a parenthetical)
  • Page or paragraph numbers
  • Court name (see R. 6, R. 10, T. 7, T. 10)
  • Full date

Examples:

Beaven v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, No. 03-84-JBC, 2007 WL 1032301, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 30, 2007).

Beaven v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, No. 03-84-JBC, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24459, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 30, 2007).

Beaven v. Ridley-Turner, No. 3:04-CV-160 RM (N.D. Ind. Apr. 18. 2005) (CaseMaker, U.S. District Court Case Law).

Short Form

Use the database identifier in the short form.

Example:

Beaven, 2007 WL 1032301, at *3.

Beaven, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24459, at *3.

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