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Legal Citation

Tips and tricks for starting out with the Bluebook, ALWD, or other legal citation guide.


Rule 22.1 of the ALWD guide covers the format of citations to dictionaries. Authors should indicate following elements to their citations Word (italicized), Dictionary (large and small caps font),Edition, and Year.

ExampleReplevin, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

Legal Encyclopedias

Rule 22.3 of the ALWD guide presents how to cite from legal encyclopedias. Authors should cover following elements: Volume, Encyclopedia abbeviation (large & small cap font),  Article title (underlined or italicized), Section, Copyright date of the volume (in the parenthetical). 

Example: 29A C.J.S. Eminent Domain § 412 (2007).


Rule 20 of the ALWD guide presents how to cite from treatises. Authors should cover following elements : volume number, author(s), title (in italics), section number and/or page number and/or paragraph number (when pinpoint citing), editor(s) and/or translator(s) (if listed), and year.

Example:  2 Joseph M. Perillo & Helen Hadjiyannakis Bender, Corbin on Contracts § 1.1 (1993).

Legal Periodicals

Rule 21 of the ALWD guide governs legal periodicals, e.g., law reviews, journals, and newspapers.

The ALWD has two sections for legal periodicals: 

  1. Consecutively paginated law reviews and journals (R. 21.2) and
  2. Nonconsecutively paginated periodicals (R. 21.3).

Under Rule 21.2, authors should cover following elements: 

[Author's Name], (If the article is written by a student author, the designation of the piece,)  [Title of the article], [Volume number (if no volume, use the year as the volume and don't put the year at the end)], [Abbreviation of Journal Name (see Appendix 5)], [Beginning page number], and (Year). 

Example: Dawn M. Johnsen, Note, The Creation of Fetal Rights: Conflicts with Women's Constitutional Rights to Liberty, Privacy and Equal Protection, 95 Yale L.J. 599, 601 (1986).

Under Rule 21.3, authors should cover following elements: [Author], [Title of the article], [Abbreviation of Journal Name (see Appendix 5)], [Date as it appears on the cover] at [Beginning page number].

Example: David L. Hudson Jr., Legislators Take Aim at Critical Race Theory: Nonexistent Curriculum Is Caught in the Crosshairs, 108 A.B.A. J. 20 (2022).