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An Introduction to The Bluebook

Overview

This guide provides an introduction to selected citation rules in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (21st ed.), and citation examples for students working on academic law journals. These examples are provided for instructional purposes only. You should always refer to The Bluebook itself and base your final citations on its rules and examples. The Bluebook's online Quick Style Guide provides additional suggestions on formatting commonly used sources. 

The 21st edition of The Bluebook was released in summer 2020. A summary of updates to the prior 20th edition can be found in The Bluebook Twenty-First Edition: Noteworthy Changes. (Of particular note are updates to Rule 12, which governs citations to statutes, and the move of T2 (Foreign Jurisdicions) to an online-only format.) 

Structure of the Bluebook

The Bluebook is divided into two main parts:

  • The Bluepages, in the front of the volume, provide rules on citing authority in non-academic legal documents.
  • The Whitepages, comprising the rest of the volume, provide rules on citing authority for academic law journals. Rules in the Bluepages often refer to the Whitepages.

There are several ways to quickly locate rules or citation examples:

Quick Reference: Law Review Footnotes table  Inside of the front cover
Quick Reference: Court Documents and Legal Memoranda table  Inside of the back cover                                           
Index (find rules and page numbers by keyword) Back of the volume
Table of Contents (find major rules and tables) Back cover