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Citations & Style Guide

Information and resources on how to cite references correctly.

Citing Legal and Government Documents

Lawyers and scholars of the law have developed their own methods of citing legal materials in such documents as court briefs and law journals. Some other general style manuals have also developed specific rules for citing legal materials.

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General Style Manuals

Texas Rules

  • Texas Rules of Form. Popularly known as the Greenbook, this supplement to The Bluebook addresses citation problems unique to Texas; in cases of conflict, Texas Rules of Form should be followed in citing Texas authorities. The latest edition is available for purchase from the Texas Law Review.
  • Manual on Usage & Style. Affectionately known as the MoUS, this diminutive guide to style and usage for legal writing by the editors of the Texas Law Review contains rules on such topics as punctuation, capitalization, numbers and symbols, italicization, grammar, word choice, spelling, quotations, composition, and editing. The latest edition is available for purchase from the Texas Law Review.

Other Citation Guides

  • ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation. The ALWD Web site has information about the manual, including an FAQ, a list of schools and publishers that have adopted it, and instructional materials for teachers. This refinement of The Bluebook published by the Association of Legal Writing Directors is more consistent and logical, and includes many more examples. Because it is designed to be a teaching tool and not just a reference work, The ALWD Citation Manual has fuller and clearer explanations, with sidebars that offer advice or call attention to common errors. 
  • Universal Citation GuideBluebook-style citations currently require the author to refer to page numbers from the paper publications of a specific vendor, such as West. This system complicates matters when the author wishes to cite the same document (or the reader wishes to consult the same document) as it appears in a different format (e.g., online) or as it has been issued by a different vendor (e.g., LexisNexis). This guide sets out a blueprint for courts that wish to design citation schemes for their own decisions that are not keyed to print format or to any specific publisher’s products, and also includes universal citation formats for statutes and administrative rules. 
  • The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation. Popularly referred to as the Maroonbook, this is an attempt to simplify the often obsessively detailed and often arcane rules of The Bluebook. It sets forth very general guidelines and encourages writers to use common sense in applying them to specific situations. The Maroonbook has been around since 1989, but has never quite caught on with lawyers or scholars. Although the Chicago Manual and Turabian list it as a suitable alternative to The Bluebook, virtually no one actually uses it who is not affiliated with the University of Chicago or writing for one of the journals mentioned above.


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