Formatting Guides

Bluebook Citation: Introduction to the World of Law

Bluebook citations
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Are you studying law or related legal disciplines in college/university? Law subjects have their personal academic writing requirements, among which following the style called Bluebook format is one of the main criteria. The teacher grade cases based on the content and format. Bluebook citation guide has more confusing guidelines than those a student knew before: from high school MLA to more difficult APA paper format applied to college research papers. The article from expert writers will help to be acquainted with this specific academic paper format.

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What Is Blue Book Format in Academic Writing?

A logical question to ask is, “What is Blue Book format?” Bluebook format is a uniform system of citation, commonly used in the legal documents or argumentative essays in law. The Harvard Law Review Association from the Harvard University introduced this format. Such higher educational institutions specialized in studying law at Cornell University) its Legal Information Institute in particular) has supported the idea of using Bluebook manual to cite legal sources. Several other organizations helped to develop this style. Those were University of Pennsylvania Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, where students study law in-depth.

Bluebook citation guide exists to let the students and professionals arrange papers in logical/chronological order. Law professionals over the country prefer using Bluebook format to cite legal documents, books, and other sources. The list of people who use Blue Book citation will look this way:

  • University Students
  • Scholars
  • Professors
  • Judges
  • Attorneys
  • Lawyers
  • Criminalists
  • Etc.

Those students who plan to obtain a Ph.D. in the legal sphere should learn how to cite in Bluebook. Keep reading our guide to learn about Bluebook citation with our law essay writing service.

Bluebook Citation Format: In-Direct & Direct Quotes

Students who are new to the world of law may ask when teachers may need Bluebook citations. What about the way cover pages look? In formats like Bluebook, CBE, Chicago style format, or Harvard, it is important to include more elements than in MLA/APA. A Bluebook title page is one of the examples, and it should be perfect because it is the face of your work, which represents the title.

It might be difficult to understand Bluebook citation format without having some vivid examples. Students should know by this time 2 types of in-text citations exist:

  1. Direct in-text citation (the writer leaves quote the way it appears in the original source without changing anything)
  2. Indirect in-text citation (the writer rewrites/paraphrases the quotation, but has to mention the original source in the end).

It is important to refer to the original source no matter which type of in-text quotations a writer chooses to avoid plagiarism. Do not risk being fined by the strict teacher!

 A writer deals with the legal case citation (filed but not decided), and here is how it must appear in the paper:

Marshall v. Glover, 454 S.W.3d 602 (Tenn. 2016).

That is not an example of a real case – do not use it in an analytical essay. Pay attention to the fresh data: college/university professors do not want to read information grabbed from the outdated sources. Try to come up with the sources that are no older than five years. Sources of ten or more years old are outdated – they may contain irrelevant information, which is unacceptable in the field of law. A modern legal world has new rules.

Bluebook Format Elements

The primary thing to observe is a cover page written in Bluebook format to grab the attention of the reading audience. Think about a good-looking, informative title. Do not use your creativity in assignments on the law like students do in the creative essays. The university professors would like to see cover/title page this way:

  1. Header
  2. Title of Document (all capitalized; basic heading + subheading are below)
  3. Information about the editor (full name)
  4. Name of publishing entity
  5. Location of publication
  6. Year of publication (upon request)

How Can a Student Cite in Bluebook Citation?

The easiest way to apply Bluebook citation in the legal paper would be going online to find a free referencing generator. Many writing companies create such tools to help students with their formatting process, and our company is not an exception. Once a student discovers such software, he/she should follow several steps. It is important to enter the necessary, known data about the original source:

  1. Title of the work
  2. Full writer’s name
  3. Place of publication
  4. Year of publication
  5. Smaller details (issue, number, pages, etc.)

Type the available details to get the most accurate result. It may take a couple of clicks. Reading the entire citation manual may take half a day!

Writing Styles That Can Replace Bluebook Format in Law

Blue Book citation format is not a single writing style applied to the field of law. A professor may check your skills by offering one of the following law paper formats:

  • Bluebook-Brief
  • Bluebook-Law Review
  • ALWD (Association of Legal Writing Directors)
  • Standard (Bluebook) [Default]
  • Westlaw
  • Various State Jurisdictions (including Washington State)
  • Bluebook (notes & bibliography)
  • Bluebook (notes only)
  • Bluebook Inline

In all cases, the student must include both, the citation and corresponding reference, which goes to the end of the paper.

Detailed Examples of Bluebook Citations

Blue book citing consists of several elements:

  • Numbers
  • Headings
  • Margins
  • Fonts

We are here to focus on in-text citations, not references. A student may find these elements in Windows Microsoft Word. There is no need to do everything manually. Here are the details:

  • A single writer of LR: John Nicolas, Evidence: Issues, Cases, & Materials, 22-25 (2007)
  • 2 writers: Gina F. Lector & Will J. Spitzer, The New York State Constitution: A Reference Guide (2003)
  • 3 or more writers of LR: Anthony M. Forrest, et al., Washington Legal Researcher's Desk book, 2D (2005).


Are you a student having troubles with Blue Book citation method? No matter whether your teacher wants your paper to be in APA, Harvard citation style, or Bluebook, count on a reliable team of academic writers who will solve the law/legal case and format the solution better than any online generator!

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Article posted on:May 6, 2022
Article updated on:May 12, 2023


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