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Guide to Legal Writing and Style: Bluebooking for Law Review Footnotes

Guide to print and online resources for legal writing

Basic Bluebooking for Law Review Footnotes


"The central function of a legal citation is to allow the reader to efficiently locate the cited source." The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation 1 (Columbia Law Review Ass'n et al. eds., 21st ed. 2020).

Citations in legal writing serve two purposes:

  • Attribution - to identify the source of ideas expressed in the text, and
  • Support - to direct the reader to specific authority supporting the proposition in the text

Avoid accidental plagiarism by citing a source for any idea that is not original.

There are many copies of the Bluebook on reserve. Ask for one at the Circulation Desk. You can subscribe to the Bluebook online here.

The white pages in the Bluebook address academic citation. This is citation for law reviews, journals, and other academic legal publications. These are the rules you will use for an academic paper or law review article.

The Bluepages section of the Bluebook addresses non-academic citation. It is citation for practitioners and law clerks. Here you will find guidance and examples of citation formats that you will use when writing your memoranda, briefs, and other court documents. This is the format for legal documents.

Page 7 has a helpful table that sets out the differences between the typeface used in non-academic and academic citation.

Front inside cover

Quick Reference Guide to Law Review Footnotes. These rules are for academic legal citation. You will use them for writing your upper level papers and law review notes and comments.

Table of Contents

Pages IX - XVI

Guide to the Bluepages rules and the academic (white pages) rules and tables. 

The Bluepages

Includes introduction to basic legal citation for practitioners and rules B1-B21. Also includes Blue Tables (BT) 1-2.

Rules 1-9 General rules covering structure and use of citations (rule 1); typefaces (rule 2); subdivisions (rule 3); short forms (rule 4); quotations (rule 5); abbreviations, numerals, and symbols (rule 6); italicization for style and in unique circumstances (rule 7); capitalization (rule 8); and titles of judges, officials, and terms of court (rule 9).
Rules 10-19 Rules for citing specific sources, including cases (rule 10); constitutions (rule 11); statutes (rule 12); legislative materials (rule 13); administrative and executive materials (rule 14); books, reports, and other nonperiodic materials (rule 15); periodicals (rule 16); unpublished and forthcoming sources (rule 17); the internet (rule 18); and services (rule 19).
Rules 20-21 Rules for citing foreign and international law.
Tables T1 - T16 Table T1 contains guidance on case law and statutory citation by jurisdiction. Table T6 covers abbreviations for case names. Table 10 covers abbreviations for geographical terms.
Index Detailed guide to the Bluebook rules.
Back inside cover

Quick Reference Guide to Court Documents and Legal Memoranda.

Back cover Contains outline of Bluebook contents.


Court Unofficial reporters Official reporter (reporter required by
Bluebook table T1 is in blue)
Example (with pinpoint page) Short form example  (when you can't use id.)
U.S. Supreme Court

West's Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.) 

Lawyer's Edition (L. Ed.) 

United States Reports (U.S.) 

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 442 (1966).

Miranda, 384 U.S. at new page.
U.S. Courts of Appeals   Federal Reporter (F., F.2d, F.3d)

Envtl. Def. Fund v. EPA, 465 F.2d 528, 529 (D.C. Cir. 1972).

Envtl. Def. Fund, 465 F.2d at new page.
U.S. District Courts   Federal Supplement (F. Supp., F. Supp 2d, F. Supp. 3d)

Duren v. Bennett, 275 F. Supp. 2d 374, 377 (E.D.N.Y. 2003).

Duren, 275 F. Supp. 2d at new page.
Court Official reporter Unofficial reporters (reporter required by Bluebook table T1 is in blue) Example (with pinpoint page) Short form example (when you can't use id.)
N.Y. Court of Appeals

New York Reports (N.Y., N.Y.2d, N.Y.3d) 

New York Supplement (N.Y.S., N.Y.S.2d, N.Y.S.3d)
North Eastern Reporter (N.E., N.E.2d, N.E.3d)

People v. Rosario, 173 N.E.2d 881, 885 (N.Y. 1961).

Rosario, 173 N.E.2d at new page.
N.Y. Supreme Court, Appellate Division

Appellate Division Reports (A.D., A.D.2d, A.D.3d)

New York Supplement (N.Y.S., N.Y.S.2d, N.Y.S.3d) 

People v. Ray, 527 N.Y.S.2d 864, 865 (App. Div. 2d Dep't 1988).

Ray, 527 N.Y.S.2d at new page.
N.Y. trial level courts*

Miscellaneous Reports (Misc., Misc. 2d, Misc. 3d)

New York Supplement (N.Y.S., N.Y.S.2d, N.Y.S.3d) 

People v. Arthur, 673 N.Y.S.2d 486, 487 (Sup. Ct. 1997).

Arthur, 673 N.Y.S.2d at new page.

*The trial level courts in New York include the Supreme Court, Court of Claims, Family Court, Surrogate's Court, County Courts, City Courts, Civil Court of the City of New York, Criminal Court of the City of New York, District Courts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and Town and Village Justice Courts. Opinions of the Appellate Term, an intermediate appellate court in the 1st and 2nd Departments, are also published in Miscellaneous Reports.

To summarize: for New York, cite the New York Supplement for all courts except the highest court, the New York Court of Appeals. Cite the North Eastern Reporter for the New York Court of Appeals.

Code Official compilation (version preferred by Bluebook table T1 is in blue) Unofficial compilations (version preferred by Bluebook table T1 is in blue) Example Short form (when you can't use id.)
Federal United States Code (U.S.C.)

United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.)

United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.)

18 U.S.C. § 231 (2016).

18 U.S.C.A. § 231 (West 2015).

18 U.S.C.S. § 231 (LexisNexis 2009).

18 U.S.C. § 231 

18 U.S.C.A. § 231

18 U.S.C.S. § 231


§ 231

New York  

McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York) (McKinney)

Consolidated Laws Service (C.L.S.)

N.Y. PENAL LAW § 120.10 (McKinney 2009).

N.Y. PENAL LAW § 120.10 (Consol. 2009).

N.Y. PENAL LAW § 120.10

N.Y. PENAL LAW § 120.10


§ 120.10

Bluebook rule 12.3.2 requires the publication date of the print or an authenticated electronic edition in the parenthetical for all state statutes. The date for any form of the U.S.C. is optional as of the 21st ed.

If the code is published by West (Thomson Reuters), look in the Thomson Reuters store and very often there will be a TOC with the dates of publication.

Secondary source Example (includes pinpoint page or section) Short form (when you can't use id.)
Book (single volume)
(rule 15)


FENTIMANsupra, at new page.
Book (multi-volume)
(rule 15)


MUSHLIN, supra, § new section.
Law review article

(rule 16.4, tables T10, T13)

BENNETT L. GERSHMAN, Constitutionalizing Ethics, 38 PACE L. REV. 40, 42 (2017).

GERSHMAN, supra, at new page.
Legal encyclopedia
(rule 15.8)

17 AM. JUR. 2d Animals § 27 (2018).

17 AM. JUR. 2d, supra, new section.
(rule 12.9.4)



TORTS § new section.

American Law Reports
(rule 16.7.6)

Marjorie A. Shields, Annotation, Snowboarder's  Liability for Injuries to or Death of Another Person, 15 A.L.R.6th 161 (2006).

Shields, supra, at new page.
Newspaper article
(rule 16.6, tables T10, T13)


Adam Liptak, Wartime Internment of Japanese Looms Over Travel Ban Case, N.Y. TIMES, Apr. 17, 2018, at A12.

Adam Liptak, Travel Ban Case Is Shadowed by One of Supreme Court's Darkest Moments, N.Y. TIMES (Apr. 16, 2018),

Liptak, supra, at new page.


Liptak, supra.