This is a guide to the Bluebook system of American legal citation. The information here can help anyone who is writing a scholarly legal paper in the United States, including JD students, LLM students, and SJD students.
The Bluebook is currently in its 21st edition, released in June 2020. It is available in two formats: as a print book, and as an electronic publication. To buy a print copy or a subscription to the electronic version, visit https://www.legalbluebook.com/.
All references to print book page number in this guide are from the 21st edition.
The Bluebook has two sections:
Since law school work focuses on academic writing, this guide describes and explains the rules in the Whitepages section.
Table 1 (p. 227) has jurisdiction-specific rules for citing U.S. federal and state cases, statutes, and other primary legal materials.
Table 2 has rules for citing sources from selected foreign jurisdictions. It is no longer in the print version of the Bluebook, but it is freely available online at https://www.legalbluebook.com/bluebook/v21/tables/t2-foreign-jurisdictions.
Tables 3 (international organizations, p. 299) and 4 (treaties, p. 302) have rules for citing international sources.
Finally, many Bluebook rules require certain names, words, and phrases to be shortened. Tables 6-16 (starting on p. 304) list these abbreviations.