The standard for legal citation in law schools and in most courts in the United States is The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. This system establishes rules for properly citing to legal materials, setting forth the required elements of a citation, proper format, abbreviations, and signal use. Legal Research and Writing courses and Moot Court competitions require your briefs to comply with The Bluebook.
A typical case citation looks like:
Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 481, 85 S. Ct. 1678, 14 L. Ed. 2d 510 (1965).
From this citation, we can tell that:
Many California practitioners use the California Style Manual for citation in briefs before state courts. It is also available online via Westlaw.
The ALWD Guide to Legal Citation is an alternative system used in numerous law schools and by a few law journals. It is considered more straightforward and easier to learn than the Bluebook.
Print copies of The Bluebook are available at the Circulation and Reference desks, as well as in the Research Alcove.
This companion to The Bluebook lists commonly-used sources alphabetically and provides sample citations to them.
Using the California Style Manual and The Bluebook: A Practitioner's Guide, by Susan Heinrich-Wells
A companion to both citation guides, this book helps practitioners determine which style to use, and points out the differences between the two styles.