This guide introduces students in ENG 392 Legal Writing classes to basic legal research using UMD resources.
The proper citation of legal sources is a very important aspect of presenting the results of your legal research in both academic and real-world settings. Professors, lawyers, judges, and others who read your work expect you to cite your work properly in order to assess the strength of your legal arguments. Because legal material is often dense and complicated, figuring out how to cite it can be a challenge--but don't worry, you have plenty of resources to help you!
When tasked with legal writing assignments, students are typically instructed to follow one of two major legal citation systems/styles and stick to it. Each system has its own manual that provides rules and standards for citing different types of legal materials. The McKeldin Library has both the Bluebook and ALWD manuals behind the reference desk for you to use. The Bluebook system is by far the most widely used; the ALWD system is an alternative system that has caught on at many law schools and among many legal professionals.
Call Number: MCKREF KF 245.B58 2010
Publication Date: 2010-05-02
Generations of law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, and other legal professionals have relied on The Bluebook's unique system of citation in their writing. In a diverse and rapidly changing legal profession, The Bluebook continues to provide a systematic method by which members of the profession communicate important information to one another about the sources and legal authorities upon which they rely in their work.
ALWD Citation Manual
Call Number: MCKREF KF 245.A45 2010
Publication Date: 2010-04-16
In its Third Edition, The new standard guide to legal citation continues to present a single, consistent system of citation for all forms of legal writing in a clear, attractive, and easy-to-use format. This phenomenally popular reference rivals the Bluebook because it: is written, designed, and edited by professionals. An author website to support classroom instruction using this title is available at http://www.alwdmanual.com
You'll find that intepreting the citation rules in the Bluebook and ALWD manuals often involves just that--interpretation! If after reading either manual you're still not sure how to read a citation or how to cite something in your written work, you may want to consult one or more of these helpful websites:
- ALWD Citation Manual Resources
This website contains more information about the ALWD citation system.
- Bluebook Guide--Georgetown Law School
Intended for Georgetown Law School audiences but available to anyone to view, this Guide explains the organization and layout of the Bluebook, its use in theory and in practice, and how to cite the most common legal materials, including cases, statutes and treatises. The Guide also reviews how to cite electronic materials.
- Citeus Legalus
This website promotes itself as the "Legal Citation Generator for Lazy Law Students." It generates Bluebook citations based on the information you input. It is by no means 100% accurate and it does not do everything you'll typically need for a writing assignment, but it is one way to double-check your work.
- Cornell Legal Information Institute, Basic Legal Citation
A very helpful guide authored by Peter Martin that explains both Bluebook and ALWD citation style. It provides numerous examples that illustrate the similarities and differences between the two.
Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources in all subjects, including law. You can add the legal citation "styles" to Zotero and have it automatically generate citations for you. Keep in mind that, because of the complexity of legal citation, these styles are not 100% accurate, so it's best to treat them as a "rough draft" generator that you then edit yourself. Watch for Zotero classes on the Terrapin Learning Commons (TLC) homepage: http://www.lib.umd.edu/tlc/home. You may also want to try other research management tools like Endnote, Mendeley, or Refworks.
Call Number: KF245 .B68 2011
Publication Date: 2010-12-02
This self-paced guide to citation form is a perfect match for any basic Legal Writing and Research course. Cite-Checker is a short, concise book providing students with everything they need to learn and master proper citation form according To The Bluebook . A readable and pragmatic guide, this valuable text offers thorough explanations of important concepts as well as self-checking exercises to help students master the concepts discussed.
Call Number: MCKREF PN171.F56 L55 2006
Publication Date: 2006-10-15
This book offers quick and helpful advice about citing work in a range of disciplines, including law. Chapter 12 covers Bluebook citation; Chapter 13 covers ALWD citation.