The Bluebook: A Quick Guide to Bluebook Citation

The Bluebook is a set of legal citation guidelines and rules for referencing official documents developed in the United States. It is used in court proceedings, police reports, and official government documents by law students and professionals. This method also applies to the citation of news coverage of governmental occurrences.


What Exactly Is a Bluebook?

It is a source system comprised of standards for referencing that is used by law students and practitioners to reference each other’s work. For the need of a better phrase, it is the legal manner of referring to legal experts. Lawyers from Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania came up with the citation structure and came to an agreement on it.

It includes blue pages, which serve as rules and a thesis about the references made by lawyers and law students. The Bluebook, both online and in hard copy, illustrates a plethora of guidelines regarding referencing rules when producing legal writing. The first nine pages are general rules, the following ten pages discuss the required materials, and the last two pages state the rules for citing international law papers and elements.


Where Is the Bluebook Applicable?

These standards apply to all parties involved, including law students, professional judges, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, and politicians. Bluebook cites passages from legal writing, such as sources made by officials, judges, lawyers, authorities, and news coverage of applied governmental situations. In university dissertations and professional documents. As a result, learning to write in Bluebook legal citation is critical.

The independently-run Harvard Law Review organization, whose plan is to produce and publish its journal, is managed by a small group of law students. Citations are included in each section of this journal using the Bluebook journal abbreviations. These journals contain a variety of block quotations from multiple authors and legal cases.


What Constitutes the Legal Bluebook?

Front Cover:

  • Footnotes on peer reviews and legalization.

Table of Contents:

  • Blue-pages: These are examples of the non-academic protocol for citing legal documents
  • White Pages: The inverse, demonstrating academic protocol for citing legal documents
  • Tables containing general information about the Bluebook.


  • For writers and legal professionals, this document specifies the guidelines and introduces the practice of citing legal documents; it mentions the problematic questions about the proper method for legal citations.

Guidelines 1-9:

  • Describes the current rules and procedures for citing legal documents.

Guidelines 10-19:

  • Specifies the instructions that govern how legal documents and materials from other countries are handled.

Guidelines 20-21:

  • Specifies the general guidelines for citing information about the law of other territories.

Lists T1 – T16:

  • This section contains all the general guidelines for orders 1-21.
  • Provides legal citation advice as well as ground rules concerning authorities.
  • A list of Bluebook abbreviations is included.


  • Allows writers to navigate through the various citation rules quickly.

Back of the Bluebook:

  • Includes brief writing instructions and citations from court proceedings and historic legal documents in a non-academic referencing format.

Back Cover:

  • This function generates a list of the book’s contents.


Understanding Bibliography

The Bluebook format dictates that citations be included in the bibliography at the conclusion of a piece of writing, which is where they should be. It is necessary for students and professionals to include every citation they have created, from A to Z, in order for the list to be regarded comprehensive and accurate. It is not necessary to include page numbers, and the line following the first should be indented. The author’s name can be written in a slightly larger font as an option.


Understanding Footnotes

When it comes to academic papers in law, footnotes should come after the information, not before it. Remember to include each writer’s full name in their regular order. It is also necessary to have your footnotes in numerical order and indented. Remember that footnotes should be placed at the bottom of the page. You may use semicolons to separate multiple legal citations within a footnote as the author.



Finally, following the specific guidelines outlined in the Bluebook enables the ability to write with legal citations. Using the normal citation approach, which is utilized by both practicing professionals and students, it is possible to quote from court decisions as well as news items and statements made to local authorities. In other words, mastering this format allows you to raise your GPA with better references. It is also highly beneficial for future legal practice.