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Guide for Law Journal Students

The Bluebook

The 20th edition of The Bluebook was released in summer 2015. For an overview of the differences between the 19th and 20th editions, please see the Bluebook 101 guide. Citations in law journal articles adhere to the white pages, not the blue pages.

Cheat Sheet for Journal Editors

Advanced Bluebook Cheatsheet (prepared for session with the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy on February 9, 2016)

Pincites

Pinpoint citations (pincites) are important to include because they direct the reader to a particular page or passage in a source. Authors frequently include incorrect pincites or do not include pincites at all when citing to or quoting books, which makes your job of verifying the support for their assertions challenging. Although the full text of many sources obtained through electronic databases can easily be searched, it is generally a time consuming process to look through print, physical books for the relevant pages that support the claims being made in the article.

Google Books can often assist you in figuring out the correct page numbers where support for particular assertions are located in a book. After conducting a search of a quote, the snippets in your results may quickly identify the page number where the quote appears in the book.

Past Practices and Peer Journals

Sometimes you will encounter a citation that does not seem similar to any of the examples provided in The Bluebook. For guidance, one trick is to look at the practices of other peer law reviews to see how they have cited your source in previously published articles. Of course, the editors of that law journal may have been incorrect in their decision on how to properly cite the source, but it is still often helpful to see how other editors have interpreted the rules.

To easily search the content of other law journals for your source, you may wish to create a group of peer journals on Westlaw:

1. After logging in, you should see a "Favorites" box on the right hand side. (If you do not, scroll down to the bottom of the page, select "Edit home page," and then check "Favorites.") Click on "Organize."

2. Click on "Add a Group."

3. Create a new group for "Peer Journals" and click on "Done Organizing" after saving it.

4. Click "Secondary Sources" on the main home page and then "Law Reviews & Journals." Click on "Massachusetts" and then "Harvard Law Review." 

5. Click on the star next to its name to add it to your "Peer Journals" folder. Repeat the process for the Yale Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review. These four law reviews compile The Bluebook. You should also repeat the process for your own law journal.

6. When you return to the home page, you should see these journals listed under "Peer Journals" in the "Favorites" section. You can now easily search the content of these specific law journals.

7. After finding an article that cites your source or a source similar to it in a law journal through Westlaw, you can check to see how the citation looks in the final, published version by looking at a copy of the article in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library.