Washington & Lee
Last Updated: Fall 2006
Keyed to Bluebook, 18th ed.
Rory Gray, Diana Grimes & Skylar Rosenbloom, Managing Editors
I. General Information 4
A. "Notes" v. "Articles" 4
B. Citation Sentences 4
C. Sources 4
II. Citation 4
A. When to Footnote 4
B. Elements of a Footnote 4
1. Notes 5
2. Articles 5
3. Introductory Signals 5
4. Pinpoint Citations 6
5. Parentheticals 6
C. Short Cites 9
1. Id. 9
2. Cases 10
3. Other Sources; supra, infra, and hereinafter 11
D. Footnotes when Sources Appear in Text 12
E. Internet Citations 14
III. Punctuation and Abbreviation 15
A. Commas 15
B. Quotation Marks 16
C. Colons 17
D. Possessives 17
E. Capitalization 17
F. Abbreviation 18
G. Blanks 18
H. Dashes and Hyphens 18
I. Ellipses 19
J. Foreign Words 20
K. Hypothetical Parties 20
L. Decades 20
M. The Letter "L" 20
N. Numbers 20
O. Versus 20
P. Paragraph Symbol 20
Q. Percentages 21
R. Section/Rule 21
IV. Formatting 22
A. Font 22
B. Table of Contents 22
C. Headings in the Text 23
D. Paragraphs 23
E. Italics 23
F. Block Quotes 24
G. Charts and Graphs 24
V. Grammar and Writing Style 24
A. Active Voice 24
B. Linking Verbs 24
C. Short and Simple 24
D. Pronouns 25
E. Split Infinitives 25
F. Since and Because 25
G. While 25
H. Dangling Modifiers 25
I. Split Verb Phrases 26
J. "That" 26
K. Parallelism 26
L. Where, When, or in Which 26
A. "Notes" v. "Articles": For internal Law Review purposes, remember that "Note" means a student-written Law Review piece, whereas "Article" refers to a piece written by a professor or practitioner.
B. Citation Sentences: In general, the Law Review uses citation sentences. Between citation sentences, leave two spaces just as with any other kind of sentence.
C. Sources: The source materials we use are, in descending order of authority:
1. The Writing Guidelines for the Washington and Lee Law Review.
2. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation: (18th ed.). The Washington and Lee Law Review adheres to The Bluebook on all questions of citation, form, and grammar, unless otherwise specified. Remember that The Writing Guidelines trump The Bluebook.
3. Texas Manual on Usage & Style: (10th ed.) (TMS). Unless otherwise indicated, the Washington and Lee Law Review relies on the TMS as a supplement to The Bluebook and as persuasive authority on questions of grammar and style. When a TMS rule conflicts with a Bluebook rule, we defer to The Bluebook.
4. When Still in Doubt: Keep in mind that our primary goal is to provide clear text and citations that will help the reader understand the author’s meaning and locate the cited source as easily as possible. Final decisions regarding citation, form, grammar and style will be made by the Managing Editors in conjunction with the Editor in Chief.
A. When to Footnote:
1. Notes: Footnote all sentences in a Note except for transition sentences and sentences containing ideas that are completely your own. This rule also applies to sentences within footnotes.
2. Articles or Essays: Footnote sentences in an Article or an Essay that contain statistics, quotations, or other material clearly drawn from the work of another person. Otherwise, defer to the author’s wishes.
B. Elements of a Footnote:
1. Notes: All footnotes should begin with a full citation and should include an introductory signal and a parenthetical unless there is a quote, statistic, or purely factual information in the text. Footnotes may contain incidental comments only after the initial citation.
Restorative justice has been shown to deter crime more efficiently than the regular
criminal justice system.1 "Restorative justice places emphasis on repairing harm,
empowering a victim-driven process, and transforming the community’s role in
1. See Braithwaite, supra note 45, at 121 ("Virtuous circles of restorative justice deter more than vicious circles of punitive justice.").
2. C. Quince Hopkins et al., Applying Restorative Justice to Ongoing Intimate Violence: Problems and Possibilities, 23 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 289, 294 (2004).
Tip: If you feel that a signal and parenthetical would be repetitive, use a quote in the text.
2. Articles: Footnotes need not begin with a citation unless the footnoted sentence contains statistics, quotations, or other material clearly drawn from the work of another person.
3. Introductory Signals:
a. Italicize all parts of an introductory signal, including periods and commas, except the second comma in see, e.g., the only signal immediately followed by a comma.
b. Refer to Bluebook Rule 1.2 for a description of each introductory signal.
c. Refer to Bluebook Rules 1.2 and 1.3 for a list of signals and their proper order. Group all signals of the same basic type (positive, comparative, negative) with a semi-colon in the same citation sentence.
See Colton, supra note 7, at 443 (stating that inherent agency powers
"include all powers that a third party would reasonably suppose the agent to have"); Gray, supra note 21, at 5 (explaining his agency power as managing editor); see also Dormire, supra note 6, at 248 (citing case law suggesting that "the third party needed to show only that he acted reasonably" to establish inherent agency). But see Eisenberg, supra note 7, at 13 (defining reasonableness from a principal’s viewpoint).
d. In Notes, use the introductory signal "see generally" sparingly and only when needed to provide background material. In Articles, give deference to the author’s use of the signal.
e. When only two sources are used in a compare citation, no comma is placed after the first source. Commas must be placed after each source if more than two sources are included in a compare citation. Refer to Bluebook Rule 1.2(b).
1. Compare Smith v. Hayes, 467 A.2d 345, 376 (N.J. 1974) with Ward v.
Keefer, 84 S.E.2d 68, 78 (N.C. 1978).
2. Compare Smith v. Hayes, 467 A.2d 345, 376 (N.J. 1974), and Alley v.
Molony, 256 S.W.2d 346, 350 (Tenn. 1945), with Ward v. Keefer, 84 S.E.2d 68,
78 (N.C. 1978).
f. For a list of the order of signals within each type of citation sentence (positive, comparative, or negative), refer to Bluebook Rule 1.4. Within each citation sentence, Rule 1.4(d) requires that the most recent cases by a court be cited first and that cases from higher courts be cited before cases from lower courts.
4. Pinpoint Citations: All citations in footnotes except those beginning with "see
generally" should contain a pinpoint. A pinpoint is a citation to the specific page
number in a case, article, or treatise that supports a point. If a quotation is used in
a substantive parenthetical, the pinpoint should refer specifically to the page or
pages on which that quote is found.
Tip: When citechecking or editing, if the author has not included a pinpoint where one is necessary, first make a reasonable attempt to locate the citation. If the reasonable attempt does not yield the appropriate pinpoint citation, we need to contact the author to obtain the pinpoint.
5. Parentheticals: Except as noted below, use a parenthetical after every source preceded by a signal.
a. It is not necessary to use a parenthetical (a) following see generally or (b) if the signal is used as a verb within a textual sentence in the footnote. If the signal is used as a verb, it is not italicized.
Complaints about Donald Houser’s laissez-faire management style are not uncommon.2
See generally Matthew McDermott, To Hell and Back Again: My
Harrowing Year Under the Thumb of Donald M. Houser, 63 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 410 (2006). For another example of a disgruntled editor complaining about Donald Houser’s laissez-faire management style, see Aaron Lockwood, Why Do I Do This For Only One Credit?, 63 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 516, 530 (2006).
b. You may use a parenthetical when quoting (i.e. when a source is not preceded by a signal) if so desired.
Curious as to why Columbia, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale did not consult the Washington and Lee Law Review before making its recent revisions to the Bluebook, the Law Review Board vowed to "reform the system of legal citation."6
6. Donald Houser et al., How to Rid Citations of Argy Bargy , 64 Wash.
& Lee L. Rev. 1, 5 (2006) (describing Washington and Lee’s Writing Guidelines
as clearer and more entertaining than the Bluebook).
c. Begin parentheticals with a gerund ("-ing" verb) (e.g., stating, determining, proposing, mandating, finding, holding, etc.) unless the parenthetical consists entirely of a quoted sentence. Do not place a period inside the parenthetical if the parenthetical begins with an "-ing" verb.
Correct: (finding that Law Review editing can be tedious work)
Incorrect: (Law Review editing can be tedious work)
d. Quotations in substantive parentheticals may consist of more
than one sentence. Substantive parentheticals beginning with an "-ing"
verb should contain only one sentence. If further explanation is required,
begin a new sentence outside of the parenthetical and provide a separate
citation to the source of this information.
e. Use the word "holding" or "held" in text or footnotes only when the court uses that word. The word "hold" is a term of art. A court’s mere restatement of a rule is not a holding.
f. Quoted Material in a Parenthetical: When a parenthetical includes only a quoted sentence, the sentence should begin with a capital letter, and a period should be included inside the parenthetical (and outside the parenthetical if it is the last citation in the footnote). However, if the parenthetical does not begin with a quotation, the parenthetical should begin with an "-ing" verb and should not include a period inside the parenthetical.
Incorrect: ("only law review nerds care about blue booking conventions")
Correct: ("[O]nly law review nerds care about blue booking conventions.").
Correct: ("Intentional force against another’s person or property is virtually never employed to commit this offense.").
Incorrect: (Skylar Rosenbloom stated that "his first love is editing.")
Correct: (quoting Skylar Rosenbloom as stating that "his first love is editing").
g. Use "(same)" for a parenthetical only when the two cases’, articles’, or statutes’ holdings, conclusions, propositions, etc. are identical. The "(same)" parenthetical should be used sparingly.
See Smith v. Johnson, 100 F.2d 103, 104 (1st Cir. 1980) (holding that a person may assert an estoppel defense in a conversion action); Jones v. Johnson, 99 F.2d 100, 108 (1st Cir. 1979) (same); Black v. Johnson, 98 F.2d 100, 109 (1st Cir. 1979) (defining the elements of conversion action).
h. Order of Parenthetical Material: Please refer to the following lists and insert parentheticals as needed. "Substantive" refers to a normal parenthetical beginning with a gerund or containing a quote.
d. emphasis added
f. subsequent history
3. See Rosenbloom v. Grimes, 578 N.W.2d 302, 310 (Iowa 2005) (Pratt, J., concurring) ("Developing such complicated parentheticals takes a lot of time.") (emphasis added) (citing Gray v. Houser, 468 U.S. 902, 908 (2004)), overruled by Abernathy v. Carpenter, 582 N.W.2d 617 (Iowa 2006).
2. OTHER SOURCES
a. date (or forthcoming)
b. statement of . . .
c. last visited
f. emphasis added
h. on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review
1. See Charles L. Capito, I Love to Read Millions of Crappy Articles Every Day, 64 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 789, 792 (2007) [hereinafter Crappy Articles] ("I’ve never seen anyone so excited about crappy articles!") (emphasis added).
2. See Crappy Articles Homepage, http://www.crappyarticles.com (last visited Sept. 21, 2006) [hereinafter Web Crappy Articles] (providing links to many crappy articles) (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
C. Short Cites: Refer to Bluebook Rule 4 for a list of rules on short citation forms.
1. Id.: Refer to Bluebook Rule 4.1. Use id. when citing to the immediately preceding authority within the same footnote or within the immediately preceding footnote when the preceding footnote contains only one authority.
There is no comma between id. and "at."
1. Id. at 9.
When using id., include pinpoint citations when necessary to indicate any particular instance in which the subsequent citation varies from the former. Note that "at" is used only when the pinpoint refers to a page number or numbers.
1. Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
2. Id. at 491.
3. 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (2000).
4. Id. § 1292.
c. Within footnotes, a short cite containing id. is treated as a sentence, therefore two spaces should precede and follow it.
1. Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). The issue in Harlow
concerned the scope of immunity available to President Nixon’s senior aides and
advisers. Id. at 802. The Harlow Court discussed various types of governmental
d. Bluebook Rule 4.1 indicates that "[s]ources identified in explanatory parentheticals, explanatory phrases, or prior/subsequent history . . . are ignored" when using id. to cite to the immediately preceding authority within the same footnote or within the immediately preceding footnote when the preceding footnote contains only one source.
1. Haddon View Inv. Co. v. Coopers & Lybrand, 436 N.E.2d 212, 217
(Ohio 1982), overruled by Smith v. Jones, 782 N.E.2d 923 (Ohio 1985).
2. Id. at 214.
e. When using id., parentheticals indicating the weight of authority (e.g., dissenting, concurring) must be repeated even if the immediately preceding footnote includes an appropriate parenthetical indicating weight of authority.
1. Nunnally v. Seiner, 607 U.S. 1081, 1084 (1994).
2. Id. at 1097 (Scalia, J., dissenting).
3. Id. (Scalia, J., dissenting).
f. For the use of id. with supra and infra, see page 12.
2. Cases: Cite all cases in full in footnotes, with the following exceptions:
a. Use a short cite if the case already appears in the same footnote.
b. Use a short cite if the case appears in the same general textual discussion. When you extensively discuss a case in text, you may use the short form for the case in a footnote even though the case does not appear in the same footnote or does not appear prominently within five preceding footnotes.
c. Use a short cite if the full
citation prominently appears within five
1. Haddon View Inv. Co. v. Coopers & Lybrand, 436 N.E.2d 212, 217
(Ohio 1982), overruled by Smith v. Jones, 782 N.E.2d 923
2. Id. at 212–13.
3. Id. at 213.
4. Id. at 214.
5. Id.; see Restatement (Second) of Torts § 552 (1977) (defining
elements of negligent misrepresentation).
6. Haddon, 436 N.E.2d at 215.
d. For a full citation to appear prominently, the prior footnote must contain
no more than four sources including all sources found in parenthetical information. For example, the following footnote contains five sources but only three citations.
1. Haskell v. Ragland, 34 So. 2d 87, 96 (La. 1987) (citing Robert A. McCormick, Interference on Both Sides: The Case Against the NFL-NFLPA Contract
, 53 Wash. & Lee L. Rev.
397, 399 (1996)); see generally
Cravens v. Redding, 823 P.2d 874, 889 (N.M. 1992); Louis Loss, The Conflict of Laws and the Blue Sky Laws
, 71 Harv. L. Rev.
209 (1957), reprinted in Louis Loss & Edward M. Cowett, Blue Sky Law
3. Other Sources; supra, infra and hereinafter:
a. Supra refers to citations or discussions appearing previously. Infra refers to citations or discussions that will appear later. Refer to Bluebook Rule 3.5.
b. Supra may be used to short cite to any source that is not a case.
Example: Braithwaite, supra note 45, at 121.
c. Do not use id. to refer to portions of a Note or Article. Supra or infra should be repeated instead. You may use id. to short cite to a single source. A footnote is not a source.
Supra notes 200–12 and accompanying text.
2. Supra notes 200–12 and accompanying text.
3. Barnett, supra
note 150, at 202.
D. Footnotes When Sources Appear in Text:
1. You must fully identify any case or statute
that is mentioned in the text for the first time.
a. Place a footnote immediately following the source; this footnote should begin with a signal, contain the full source name, a full citation, and a parenthetical describing the holding of a case or the purpose of a statute.
In Lemon v. Kurtzman,1 the Supreme Court developed an Establishment Clause
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612–13 (1971) (establishing a three prong test to determine whether a government action violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause).
Chapter 11 of NAFTA3
requires that countries provide rights to foreign
North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S.-Can.-Mex., art. 1103, Dec. 17, 1992, 32 I.L.M. 289 (1993) (establishing free trade among Canada, the United States
, and Mexico).
b. If the source name appears in the middle of a sentence, you must footnote the source immediately. You may then id. to this citation in the footnote at the end of the sentence.
In Regents of University of California v. Bakke
the Court addressed whether a
school’s use of a set-aside system failed to evaluate each applicant as an
1. See Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 320 (1978)
(finding the University of California Medical School’s admissions plan
2. See id. at 320 ("The fatal flaw in petitioner’s preferential program is its
disregard of individual rights as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.").
c. For Notes only, a mini-case comment may accompany any case specifically mentioned in the text and should immediately follow the first in-text mention of the case. A mini-case comment contains a brief summary of the following: (1) the issue of the case, (2) the facts of the case, (3) the court’s reasoning, and (4) the court’s holding. You may vary from this format as needed if you choose to include a mini-case comment for another type of source.
The Court addressed this issue in Regents of University of California v. Bakke.1
1. See Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 320 (1978)
(holding the University of California Medical School’s admissions plan
unconstitutional). In Bakke, the Supreme Court considered the validity of a
medical school’s admissions program that set aside 16 of 100 available spots in
the school’s incoming class specifically for minority students. Id. at 272–75.
According to the Bakke Court, the school’s desire to attain a diverse student
body was a constitutionally permissible goal for an institution of higher
education. Id. at 311–12. Even so, the Bakke Court found that the school’s
affirmative action program violated the Constitution for two reasons. Id. at 309,
316. First, the assignment of a fixed number of places to minority individuals
was an unnecessarily restrictive means of achieving the school’s goal. Id. at 316.
Specifically, the school’s use of a set-aside system failed to evaluate each
applicant as an individual. Id. at 319–20. At the same time, the Court approved
of other race-conscious admissions programs that considered a minority
applicant’s race as one factor among many factors qualifying the applicant for
admission. Id. at 316–18. The Bakke Court stated that programs that consider
an applicant’s race as a positive factor do not insulate the individual from
comparison with all other candidates for the available seats. Id. at 317. Second,
the Bakke Court found that the school was an incompetent body to make findings
of constitutional or statutory violations. Id. at 309. Consequently, the Bakke
Court held that the school’s admissions program was unconstitutional. Id. at
d. Because the purpose of a citation is to support the assertions in sentences, you should not cite a source at the end of a sentence merely because the source is mentioned in the sentence. Thus, if a source does not support a sentence’s assertion(s), you should not cite that source at the conclusion of the sentence, but should instead cite authority that supports the assertion.
Many believe that Brown v. Board of Education1
is the single most important case of the twentieth century.2
Remember that it was Brown
that first proclaimed that "[s]eparate . . . [is] inherently unequal."3
1. Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
2. See Bernard Schwartz, A History of the Supreme Court
(1993) (stating that Brown was "the watershed constitutional case of the
[twentieth] century" and "the most important decision in the history of the
3. Brown, 347 U.S. at 495.
e. In a textual discussion, you may use a shortened form for a case name if you have previously used the case’s full name in text. If you believe that a citation to your previous discussion of the case would help the reader, then provide a footnote pointing to that previous discussion.
provided a principled approach to negligent
See supra notes 4, 16 and accompanying text (providing a
summary of Haddon
E. Internet Citations
: Information should be cited in a way that clearly indicates which source the author actually used or accessed. Bluebook Rule 18
requires the use and citation of traditional printed sources unless the information cited is not available in a traditional printed source or a copy of the source is obscure or hard to find. PDF files found online are treated as a traditional, printed source.
1. Order of preferred sources: (1) print, (2) PDF files, (3) websites
2. After citing a traditional or PDF source, Bluebook Rule 18.2.2
an Internet source to be given as a parallel citation using the phrase "available
" to improve access to the source. If only the Internet is used to check the
source, do not use "available at."
1. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, United States Attorneys’ Manual
2. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, More About
Pollution Release and Transfer Registers
(last visited Nov. 7, 2006) (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
3. For dates on internet citations, refer to Bluebook Rule 18.2.3(e)
. If the material is
undated, the date that the website was last visited should be placed in a
, i.e. (last visited Sept. 23, 2006).
4. According to Bluebook Rule 18.2.2(a)
, you should cite to an
Internet source in the form that you would use if it were not an Internet citation. In
other words, cite cases as per Bluebook Rule 10, newspaper articles as per
Bluebook Rule 16.5, etc.
5. An accurate Uniform Resource Locator (URL), the electronic address of the information, or portion thereof, is necessary for Internet citations. The URL should appear in regular roman typeface, without brackets. A long URL should be shortened to the simplest possible URL that provides sufficient information to locate the document. Refer to Bluebook Rule 18.2.1.
6. Preserving Information from the Internet: An accurate URL does not guarantee
that the information can be readily accessed by the user, therefore preserving the
information as it exists at the time of access is necessary. In other words, print
out all non-PDF Internet sources
, so that they may be kept on file with the law
Indicate parenthetically that sources are on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review
, i.e. (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review). This
"on file" parenthetical should accompany all non-PDF sources citechecked only on the internet, along with a "last visited" parenthetical.
Randall R. Smith, Guiding Principles of Medicare
, Health Aff. Web
W-15, W-16 (Mar. 15, 2006), http://www.healthaffairs.org/articles/smith/html
(last visited June 23, 2006) (setting forth public policy justifications for Medicare) (on
file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
7. Sources that are accompanied by an "available at" generally do not need
an "on file" parenthetical. However, if the citechecker has difficulty in
locating the information on the Internet, the citechecker may, in his or her
discretion, include an "on file" parenthetical.
8. Citecheckers may use LEXIS or Westlaw to citecheck newspaper articles only
we do not have the newspapers in either the Law Library or at Leyburn Library on
the undergraduate campus. Parallel citations to LEXIS or Westlaw are not
necessary if cite-checking a newspaper online.
III. Punctuation and Abbreviation
1. See TMS 1.19–1.20.
Place a comma after an introductory prepositional phrase.
Incorrect: In Zapata Corp. v. Maldonado
the Delaware court held . . . .
Correct: In Smith v. Van Gorkom
, the Delaware court held . . . .
Favored: In 1996, I paid my taxes.
Disfavored: In 1996 I paid my taxes.
2. Never place a comma before the word "because" unless you are doing so for some reason other than the existence of the word "because."
Incorrect: I went home, because I was tired.
Correct: I went home because I was tired.
3. Do not place commas around phrases using the words "not only . . . but also . . . ."
4. Do not place a comma after the last part of a date or an address if that date or address serves as an adjective rather than as a noun.
Incorrect: She stayed at a Bethesda, Maryland, hotel.
Correct: She stayed at a Bethesda, Maryland hotel.
Correct: The July 21, 1996 test was difficult.
But: She stayed in Bethesda, Maryland, for several months.
5. If the title of a book ends with a year, place a comma between the book title and the pinpoint.
Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, Published During Its Discussion by the People,
1787–1788, at 385 (Paul L. Ford ed., Da Capo Press 1968).
B. Quotation Marks
: Always use smart quotes
(‘curly quotes’) for single quotation marks and "straight quotes"
for double quotation marks.
The court noted "that collateral estoppel never bars ‘the United States from using evidence
previously suppressed in a state proceeding in which the United States was not a party.’"
Do not put two sets of quotation marks around material that appears identically in two sources if using (quoting . . . ) and the whole quote is a quotation of another source. You may put ‘single curly quotes’ around part of a quotation from another source if doing so would help support your argument.
The Court in Smith
criticized "double dipping."22
22. Smith v. Jones, 490 U.S. 301, 307 (1986) (quoting Johnson v. Johnson, 450 U.S.
211, 222 (1980)).
To change your Microsoft Word default settings to "straight quotes" go to the Format Menu, Select AutoFormat, click on Options, click on the AutoFormat Tab, uncheck Replace Straight Quotes with Smart Quotes, then click on the AutoFormat as You Type Tab, uncheck Straight Quotes with Smart Quotes, then press Ok. To insert ‘curly single quotes’ press Ctrl + ~ twice for the left single quote and Ctrl + " twice for the right single quote, which is used for apostrophes. You may use the "Find and Replace" (Ctrl + F) function in Word to change all single quotes to single curly quotes.
: There should be two spaces after a colon.
: Refer to TMS Rule 1.1
1. Form the possessive of (1) any singular noun or (2) a plural noun that does not end in "s" by adding an apostrophe and an "s."
person’s work; Mr. Seevers’s ego; alumni’s party; Congress’s mishaps
2. Form the possessive case of a plural noun that does end in "s" or with an "s" sound by adding an apostrophe only.
The Seevers’ cars; most courts’ dockets
: Consult Bluebook Rule 8
and TMS Chapter 3
for comprehensive rules and examples.
2. "Government" and "State"
: Capitalize "government" only when referring to the U.S. government as a litigant. TMS
Rule 3.9(d). Capitalize "state" only when using it as a proper noun or referring to it as a litigant.
Media scrutiny has shackled the U.S. government.
The Government prosecuted Jody for not filing a 1996 federal tax return.
The State of Texas, although only one state, is larger than all the New England states
On appeal, the State argued that there was a compelling state interest for the legislation.
: Capitalize "court" only when referring to the United States Supreme Court or when giving the formal name of a court (i.e. the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit). TMS Rule 3.9(a).
4. First Word Following a Colon
The first word following a colon should begin with a capital letter if the material introduced by the colon is a statement, a quotation, a speech in dialogue, or if the introduced material consists of more than one sentence. TMS Rule 3.22.
Heather Curlee has sold her soul to the devil: She spends all day and all night in the law
Greg’s choices included the following: a BMW, a Porsche, or an Audi.
F. Abbreviation: Refer to Bluebook Rule 6.1. "United States" may be abbreviated to "U.S." when used as an adjective (i.e. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois). Otherwise, avoid this abbreviation in formal writing. Identify parenthetically in text shortened forms of proper nouns that you wish to use throughout the remainder of the Article or Note. Do not put quotation marks around the abbreviated form of the proper noun.
Incorrect: The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) enforces the Clean Air Act.
Correct: Alberto Gonzales heads the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
G. Blanks: Hold down the shift key and press the regular underline key twice to create a blank space (e.g., __S.W.2d__).
H. Dashes and Hyphens: TMS Rules 1.26–1.33 explain the uses of hyphens, en-dashes and em-dashes. As a general rule, use a hyphen when joining two words; use an en-dash to indicate a range of items (like numbers, including those in a footnote) or in place of "to" or "versus"; use an em-dash to set off a short sentence informally. Never use spaces around hyphens, en-dashes, or em-dashes.
She had lovely blue-green eyes. [Hyphen]
We read pages 4–93 for the first day of class. [En-dash]
I ran to my professor’s office—my paper was due ten minutes earlier—but the professor was gone.
1. See Miles
, supra note 23, at 10–13 (contemplating the distribution of the next lengthy
citechecking assignment). [En-dash]
Tip: To set shortcut keys
, go to the insert symbol menu, select the symbol, and click on "Shortcut Key." Select a shortcut such as Ctrl+M for em-dash or Ctrl+N for en-dash and press "Assign."
1. The ellipsis
: An ellipsis is composed of three SPACED
periods; it is used to show the omission of material from a quoted passage. See Bluebook Rule 5.3
and TMS Rules 8.4–8.5, 8.7
2. Omissions within quoted material
: If omitted material occurs within a sentence, indicate the omission by inserting an ellipsis in place of the omitted material, retaining any necessary punctuation.
Full quotation: "The dog, Spot, ate my homework, all of my lunch, and my sister’s
With omissions: "The dog . . . ate my homework, . . . my lunch, and my sister’s lunch."
3. Omissions following a quoted sentence: If the omitted material is located between the end of a quoted sentence and further material from the same passage, retain the final punctuation of the preceding sentence exactly as it is in the original with the ellipsis preceding the next quoted portion.
Full quotation: "The dog, which was brown and gray, at my homework. Upon seeing me, he started to bark. I chased him around the block."
With omissions: "The dog, which was brown and gray, ate my homework. . . . I chased him around the block."
4. Omissions included in the end of a quoted sentence: If the omitted material includes the end of a quoted sentence, an ellipsis should precede in final punctuation in the following two situations:
a. If the quotation continues after the omitted end of the sentence.
Full quotation: "The child told me that the dog, which was brown and gray, ate my homework and my lunch. Then it bit my hand."
With omissions: "The child told me that the dog, which was brown and gray, ate my homework . . . . Then it bit my hand."
b. If the quotation is used as a complete sentence.
Full quotation: "The dog, which was brown and gray, ate my homework and my lunch."
With omissions: "The dog, which was brown and gray, ate my homework . . . ."
Or: The child said, "The dog, which was brown and gray, ate my homework . . . ."
However, do not include an ellipsis if quoted material is integrated into a quoting sentence.
This rule applies to substantive parentheticals.
The child told me that "[t]he dog, which was brown and gray, ate my homework."
J. Foreign Words
: Pursuant to Bluebook Rule 7(b)
and TMS Rule 4.9
, italicize foreign words or phrases that are not in common usage. TMS
Rule 4.9 includes a list of Latin legal phrases that it considers to be in common usage. If the author uses a foreign spelling that is easily recognizable, defer to the author’s word choice and do not italicize the word.
K. Hypothetical Parties or Places: Refer to Bluebook Rule 7(c) and TMS Rule 4.6(c). Italicize individual letters when used to represent the names of hypothetical parties or places (e.g., A went to her bank B in state X).
: When referring to a decade in main text or footnote text, do not include an apostrophe (i.e. 1970s; not 1970’s).
M. The Letter "L"
Refer to Bluebook Rule 7(d)
. Italicize the lower case letter "L" when used as a subdivision (i.e. § 66(l
Refer to Bluebook Rule 6.2(a)
and TMS Chapter 2
. As a general rule, write out numbers zero to ninety-nine in text and in footnotes. Use numerals for 100 and above. Look to the Bluebook
for exceptions to these rules. Always use numerals to express statistics and numbers with decimal points. When using numbers with four or more digits that are not used to indicate a page or volume number, insert commas where appropriate.
: Unless you are citing a case, the word "versus" should be spelled out when it is used in text.
P. Paragraph Symbol
: Refer to Bluebook Rule 6.2(c)
. Spell out "paragraph" in text. Use the paragraph symbol (¶) in footnotes. Always place a space between the paragraph symbol and the numeral. Never separate the paragraph symbol and the numeral on two different lines. If you are citing to more than one paragraph in footnotes, use multiple paragraph symbols (i.e. ¶¶).
Q. Percentages: Refer to Bluebook Rule 6.2(d) and TMS Rules 2.1 and 2.6. Spell out "percent" in text only if you spell out the accompanying number. Otherwise, use the percent sign (%). Use numerals and percent signs in footnotes and charts.
1. Always spell out and capitalize "Section" when it is the first word in a sentence.
2. Spell out "section" in text and footnotes unless referring to a provision in the U.S. Code, a federal regulation
, or the Constitution. If referring to a section of the U.S. Code, a federal regulation, or the Constitution, use the section symbol (i.e. §). Refer to Bluebook Rules 6.2(c), 12.9, and 14.10
. If referring to more than one section, include two section symbols (i.e. §§).
3. Use the section symbol in citations (except when citing session laws amending prior acts as noted in Bluebook Rule 12.4(c)
4. Both "rule" and "section" should be capitalized when referring to a specific section or to a specific rule in text (e.g., Section 12(2) of the 1933 Act; Rule 10b-5 of the Rules of Civil Procedure; the ethical rules).
Incorrect: The plaintiff brought an action against the Lexington police department
under 42 U.S.C. section 1983.
Correct: The plaintiff brought an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The plaintiff brought a § 1983 action.
But: Section 1983 actions can be lucrative for local lawyers. The plaintiff brought a cause of action against her employer under Section 703 of Title VII. [Here,"Section" is capitalized because it refers to a session law number; the section symbol should not be used because "Section" does not refer to the U.S. Code or a federal regulation.]
5. Always place a space between the section symbol and the numeral. But never separate the section symbol and the numeral on two different lines.
: The Washington and Lee Law Review
uses three different typefaces: Ordinary Roman, Italics
, and Large and Small Capitals
. Please refer to Bluebook Rule 2
for proper typeface conventions.
To change the font to large and small capitals, press Ctrl + D and check the small caps box.
B. Tables of Contents
: Prepare a Table of Contents for all Articles and Notes containing three or more levels of headings. Skip a line before each new first-level heading in the Table of Contents. Do not skip a line before other levels of headings. Do not italicize headings in a Table of Contents generally, but do italicize case names. Case names in the Table of Contents need not adhere to Bluebook
T.6 abbreviation conventions. Commonly used acronyms or abbreviations may be used in a Table of Contents.
Table of Contents
To insert a table of contents go to the View menu, select Toolbars, and then Outlining. Highlight each title and subtitle (one at a time), assign them to the appropriate level using the drop down menu on the Outlining Toolbar (i.e. Parts =s Level 1, subparts =s Level 2), press Update TOC.
C. Headings in the Text:
1. Center and italicize all headings in text, but do not
italicize case names. "Part" is capitalized; all other headings are not capitalized. If using only one level of headings, do not number them. If using two or more levels of headings, number them as follows:
First-Level Headings (called "Parts"): I., II., III., etc.
Second-Level Headings (called "subparts"): A., B., C., etc.
Third-Level Headings (called "sections"): 1., 2., 3., etc.
Fourth-Level Headings (called "subsections"): a., b., c., etc.
Fifth-Level Headings: (1), (2), (3), etc.
2. Number the Introduction and Conclusion headings if you number other headings.
3. Insert one double space in between sections, subparts, sections, and subsections.
4. If you reference multiple parts of the text, follow these guidelines:
a. If the parts are adjacent, use an en-dash (i.e. Part II.D–E).
b. If the parts are not adjacent, refer to each part separately and separate with
a comma. (Parts II.D, II.F)
: Paragraphs should consist of three or more sentences.
a. Introductory Signals
: Do not italicize introductory signals used as verbs in sentences. Refer to Bluebook Rules 1.2(e)
Bockes, 999 F.2d at 788, for a discussion of persons who qualify as state actors under the Eleventh Amendment.
Correct: See Bockes, 999 F.2d at 788, for a discussion of persons who qualify as state actors under the Eleventh Amendment.
Bockes, 999 F.2d at 788 (discussing persons who qualify as state actors under Eleventh Amendment).
b. i.e., e.g.: As a general rule, do not use "i.e." or "e.g." in text. Do not italicize
"i.e." or "e.g." unless part of a footnote signal. Always follow these terms with a
F. Block Quotes
: For any quotation that is 50 words or longer, use a block quotation. Block quotations are always single spaced, justified, and indented on both the right and left sides. After the block quotation, return to double spacing and regular margins. Refer to Bluebook Rule 5.1(a)
and TMS Rules 8.6–8.7
. For block quotes in footnotes
, do not include block quotations inside parentheticals. Instead, begin a new sentence that includes the quotation.
The practical and constitutional considerations of a probation condition that limits the
probationer’s right to have children cast doubt on the propriety of the decisions in Kline and
State v. Oakley, 629 N.W.2d 200, 217 (Wis. 2001) (Bradley, J., dissenting)
(disagreeing with majority’s decision to uphold Oakley’s probation condition). The dissent stated:
In addition to the obvious constitutional infirmities of the majority’s decision [to uphold the probation condition], upholding a term of probation that prohibits a probationer from fathering a child without first establishing the financial wherewithal to support his children carries unacceptable collateral consequences and practical problems.
. (Bradley, J., dissenting).
G. Charts and Graphs
: Do not attempt to format charts and graphs yourself. See Lisa Gearheart for assistance.
V. Grammar and Writing Style
A. Active Voice
: Always write in the active voice. Use passive voice only if an active voice construction would be awkward, or when the identity of the agent is obvious or unknown. A helpful way to spot passive voice is to look for a form of the verb "to be" (i.e. am, are, is, was, were, be, been, or being) used in conjunction with the past participle of the principal verb. Refer also to TMS Rule 6.1
. Cite-checkers of both Notes and Articles should attempt to eliminate the passive voice wherever possible but ultimately defer to the author’s wishes.
Favored: John savagely kicked the computer.
Disfavored: The computer was savagely kicked by John.
B. Linking Verbs: Use linking verbs (i.e. am, are, is, was, were, be, been, or being) only when necessary.
C. Short and Simple: Use short, simple words and sentences. Avoid following prepositional phrases with prepositional phrases. Do not begin sentences with long, introductory clauses.
D. Pronouns: Avoid use of pronouns whenever possible.
E. Split Infinitives: As a general rule, avoid splitting infinitives. A split infinitive results when an adverb is placed between to and the verbal part of the infinitive.
Incorrect: Karen felt the urge to violently scream.
Correct: Karen felt the urge to scream violently.
Rule 6.8(a) permits split infinitives to preserve the rhythm of a sentence or to avoid ambiguity. Use this exception sparingly. Ideally, all sentences should be constructed to avoid
F. Since and Because
: Use "since" only to indicate the passage of time. Do not use "since" to denote cause and effect; instead, use "because" or "as."
Incorrect: Since the search was unconstitutional, the court did not allow the testimony.
Correct: Because the search was unconstitutional, the court did not the allow the
: While means "during the time that" or "although." Avoid the use of while as a substitute for "but" or "and." See TMS
Commonly Misused Words Appendix for helpful examples.
H. Dangling Modifiers
Rule 6.3, a modifier is dangling if its placement creates ambiguity as to which word or phrase it modifies. The TMS
notes two common types of misplaced modifiers:
1. The first type is a participial phrase (a phrase that begins with an "-ing" form of a verb and that modifies a noun) in which the subject of the phrase is not the same as that of the sentence.
Incorrect: Driving through the early morning mist of the Blue Ridge mountains
the beauty of western Virginia enthralled Tammy.
Correct: Driving through the early morning mist of the Blue Ridge mountains,
Tammy was enthralled by the beauty of western Virginia.
Incorrect: On arriving in Chicago, his friends met him at the station.
Correct: On arriving in Chicago, Ben met his friends at the station.
2. The second situation is when a phrase is not adjacent to the word or phrase that it modifies.
Disfavored: A buyer receiving goods from a shipper who does not inspect goods
shortly after arrival cannot reject them.
Preferred: A buyer who does not inspect goods shortly after receiving them from a
shipper cannot reject them.
I. Split Verb Phrases
: You may split a verb phrase with an adverb (but not with a prepositional phrase) if doing so makes the sentence read better.
Incorrect: I have in my hour of need decided to ask for help.
Correct: I have grudgingly consented to the will of the law review majority.
: Avoid separating "that" from the subject and the verb of the dependent clause offset by "that."
Incorrect: I know that when I go to the store, I will have to get some tomatoes.
Correct: I know that I will have to get some tomatoes when I go to the store.
: Words, phrases, or clauses in a series should be of the same construction. Make sure that words or phrases connected by a conjunction are parallel, especially when the sentence also contains "both," "either," or "neither."
Incorrect: He went both to the park and the zoo.
Correct: He went both to the park and to the zoo.
But: He went to both the park and the zoo.
Incorrect: John oversees development, production, and distributing the final product.
Correct: John oversees development, production, and distribution.
L. Where, When, or in Which
: Use where to designate places and not as a substitute for "when" or "in which".