Mastering Legal Citation

Mastering the art of perfect legal citation takes time and experience. Legal citations are used by lawyers whenever they have to present an argument in court. The judge also needs to cite some authority when he has to write an opinion on a legal case. They have to usually mention details on an aspect of law and how it is applied to a specific case. Here references have to be given to relevant and supporting regulations, statutes and prior appellate decisions.
"The Bluebook" has been the authoritative reference book for legal citations for years. Published in the year 2005 its latest edition is called "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation". Another reference is prepared by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and known as the ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation has won wide acceptance in various law schools. Both these references provide guidance on how to cite all manner of references infrequently used in practitioner writing, including a variety of foreign law materials and historic references.
Legal citations are written only after a consistent legal research has been made. During the legal research process, notes have to be taken that will be useful while writing the different citations. One must know about the different information elements that will be needed to write the citation. The use of abbreviations is also very important in a citation. It is also important that all citations be reviewed against the standard abbreviations and omissions given in the dominant manuals.
One of the foremost things to do before trying to master legal citation is to first read different citations. One can read legal material and as one comes across citations one should check out the different references that may have been given. While preparing a citation great care has to be taken to record and present the complete address or retrieval ID of the document. One should remember that whenever a legal research is in the law of a particular state one must immediately master the abbreviations for its courts.
The author of this article is John Kessel of Managed Outsource Solutions, a US based company that offers services in Legal Outsourcing and Legal Transcription for clients across the US.


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