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Bluebook Citation: When Do I Cite?

The Basics

Legal writing, in general, requires very precise and exhaustive use of citations.  It is used to allow the reader to quickly go to a specific page of a specific source to find the support for whatever argument you are making.

As a basic rule, include a citation for anything you use from any type of authority.  For legal memoranda and court documents you will want to include a citation for all facts, thoughts, or opinions that you gather from any outside source, even when you are not using direct quotations.  These sources include:

  • Cases
  • Statutes, constitutions, rules, and legislative sources
  • Secondary sources

EXCEPTION:  You do not need a citation for something you have already previously discussed OR when you are discussing your own facts.

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