Bluebook metastasis

Here’s a great article by Richard Posner:  “The Bluebook Blues, ” 120 Yale L. J. 850 (2011).

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation exemplifies hypertrophy in the anthropological sense.  It is a monstrous growth, remote from the functional need for legal citation forms, that serves obscure needs of the legal culture and its student subculture.

Judge Posner has a short manual for his clerks (written, as the judge notes, chiefly by Stanford Law School’s alumnus Scott Hemphill, now a prof. at Columbia) which includes an appendix on “citation formats.”  The appendix is reproduced in the article and starts with clarity and commonsense:  “No parallel citations in cases; statutory provisions do not need years, unless the point is to identify an old law . . . ”

Here at Stanford I can’t count how many times law students have come to the reference desk confused about what year to assign to a United States Code citation.

Read the short book review article – you’ll enjoy it!

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This entry was posted in Citation and tagged , , by Paul Lomio. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Lomio

Paul is library director and lecturer at law at Stanford Law School. He has a J.D. from Gonzaga Law School, an LL.M. from the University of Washington, and a M.L.I.S. from the Catholic University of America. He is the author (with Henrik Spang-Hanssen) of Legal Research Methods in the U.S. and Europe. He also likes to ride his bicycle.

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