Book Cover: ALWD Guide to Legal CitationIf you’re a legal practitioner or scholar, you’re almost certainly familiar with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.  But you may not have heard of the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation. ALWD, from the Association of Legal Writing Directors, is designed to complement the Bluebook.  Whenever I have a  legal citation question that the Bluebook can’t answer, I turn to ALWD.

ALWD recently released a new 7th edition.  The CRIV Blog offers some insights from author Carolyn V. Williams:

  • To maintain conformity, ALWD almost always keeps the same exact citations as the Bluebook (see below for limited exceptions).  However, where the Bluebook doesn’t address a specific citation point, ALWD provides additional guidance.  For example, how to cite to a Zoom interview or how to reference electronic case files (ECF) numbering.
  • The new edition includes more visuals and explanations. Diagrams are color-coded and “snapshots,” actual pages from a book or document, offer real-world context.  Popular features from past editions, such as the red triangles that indicate spacing were retained.
  • New this edition are two online appendices (at the bottom under Student Resources):
    • Appendix 2, Local Court Citation Rules offers a handy way to find relevant local court rules if you’re working in an unfamiliar federal or state jurisdiction
    • Appendix 5, Periodicals and Looseleaf Services includes every imaginable periodical and resource with its corresponding abbreviation
  • There are a few small differences between ALWD and the Bluebook.
    • For example, the Bluebook uses “e-mail” and ALWD prefers “email.”
    • ALWD also changed LEXIS to Lexis since the use of the uppercase is outdated
    • ALWD also recommends being specific about the database being cited. For example, specify whether you used Westlaw Classic or Westlaw Edge instead of just Westlaw