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Introduction to "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation": Bluebook Layout

Quick References

The Bluebook contains several handy references to speed up the citation process.

Inside Front Cover
Quick Reference: Law Review Footnotes
- Examples of commonly used citation forms printed in the typefaces used in law review footnotes.

Inside Back Cover
Quick Reference: Court Documents and Legal Memoranda - Examples of commonly used citation forms printed in the typefaces used in breifs and legal memoranda.

Back Cover
Quick Index - Lists the rules and table headings for easy reference.



The Bluebook contains three major parts: the Blue PagesWhite Pages, and Tables.

Blue Pages (pp. 3-56):  A how-to guide for basic legal citation. The blue pages provide easy-to-comprehend guidance for the everyday citation needs of first-year law students, summer associates, law clerks, practicing lawyers, and other legal professionals. The examples used throughout the blue pages are printed using simple typeface conventions common in the legal profession.

White Pages (pp. 57-231):  The primary rules of citation and style. This part is subdivided into two main sections. The first section, consisting of rules 1 through 9, establishes general standards of citation and style for use in all forms of legal writing. The second section, consisting of rules 10 through 21, presents rules for citation of specific kinds of authority such as cases, statutes, books, periodicals, and foreign and international materials. The examples used throughout this part are printed using typeface conventions standard in law journal footnotes.

Tables (pp. 233-523):  A series of tables to be used in conjunction with the rules. The tables show, among other things, which authority to cite and how to abbreviate properly. Individual tables are referenced throughout the book.

Additionally, there is a comprehensive Index beginning on page 525. It is excellent and should be consulted often.


For those just starting out with The Bluebook, take a few minutes to read through the table of contents to get a feel for all of the various citation issues the rules govern. Otherwise, you may unintentionally miss a rule that applies to materials you are citing. 

When in doubt, don't forget about the index! Many types of publications can be looked up by name and the index directs users to the appropriate rule and/or table.