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About the Book

ALWD Guide to Legal Citation

Front Cover - ALWD Guide to Legal Citation

Sixth Edition

Association of Legal Writing Directors

Coleen Miller Barger
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

2017. 608 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4548-8776-8. 

Need the Fifth Edition instead? Click here.

With Teacher's Manual and Bluebook Correlation Tables. 

About the Book

ALWD Guide to Legal Citation provides the tools needed for all forms of legal writing, using clear explanations and abundant illustrations. In a single set of rules that novice and experienced legal writers can easily consult, Professor Coleen Barger contrasts the formats used in practice-based documents with those used in academic footnotes.

Hallmark features of ALWD Guide to Legal Citation:

  • Provides an integrated set of rules for both everyday legal writing and the formatting needs of academic writing.
  • Students who are ready to move to the requirements of citation in academic writing can return to the rules they’re already familiar with and find the clearly marked subsections of the same rules for the formatting adjustments their citations will need.
  • No need to flip back and forth between abbreviated rules for practitioners and detailed rules for law review writing
  • No need to “reverse engineer” a rule aimed at academic writing into the equivalent used in practice.
  • Adheres to conventional citation expectations of law-trained readers, including judges, attorneys, and law professors.
  • No differences between components, abbreviations, and typeface of  ALWD and the 20th edition of Bluebook confronting the misplaced perception that students who use ALWD don’t know how to “Bluebook.”
  • Focus on content that is relevant to 1L students and to the kind of work they’ll be doing in their first clerking jobs.
  • Clear, modern design promotes usability, with plenty of room in the margins for making notations.
  • Fast Formats that preview and refresh understanding of essential components for full and short citations of primary and secondary sources.
  • Snapshots of frequently cited sources that teach students where to find essential components for building citations.
  • Charts containing relevant abbreviations and other essentials placed within the rules they relate to.
  • Sidebars that help students understand the “why” of legal citations and steer them away from common errors or misconceptions.
  • Templates at the beginning of each source’s rule that diagram essential components.
  • Component-by-component explanations and illustrations, including the use of red triangles to illustrate required spacing of components within the citation.
  • Abundant cross-references within each rule to related content and to appendices.
  • Seven detailed appendices that: (1) collect all recognized abbreviations to primary authorities, by category; (2) identify and demonstrate the abbreviations used by each federal and state jurisdiction’s courts, legislatures, and agencies; (3) references to each jurisdiction’s local rules, including state-specific citation conventions; (4) full coverage for periodicals, including all abbreviations, required spacing [no need to construct periodical abbreviations from different lists, which Bluebook did in 20e]; (5) red stars that flag nonconsecutively paginated periodicals.
  • Coleen Barger has taught legal writing and legal citation for twenty-five years; her experience with the specific needs and frustrations of beginning writers inspires the book’s approach to modeling and explaining the fundamental principles underlying legal citation.
  • Complimentary access to citation exercises in ALWD’s Online Companion ( These online exercises guide and reinforce students’ mastery of the essential elements of legal citation. Check the first page in your new copy of the ALWD Guide to find a sticker with the access code.

Thoroughly updated, the Sixth Edition presents:

  • Updated and expanded coverage of public domain case opinions and other primary authorities published online.
  • Updated and expanded coverage of secondary works in online media, including articles, ebooks, blogs, newsletters, and social media.
  • New and updated subsections of rules addressing federal case reporters, statutes, legislation, and regulations online; new treatment of footnote references and footnotes/endnotes in online sources; new treatment and examples of dictionaries, A.L.R. annotations and articles, Restatements, and Principles of the Law.
  • Updated appendices containing abbreviations, jurisdiction-specific sources and local rules, periodicals (more than 70 new titles added); new appendix addressing abbreviations for titles of looseleaf services.
  • Every rule and example revisited and edited for depth and breadth of coverage as well as improved clarity.
  • Shorter length than the Fifth Edition (but with the same amount of information).

Preface / Sample Chapters