Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Citation Formats

You're probably already familiar with The Bluebook and have discovered that legal citation is not simple. If it was, we wouldn't have books like User's guide to the Bluebook or Understanding and mastering The bluebook : a guide for students and practitioners in our collection. And no, you're not the only one who has ever thought "There must be a better way..."

Other legal citation forms:

Universal Citation Guide - from the Citation Formats Committee of the American Association of Law Libraries
ALWD Citation Manual - from the Association of Legal Writing Directors

Some states, including Colorado, have adopted vendor-neutral citation rules.



The Bluebook system was created at Harvard in 1926. In the '90s, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) began creating a guide for organizations interested in "universal" citations (usable both in print and electronically and not tied to a particular publisher). In 2000, the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) published a more user-friendly citation system aimed at applicability for legal scholars, students and practitioners, as opposed to the Bluebook focus on law reviews.*

*From Larry L. Teply, Legal Writing Citation in a Nutshell 4 (Thomson/West 2008).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Case Law on the Internet

After a year or two of law school, you may find yourself addicted to those free Wexis accounts...and then have a rude awakening when you graduate and see the real bills. Luckily, more and more legal information is becoming freely available on the Internet.

Case law is written in the courts - it's the kind of information that really does want to be free. In the past year, a number of sites have popped up providing case law and other legal information for free.

Where to look...
  • Precydent - Search case law, statutes (includes Fed. Rules of Civil Procedure), links & legal documents; jurisdiction list; site still in beta with lots of space to grow; coverage from 4/1/1759-present
  • Public Library of Law - Search case law, statutes, regulations, court rules, constitutions, forms; case law coverage - U.S. Supreme Court & Court of Appeals, plus all 50 states back to 1997; some information is free and some is available for a fee from FastCase; check out the user guide
  • Megalaw - Similar to Precydent & PLOL, provides access to federal cases & courts, coverage varying by jurisdiction
  • Altlaw - Keyword, title, citation searching of of U.S. Supreme Court cases (back to 1781) and Federal Appeals cases (coverage varies by circuit); full-text searching of "the last few decades"; updated daily; no state law or district court cases
  • lexisONE - Free with registration, search the last 10 years of federal and state courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court back to 1781
  • Findlaw Cases and Codes - Provides opinion summaries
  • K&L Gates Electronic Discovery Case Database - Electronic discovery cases from U.S. state and federal jurisdictions, searchable by keyword or case attribute
  •'s Courts database - Not a pretty site but a lot of information; coverage varies by jurisdiction. Check out the readme file first. Federal Reporter & United States Reports plus state cases here and here, and a PACER section.
  • Tribal Court Decisions from the Tribal Court Clearinghouse: "annotated Tribal Court opinions, memorandums and orders from Twenty-One Tribal Courts"
  • Case updates are also available from the Native American Rights Fund site
  • - List of case law resources; maybe they have one that we missed!

Or try getting it from the source:

This information is also in the library's list of case law resources - check there for updates!

But how do you cite it? What if the online version does not have page numbers? Check back tomorrow for information about alternative citation formats.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Federal Register online

New FR website:

Check out their Public Inspection Desk to find notices and rules on file for public inspection (starting at approximately 8:45 am ET) that will be published in the next day's Federal Register.

The Office of the Federal Register publishes federal regulatory material, federal laws, presidential documents, and federal organizations, programs and activities. The new site links to the following documents at GPO Access:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Plum Book (federal jobs)

Interested in working for a federal agency or organization?
Recently released, the Plum Book lists over 7,000 Federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment nationwide. Data covers positions such as agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials. The Plum Book is published following presidential elections to list jobs that might be available through the new administration.
The entire document is available from GPO Access or as a collection of smaller PDFs arranged by the Plum Book's table of contents. You can download entire chapters (such as the Legislative Branch or Executive Branch Departments), or just information on individual commissions, councils, corporations, departments, offices, etc...
For additional resources, try the Library’s Federal Legal Jobs links which highlight particular agencies or organizations. Also look at postings on Federal Jobs Digest or USA Jobs . The Library also has a series of job search handouts including guides on finding Government Jobs , Judicial Clerkships and General Sources. The COL Career Development Center provides career advice and many database subscriptions with job listings , so make an appointment to see a counselor for assistance.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Free Student Membership in Colorado Bar Assoc.

Colorado Bar Association (CBA) student members enjoy rights and privileges of active members specified by the Board of Governors. (A student member may be any student of an accredited law school.) However, student members may not hold office or vote. Student members are automatically included in the CBA Young Lawyers Division. CBA student membership also includes free membership in one of the following bar associations:
Fill out the Student Membership Application Form and join today!
See also the membership benefits and the membership guide.