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Georgetown Law Library

Bluebook Guide

The purpose of this guide is to introduce The Bluebook and basic concepts of legal citation to new law students.

Short Citation Forms

Thus far, this guide has described how to cite cases in long form, i.e., how you cite a case for the first time in a document. Because you will often cite a case (and other legal materials) multiple times in a document, The Bluebook has established a "short form" for use in subsequent citations.  

The main rule that describes the short form for cases is Rule 10.9. This rule also explains when you can use a short form for cases already cited in full in law review articles. You should consult Bluepages Rule B10.2 for when you can use a short form for cases already cited in full in briefs, filings, and legal memoranda.

In general, a short form for a case has the following elements:

  1. Name of the case (underlined or italicized and abbreviated according to Rule 10.2)
  2. Volume of the reporter
  3. Reporter abbreviation
  4. Pinpoint citation to specific page referenced preceded by "at"

Other short forms are acceptable as long as it's clear which case you are citing.  Here are examples of acceptable short forms for Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Corley, 273 F.3d 429 (2d Cir. 2001), assuming you were referencing text on page 435 of the case:

Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Corley, 273 F.3d at 435

Corley, 273 F.3d at 435

273 F.3d at 435

Id. at 435

Id. is used when the case appeared in the immediately preceding citation and the citation included only that case.  Like case names, id. can be underlined or italicized. Rule 4 provides additional information on using id.