When to Use Block Quotations in Legal Writing

An online subscription version of the Bluebook was launched in 2008. [5] A mobile version was launched in 2012 in the Rulebook app, an app that allows lawyers, academics, judges, law students, paralegals, and others involved in the legal profession to reference federal and state court rules, codes, and style guides on iPad and other mobile devices. [6] TIP: Use quotation marks only when the author`s original words cannot be paraphrased or summarized. If you want to say it as well, paraphrase or summarize instead. California required the use of the California Style Manual. [29] In 2008, the California Supreme Court issued a rule that gave the option to use the California Style Manual or The Bluebook. [30] The two styles differ considerably in the citation of decisions and in the use of ibid. or ID. (for idem) and when citing books and magazines. [31] Michigan uses a separate official citation system issued as an administrative order issued by the Michigan Supreme Court. [32] The main difference is that the Michigan system “omits all periods in citations, uses italics slightly differently, and does not use `small caps.`” [33] As noted above, Texas merely supplements the Bluebook with points specific to Texas courts, such as the citation of cases where Texas was an independent republic,[34] petition and written history,[35] the Attorney General`s opinion,[36] and similar matters. The Blue Book is also affected by disruptions in the legal industry due to legal technology.

[51] In 2017, the startup LegalEase[52] launched a legal citation generator that allows its users to create citations in bluebook format. [53] David Post commented, “This is copyright nonsense, and Harvard should be ashamed of having lost its legal dogs to distribute to protect its (apparently very lucrative) publishing monopoly.” [45] 1. Be careful not to quote excessively; Paraphrase whenever possible. New law students sometimes mistakenly believe that they should always quote the words of a judge. After all, according to the reasoning, the judge must know how best to express the law. However, excessive citation is a poor substitute for analysis. Your job as a lawyer is to analyze precedents, not just repeat them. Therefore, your letter should explain to your reader why and how a precedent is important to your client. You cannot fulfill this important interpretive function simply by chaining quotation marks. In addition, the sequence of case citations and secondary sources tends to result in choppy and incoherent text.

It`s usually best to use your own words so that the text you`re writing has a logical progression and consistent style from sentence to sentence. 5. Try to avoid quotation marks of 50 words or more. Many readers skip quotes because they are looking for explanations of the law rather than simple reprints. Do not use quotation marks unless (i) there is simply no other way to write what you are trying to convey (extremely rare) or (ii) the words are so eloquent that paraphrasing them would seriously undermine the persuasion of your text. Attend the most popular CLE seminar ever. More than 215,000 people – including lawyers, judges, trainee lawyers and paralegals – have benefited since the early 1990s. You`ll learn the keys to professional writing and learn no-frills techniques to make your letters, memos, and briefings more powerful. Ask yourself: Do I need this whole section? Does each word help illustrate my point of view? If you`re using a quote block, make sure you really need the entire section you`re using. If not, choose the most important part and incorporate it into your own text instead of using a block quote.

Claims about intellectual property made by HLR Association may or may not be false. But in any event, the tactics used by HLR`s lawyer in his dealings with Mr. Malamud and Professor Sprigman are regrettable. The Harvard Law Review claims to be an organization that promotes knowledge and access to jurisprudence. It is a revered part of Harvard Law School traditions. But these Harvard Law Review actions are about competition, not justice. [44] [I]t is of the opinion that the title BabyBlue, or a title consisting of the word “Blue” or the word “Blue” when used on or in connection with your work, is so similar to the BLUEBOOK marks that it is likely to cause confusion, error and/or deception. Accordingly, and to avoid any risk of confusion among consumers, my client respectfully requests that you undertake not to (i) use the title or name BabyBlue or any other title or name containing the word “blue” for your work.

[43] Like any other source, bulk quotation marks always require a quote. Note the placement of punctuation in the following example. Usually, punctuation is placed after the quote, but after a block quote, the punctuation is placed first. 9. Avoid introducing quotation marks with a colon. Using a colon to introduce a quote is only appropriate if the words following the colon are truly meaningful. Instead, try incorporating part of the quote into its own sentence. (See point two of this section.) 3. Quote words that have a particular meaning or eloquence. From time to time, we come across a sentence or phrase that is so well written that it would be almost criminal to paraphrase it.

Other sentences may have become part of the tradition of legal writing, and to the informed reader, a paraphrase would seem silly. These phrases are rare, but if you find them, feel free to quote them. They can be particularly effective in the context of a brief or brief being prepared for a court. Sometimes we would lose the effectiveness of the quote if it did not remain autonomous. In this case, the general rule against freestanding quotes should be ignored. Here are a few examples. 6. If you must use block quotation marks, make sure to use indentation and single space. Quotation marks of 50 words or more should be approximately half an inch indented at the left and right margins. They must be entered in a one-space format, and the citation for the quote must be two lines removed from the end of the quote and placed in the original left margin. Do not put such a quote in quotation marks: the reader will know that it is a quotation because you have indented it. However, if there are citations in the blocked citation, use quotes around those internal citations.

Here`s an example of a properly blocked quote of 50 words or more.