The Bluebook Nods

24 Green Bag 2d 335 (2021)

5 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2022

See all articles by Robert A. James

Robert A. James

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Date Written: June 30, 2021


Generations of law students have been required to master A Uniform System of Citation, also known as the Bluebook, to pass legal writing classes or progress in coveted law review positions. A long-time practitioner compares the 2021 and 1976 versions of the manual and offers two sets of comments. First, no one should expect perfect compliance with the Bluebook inasmuch as the Bluebook itself occasionally falls short of its aspirations and ideals. Second, a blanket rule that a mathematical formula should be italicized in its entirety reveals ignorance and disrespect for the substantive content of scientific typography. The author concludes that any system of citation should honor the distinctive features of each cultural community to which reference is made--whether linguistic, musical, or technical.

Keywords: citation; numeracy; law review; two cultures

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

James, Robert A., The Bluebook Nods (June 30, 2021). 24 Green Bag 2d 335 (2021), Available at SSRN:

Robert A. James (Contact Author)

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP ( email )

Four Embarcadero Center, 22nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States


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