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There’s a war on — over legal citation manuals. It isn’t exactly high-tech, but between the 17th edition of the venerable Uniform System of Citation and the new ALWD Citation Manual produced by the Association of Legal Writing Directors, the battle has been joined. This week, I report on the participants in the citations war, including the University of Chicago’s Maroonbook. But whichever citation manual you favor, you must buy The Redbook, Bryan Garner’s latest offering on how to write a readable and accurate sentence. HARVARD AND THE ALWD When I went to law school, the Harvard Bluebook seemed just another obstacle placed in our way by an uncaring faculty and legal system. But along with the mysteries of discovering how to formulate a “correct” answer in class and how to use the West Key Number System, we soon discovered that The Bluebook had rules that made at least some sort of sense — unlike some of the rules we were discovering in our first-year property or criminal law courses — and that we had better master The Bluebook if we aspired to success on the law review, moot court or other formal school-based legal writing endeavors. Over the years, I became aware of attempts to loosen the bonds of Bluebook rigor, such as the publication of The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation, the Maroonbook and Judge Posner’s famous accompanying screed a decade ago, but I hadn’t really kept track of anti-Bluebook resentment. The Association of Legal Writing Directors, an association of people who direct legal writing programs at law schools, apparently doesn’t like The Bluebook as a textbook, which of course it isn’t; doesn’t like the idea of slightly different standards for law reviews and other publications; and have some complaints about changes made from one Bluebook edition to the next, particularly in the 16th Edition. (An ALWD comparison chart available at www.alwd.org/cm/additional.htmshows differences between ALWD and the current Bluebook to be relatively minor.) Although I was thoroughly familiar with The Bluebook when in law school, I now use it only when I have a specific question and rely on the book’s index and table of contents to get me to the proper rule or example. It isn’t always easy, but it is possible. Although ALWD does more examples, often as tiny essays separated from the text of the book, and sometimes in graphic formats unknown when I first encountered The Bluebook, finding an answer often requires the same references from the index and references between rules, or examples and rules, that makes The Bluebook difficult to use. The information is there, and you can find it, but it just takes a while. Then, of course, there is the University of Chicago effort. The 1989 first version of the Maroonbook was considerably smaller than The Bluebook, had fewer hard and fast rules and examples, and stressed that common sense and consistency would solve a lot of problems not specifically included in the text. After all, the first purposes of a legal citation are to identify the source and enable the reader to find it. A second edition was published in 2000, but as far as I was able to determine, it is not being sold commercially. It is, however, available for review or download in several formats, at lawreview.uchicago.edu/maroon.htm. Yes! There is such a thing as a free citation manual. There are also free upgrades and appendices to the ALWD manual, available at www.alwd.org/cm/index.htmand possibly useful whether or not you purchase the printed volume. CITING THE WEB Both ALWD (Part 4, Rules 38 to 43) and The Bluebook (Rule 18) have provisions for citing electronic material generally, and from the World Wide Web specifically. (The Maroonbook has Rule 4.13). Their approaches are basically the same: cite the URL and either the date listed on the site or date visited. I tend to omit the mostly irrelevant “http://” identifier although the manuals seem to think that is important. And I disagree that it should be necessary to indicate that one found a reference to a state database through a third-party source, as suggested in the example to ALWD Rule 20.9. But mostly, the manuals make good sense. WHICH TO GET I prefer The Bluebook, from familiarity if nothing else, although the ALWD manual obviously does the job. (Either manual would be considerably improved were it available in electronic format with extensive hyperlinking.) If you are submitting an article to the Harvard Law Review, you’d better use The Bluebook; but if your target is the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, the ALWD Web site claims that court has adopted the ALWD manual. As always, check what your reader demands and cite accordingly. The ALWD Web site lists law schools and other institutions that have adopted the ALWD manual; you should also check your local court rules to determine if your particular court has made some demand or even has a preference. However, if there is nothing specific required, at least begin with the Maroonbook. Put a copy onto your hard drive, where it will be easily available whenever you need it. You will also find an electronic version easier than a paper version for pinpointing the answer that you need, and for moving from rule to cross-referenced rule. In fact, even if they charge for it, why can’t ALWD and The Bluebook folks come out with digital editions for our new digital world? THE REDBOOK Bryan Garner is clearly the leading 21st century exponent of the theory that legal writing can be both accurate and readable. The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style spends some time on citations, and even has listings of proofreader marks and sample documents, but the book’s best parts are Garner’s examples of how to write and how not to write. A mere listing of words, properly and improperly used, would alone be worth the price of the book, but Garner includes lots more. If you are a lawyer, you probably write for a living — get The Redbook, read it, and keep it on hand for reference. Your writing will be the better for it. You can get it from West, or pick it up at the usual book sources on the Web. E-BOOKS AND COURT WEB SITES I predicted, a couple of years ago, that e-books would soon become a popular means of disseminating statutes, cases, courts rules and similar items, if not treatises and works of fiction. Why stuff your briefcase with a thick, printed copy of the local rules of civil procedure or vehicle code when you could toss it all onto your Palm or Pocket PC? I guess I was wrong. The e-book revolution just hasn’t happened. But a Web page maintained by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York lists not only the Local Court Rules, but also the United States Constitution, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and a “Glossary of Common Legal Terms,” all in standard Palm formats. You don’t have to be admitted to a bar or pay any fee for a download. I congratulate the folks who decided to do it. Maybe there’s a future for e-books, after all. The URL is www.nynd.uscourts.gov/palm.htm SUMMARY The Bluebook, ALWD and maybe Maroon tailor your citation and style formatting to that desired by the ultimate reader or publisher of your work, but in any case, be consistent. And Bryan Garner’s Red Book is a must-read and reference for any lawyer starting out to write any sort of legal document or any document at all, for that matter. DETAILS ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation. Association of Legal Writing Directors, Darby Dickerson. Spiral-bound, 501 pages, ISBN 0735511934. Aspen Law & Business. 1185 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036; phone: (800) 638-8437; fax: (301) 417-7550; Web: www.aspenpublishers.com. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation; 17th edition. Harvard Law ReviewAssociation in conjunction with the Columbia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Reviewand the Yale Law Journal. Spiral-bound, 389 pages, $16.00. Business Office: Harvard Law Review Association, Gannett House, 1511 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138. Phone: (617) 495-4650; Web: www.legalbluebook.com; e-mail: [email protected]. The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, by Bryan Garner. Spiral-bound, 399 pages, $24.95. ISBN: 0314258590. WestGroup, 610 Opperman Dr., Eagan, MN 55123-1396. Phone: (800) 328-4880; Web: www.westgroup.com/. Barry D. Bayer practices law and writes about computers from his office in Homewood, Ill. You may send comments or questions to him at [email protected]or write c/oLaw Office Technology Review , P.O. Box 2577, Homewood, IL 60430.

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