AuthorBergeron, Pierre H.


Although updates to legal citation manuals generally do not make front-page news, the most recent version of ALWD Guide to Legal Citation (1) (the "Guide") offers a glimpse into the evolving and dynamic field of legal citations. Admittedly, I had not really used the Guide before I embarked on this book review. And the last time I cracked open the The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation Bluebook (2) (the "Bluebook") was probably a decade ago, if not longer. My recollections of wading through the Bluebook as a law student, law clerk, and junior attorney were that it was a utilitarian guide--generally providing the answer but often failing to explain the why or nuance.

The Seventh Edition of the Guide, however, picks up that challenge and meets it. The Guide does not supplant the Bluebook's citation system or offer an alternative model to citations. Rather, it endeavors to help explain the "why" to much of the seemingly opaque methods of citation and to fill in certain gaps left open in the Bluebook. It also works to bring the citations alive by offering context tailored to our contemporary era and by focusing on an emerging array of authorities (can you cite a tweet? Yes! (3)).

Building on the good work of prior editions, the Guide's Seventh Edition aims to provide an even more user-friendly approach and to shine a spotlight on modern (and ever-changing) sources for legal citations. Years ago, I recall agonizing over whether to cite a blog post in a federal appellate brief. But now, many briefs are brimming with all sorts of citations to nonconventional sources. These sources do, however, have the power to persuade, and the Guide ensures that you can cite them in the proper manner, and it reflects the changing nature of legal practice and research. (4) Today, a junior associate does not begin with a Westlaw search--that lawyer probably opens up Google first, and who knows what research path unfolds from there.

The Seventh Edition devotes considerable attention to these modern sources that legal writers (academics and practitioners alike) need to cite. Updated Rules 26-28 and 33, for instance, provide means for citing oral presentations (including how to cite an online conference or webinar), (5) informal interviews (such as a virtual video interview), (6) videos (including videos people take on their phones (7) or share on YouTube), (8) and emails (9) and other electronic messages (10) (even...

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