Write On!, 082021 WYBJ, Vol. 44 No. 4. 38

AuthorMichael R. Smith
PositionVol. 44 4 Pg. 38

Write On!

No. Vol. 44 No. 4 Pg. 38

Wyoming Bar Journal

August, 2021

The Three Uses of the Accord Signal in Legal Citation Part 1

Michael R. Smith

University of Wyoming College of Law Laramie, Wyoming

One of the most underused and misused components of legal citation is the accord introductory signal. According to the Bluebook legal citation manual, introductory signals are placed in front of citations to authorities to “show how those authorities support or relate to a proposition given in the text” of a passage of legal writing.[1] The accord signal, in particular, is used when two or more sources state or clearly support the proposition, but the text quotes or refers to only one; the other sources are then introduced by “accord.” Similarly, the law of one jurisdiction may be cited as being in accord with the law of anoth-er.[2]

A close reading of this explanation of the accord signal indicates that the signal is customarily used in three situations. In this edition of this column, I will explain the first and most common use of the accord signal. In my next edition of this column, I will explain the other two uses.

Use 1: To Introduce Additional Supporting Authorities After Citing the Source of a Quote

The first and most common use of the accord signal is to introduce additional supporting authority after citing the source of a quote. This use of accord occurs when a legal writer decides to quote (rather than paraphrase) a proposition yet wants to cite more than one authority for that proposition. In this situation, the writer should first cite the source of the quote (with no introductory signal) and then introduce the other supporting authorities in the same citation sentence with the accord signal (using a lowercase “a” for accord). Consider this example from a recent case by the Court of Appeals of Texas: 1 A trial court may render summary judgment when “there

2 is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving

3 party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the issues

4 [presented].” TEX. R. CIV. P. 166a(c); accord Lightning Oil

5 Co. v. Anadarko E&P Onshore, LLC, 520 S.W.3d 39, 45 (Tex.

6 2017); Provident Life & Acc. Ins. Co. v. Knott, 128 S.W.3d

7 211, 215–16 (Tex. 2003). We review a trial court’s summary

8 judgment de novo. Lightning Oil, 520 S.W.3d at 45; Merri-

9 man v. XTO Energy, Inc., 407 S.W.3d 244, 248...

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