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Writing Notes and Comments for Journal Members

This guide is intended to assist journal members at Stanford Law School with writing and publishing Notes or Comments.

The Bluebook

The citations in the footnotes of your Note or Comment must adhere to The Bluebook. Remember to refer to the white pages (not the blue pages) when citing sources.

Resolving Ambiguities in The Bluebook

Sometimes The Bluebook can be ambiguous or does not contain a good example for how to cite a source you may encounter. In many situations, you may need to consult your law journal's internal style manual (e.g., The Redbook). Additionally, the following resources are designed to offer guidance on using The Bluebook

Look to Past Practice & Peer Journals

You will encounter some citations that do not seem similar to any of the examples provided in The Bluebook. For guidance, one trick is to look at the practices of the law reviews that edit The Bluebook (Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Yale Law Journal) as well as the past practices of your law journal to see how they have cited your source in previously published articles. Of course, the editors of these law journals may have been incorrect in their decision on how to properly cite the source, but it is still often helpful to see how other editors have interpreted the rules.

To easily search the content of other law journals for your source, you may wish to create a group of peer journals to search in HeinOnline, Lexis, or Westlaw. For example, on Westlaw:

1. After logging in, search for Harvard Law Review in the universal search bar at the top of the page; as you type, the journal name will autopopulate as a suggestion and you can click on it.

2. Once on the Harvard Law Review page, look under the journal name for the star icon; click "Add to Favorites."

Screenshot from Westlaw showing the Add to Favorites button under a law journal title

3. In the popup, click the "Create New Group" button and type in the new Group Name "Peer Journals," then Save. You'll be returned to the Add to Favorites box where you can check the box for Peer Journals and click Save to add Harvard Law Review.  

Screenshot from Westlaw of Create New Group button 

Screenshot of Westlaw Check Box for Peer Journals

4. Repeat the process for the Yale Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review, as well as your own law journal.

5. Return to the Westlaw home page and scroll down to the second box where you will see a tab for "Favorites." You should see the journals listed under "Peer Journals" in the "Favorites" section. You can now easily search the content within these specific law journals.

Screenshot of Westlaw Favorites box

7. After finding an article that cites your source or a source similar to it in a law journal through Westlaw, you can check to see how the citation looks in the final, published version by looking at a copy of the article in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms