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Citing Sources: ALWD Federal Citation Formats

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Below are examples of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) style citations most commonly used by students at the College of DuPage. For additional examples and rules, please consult the ALWD Citation Manual, 4th ed., Aspen Publishers, 2010.

The below citation examples have been compiled by Lorri Scott, J.D., Maria Mack, J.D., and Linda Jenkins, J.D., from the C.O.D. Paralegal Studies Program. They were updated by Linda Jenkins, J.D. and Anne Knight, J.D. in December 2012.

ALWD Federal Citations

General Rules

  • Follow General Abbreviations (ALWD Appendix 3) when listing countries, states, cities, districts, dates, etc.
  • Case names are italicized (Tex. v. Johnson) or underlined (Tex. v. Johnson). (ALWD 1.1)
  • Do not italicize or underline the comma after the case name. (ALWD 1.4)
  • Abbreviate versus to "v."
  • Place a period after every citation. All citations are complete sentences.

United States Supreme Court

[Case name], [official reporter volume number] [official reporter abbreviation] [initial page number] (Date).

Tex. v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989).

  • ALWD 12.4 (c) states one should cite only the official reporter, unless it is unavailable.
  • Note: ALWD 12.2(h)(2) states it is optional to abbreviate the state name. The case could also be cited Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989).
  • Bluebook requires the full state name.

Tip: The Bluebook citation is Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989). Follow the format favored by your boss or by the judge for whom you are preparing documents.

United States Court of Appeals

[Case name], [reporter volume] [reporter abbreviation] [initial page number] ([circuit court abbreviation] [date]).

Simpson v. Nickel, 450 F.3d 303 (7th Cir. 2006).

  • "F.3d" is the Federal Reporter Third Series (ALWD Chart 12.1)
  • "7th Cir." indicates the case was heard by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (located in Chicago).

United States District Court

[Case name], [reporter volume number] [reporter abbreviation] [initial page number] ([district court abbreviation] [date]).

Stratton v. Marsh, 71 F. Supp. 2d 475 (E.D. Pa. 1999).

  • "F. Supp." is the Federal Supplement reporter. (ALWD Chart 12.1)
  • "E.D. Pa." means the case was heard in the Eastern District of PA.

Opinion Only Available in Electronic Databases

[Case name], [database-assigned identification number] ([court abbreviation] [full date]).

Akkard v. Jones, 2010 WL 173891 (8th Cir. Jan. 20, 2010).

  • "WL" means Westlaw. Lexis Nexis also provides a unique identification number. Use the number provided by the database you used to locate the opinion.
  • Information in the parentheses means the case was decided by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 20, 2010.

Tip: These opinions are unreported and only available in separately paginated format. The pin cite (jump page) numbers should be formatted as follows: at *1.

Westlaw Slip Opinion

[Case name], [blank space for reporter volume number] [reporter abbreviation] [blank space for initial page number], [database-assigned identification number] ([court abbreviation] [full date]).

Price v. NCR Corp., _____F.Supp. 2d _____, 2012 WL 6103205 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 10, 2012).

Tip: Slip opinions are not yet reported and only available in separately paginated format. The pin cite (jump page) numbers should be formatted as follows: at *1.

United States Statutes

[Title number] [code abbreviation] § [section number] (year of publication).

19 U.S.C. § 2411 (2012).

  • Correct format for United States Code (official code, published every six years, last published in 2012).

19 U.S.C.S. § 2411 (Lexis 2012).

  • This is the United States Code Service, published by Lexis.
  • It is unofficial, annotated, and always current.

19 U.S.C.A. § 2411 (West 2012).

  • This is the United States Code Annotated, published by West.
  • It is unofficial, annotated, and always current.

 

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