Case Citation (Rule 10)


           Party Name v. Party Name, Volume Reporter Page (Court Year) (parenthetical).


United States v. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d 217 (D. Mass. 2004) (Jonas, J., dissenting) (noting historical examples).


Court Documents: Only underline party names, excluding the comma. Remember that every citation sentence must end with a period.

Law Reviews: Do not underline party names, but italicize procedural phrases. ==============================================================================


Party Names - Rule 10.2

Abbreviate and/or omit party names for easy but unambiguous identification.

The main party name rules are 10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2. Rule 10.2 requires case names in textual and citation sentences to conform with 10.2.1, but citation sentences must also conform to the additional requirements set forth in Rule 10.2.2.

Some (but not all – read Rule 10.2 et seq.) rules of thumb to keep in mind:

(1) Include only the first appellation of any party name [rule 10.2.1(a)] and

Remove any given names [rule 10.2.1(g)]:

          Edward G. Fielding becomes Fielding

Remove any organizational designations apart from the first [Rule 10.2.1(h)]:

           Barr Corp., Inc. becomes Barr Corp.

Remove words indicating multiple parties or descriptive terms [rule 10.2.1(a) & 10.2.1(e)]:

           Dagobert et al. v. Hale, Administrator becomes Dagobert v. Hales

Remove "State of", "Commonwealth of" and "People of" and leave the state name unless citing opinions in which the party is the state where the court is located, then use "State", "Commonwealth" or "People" only [rule 10.2.1(f)]

           State of Illinois v. Angus Moore, 23 Ill. 458 (1990) becomes State v. Moore, 23 Ill. 458 (1990).

           John Stern v. State of Florida, 23 U.S. 234 (1990) becomes Stern v. Florida, 23 U.S. 234 (1990).

Note that in the first example the case is in the Illinois Supreme Court, thus State replaces Illinois. In the second example the case is in the U.S. Supreme Court, thus the name of the state, here Florida, is the name of the party.

Remove all geographical designations that follow a comma [rule 10.2.1(f)].

City of Arlington, Texas becomes City of Arlington

Citation sentences must additionally abbreviate the words in Rule 10.2.2 and Table 6.

Use T10 to abbreviate states, countries, and other geographical units, unless the geographical unit is the entire name of the party (e.g., United States). 


Volume Number

The volume of the case reporter as noted on the reporter spine or inside cover.


Reporters and Reporter Abbreviations - Rule 10.3.1 & 10.3.2

Which Reporter to Cite? [Rule 10.3.1]

For documents submitted to a court, always follow local court citation rules. BT.2.2 provides references but always check with the court. These local rules often require parallel cites.

For all other documentation and law reviews, follow the rules set forth in 10.3.1, roughly as follows:

(1) Cite to the regional reporter,

(2) If an opinion is available in a public citation format, cite to that and parallel cite the regional reporter

(3) Rule 10.3.1 provides an order of preference for opinions not found in (1) or (2)

See also Electronic Resources.

But How Do I know Which Reporter for a Particular Jurisdiction?

As noted before, check local rules for court documents, else regional. Consult Table 1 and the appropriate jurisdiction to see what the correct regional or state reporter is.

What are the Reporter Abbreviations?

There is no table of abbreviations, so consult Table 1 for appropriate abbreviations for each reporter. Students will get to know them over time.

(1) Regional Reporters





North Eastern


North Western






South Eastern


South Western


(2) Federal Reporters



Federal Reporter (federal appeals)


Federal Supplement (federal district courts)

F. Supp

United States Reports


Supreme Court Reporter

S. Ct.

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition

L. Ed.

For other federal courts (e.g. bankruptcy), see Table 1.

(3) States

Each state's name has an abbreviation (Table 10) that is incorporated into each state's reporter system. Reporters for courts of last resort usually contain only the state abbreviation (e.g. Cal. = California Reports, or Mass. = Massachusetts Reports). Appeals courts usually have an abbreviation of "appeals" in their reporter title. For everything else, consult Table 1 for the appropriate reporter abbreviations.

(4) Remember to eliminate spaces between single capitals - which includes number/letter combinations for circuits or editions (Rule 6.1).For example: N.E.2d, S.D.N.Y.2d, Fed. Cir. or D. Conn.

(5) For public domain citation, see rule 10.3.3.


Page(s) - Rule 3.2(a)

(1) When first citing a case, always provide the page on which the opinion begins.

(2) A pinpoint cite is required when the proposition you are supporting comes from a particular sentence(s)/page(s) of a case. You cannot only cite to the first page unless you are talking about the case in general.

(3) If you wish to use a pinpoint cite when first citing a case, add the page after the first page number. This is true even if both are the same page. For example: United States v. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d 217, 220 (D. Mass. 2004). United States v. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d 217, 217 (D. Mass. 2004).

(4) Once you have given the full citation, subsequent short forms [Rule 10.9] can be used, but always add the pinpoint cite (e.g. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d at 220).

(5) For multiple pages [Rule 3.2(a)], only retain the last two digits if the first are identical. Use an en dash or dash to separate the pages (e.g. 190-92 or 199-201 or 188, 190-93).


Court - Rule 10.4

A citation should indicate the court where an opinion was issued. Apart from some exceptions noted below, the jurisdiction and court is indicated in a citation's first parenthetical (before the year). Abbreviate the court and jurisdiction according to Tables 1 - 2 (jurisdictional), 7 (courts) and 10 (geographical).

Some wrinkles to keep an eye on are:

(1) If citing to the U.S. Supreme Court (U.S.), then no court or jurisdictional indicator is necessary.

         Richard v. Phillip Augustus, 24 U.S. 762 (1996).

(2) If citing to an opinion from a state's highest court, then only the jurisdictional indicator is necessary, unless (4) applies below [Rule 10.4(b)].

         Richard v. Phillip Augustus, 34 N.E.2d 345 (Mass. 1987).

(3) If a reporter abbreviation clearly indicates the jurisdiction, then the jurisdiction and court abbreviation is not required in the parenthetical [Rule 10.4(b)].

         Richard v. Phillip Augustus, 16 Mass. App. Ct. 322 (1872).

(4) If a reporter name is the same as a state's highest court's abbreviation, then no indicator is required [Rule 10.4(b)].

        Richard v. Phillip Augustus, 23 Mass. 123 (1965).

(5) Remember to eliminate spaces between single capitals in general, which includes number/letter combinations for circuits or editions, e.g. S.D.N.Y.2d, Fed. Cir. [See Rule 6.1(a)].


Year - Rule 10.5

Insert the year of decision [Rule 10.5(a)]. For decisions not published in official reporters, give the exact date [Rule 10.5(b)].


Parenthetical Information - Rules 1.5, 1.6, 10.6

Additional information is sometimes included after the court/year parenthetical in a following separate parenthetical.

There are two main types (though others exist, see rules 10.6 & 1.6);

(i) substantive information [rule 1.5] and

(ii) information regarding on weight of authority [rule 10.6.1].                                                                                                      

Substantive Information [rule 1.5]

These are also called explanatory parentheticals.

If information is inappropriate in the text but would help a reader to understand a citated proposition, then it should be added into a parenthetical. Further, explanatory parentheticals should

(1) Begin with a present participle [rule 1.5(a)(i)] or

(2) Consist only of a direct quote [rule 1.5(a)(ii)]                                                                                    

A short statement can be used instead of the present participle (though the Rule is unclear as to when). Never start a present participle with a capital letter. If a quote is a full sentence or reads as a full sentence, then begin with a capital letter.

For example:

Smith v. Jones, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) (questioning the relevancy of DNA evidence).

Smith v. Jones, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) ("[E]ach author clearly infringed...").

Smith v. Jones, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) ("The author clearly infringed...").

Information Regarding Cases [rule 10.6]

These include weight of authority [rule 10.6.1(a)] and cases citing other cases [rule 10.6.3]

For example:

Smith v. Jones, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) (per curiam).

(Lochlann, J., dissenting).

Richard v. Phillip Augustus, 34 Mass. 56 (1998) (citing Henry v. Eleanor, 4 Mass. 45 (1898)).


Model for consecutively paginated journal articles [rule 16.4]

                                 Author(s), Title, Periodical Name (year) (parenthetical).

                Model for non-consecutively paginated journal articles [rule 16.5]

                          Author(s), Title, Periodical Name, Date of Issue, at page.

Model for online newspaper article [rule 16.6(f) & 18.2.2]

Author(s), Title, Periodical Name, Date of Issue, hyperlink.


Theodore Meron, Reflections on the Prosecution of War Crimes by International Tribunals, 100 Am. J. Int’l L. 551 (2006) (discussing the Nuremberg trials).

Sonali D. Maitra, It’s How You Play the Game: Why Video Game Rules Are Not Expression Protected by Copyright Law, Landslide, March/April 2015, at 34.

Jack Healy, A Family Cries ‘Justice for Hannah.’ Will Its Rural Town Listen?, N.Y. Times (Aug. 6, 2020),


Court Documents: Underline the article title.

Law Reviews: Italicize titles and small caps for the periodical title.


Author - Rule 15.1 & Rule 16.2

Always cite an author's full name when first citing the work (first name then last name). Include any "Jr." or "III," etc., but not “Dr.” or “Prof.” [rule 15.1]. When there are two authors, list them as they appear on the work. If there are more than two authors [rule 15.1(a)], either use the first author's name followed by et al., or alternatively list them all. These rules apply to institutional authors as well. The same rules apply for editors/translators, except that the name goes in the first parenthetical separated by a comma from other information [rule 15.2].

   Henry Anjou & Louis Capet, Dissolving Feudal Ties, 24 J. Medieval L. 34 (2002).

   Plantagenet et al., Empire Building in the Medieval Age, 45 J. Medieval L. 44 (2002).


Article Title – Rule 16.3 & Rule 8

Do not abbreviate or omit words in an article title (unlike party names in a case citation). Capitalize words in the title according to Rule 8(a). This rule requires the capitalization of all words in a title, including any that begin a title, or immediately follow a colon—except do not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and prepositions when they are four or fewer letters unless, as above, they begin the title or immediately follow a colon.


Periodical Name – Rules 16.4 and 16.5 & Tables T6, T10, and T13

Always use the abbreviations listed in tables T6, T10, and T13 for the law journal or review title. This abbreviation list takes precedence over any abbreviations used by law journals or reviews themselves. If there are any geographic words, use Table 10.

           Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review becomes B.C. Env’t L. Rev.


Year – Rule 16

As found in the article [consecutive] or date of issue [non-consecutive].



Follow same rules as used for cases.