ALWD Guide to Legal Citation

ALWD citation guide front cover copy

Where to Purchase the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation:
Direct from Wolters Kluwer or Amazon.

ALWD Guide to Legal Citation provides the tools needed for all forms of legal writing, using clear explanations and abundant illustrations. In a single set of rules that novice and experienced legal writers can easily consult, Professor Coleen Barger contrasts the formats used in practice-based documents with those used in academic footnotes

The ALWD Guide to Legal Citation is a consistent and flexible system of citation for legal materials, designed to be easy for students, professors, practitioners, and judges to understand and use. Filled with numerous examples of proper citation formats for the many types of source materials cited in legal documents, the Guide includes extensive explanations to assist students in choosing the correct form.

One of the Guide’s fundamental goals is to be a restatement of the rules of citation based on how experts actually do citation. It is a book prepared by professionals for professionals. As a result of this approach, citation using the ALWD format will be instantly familiar to practitioners and scholars alike, regardless of which edition of the Bluebook they have learned. The Guide contrasts the formats used in practice-based documents with those used in academic footnotes, but in a single set of rules that novice and experienced legal writers can easily consult.

New to the Sixth Edition:

  • Updated and expanded coverage of public domain case opinions and other primary authorities published online
  • Updated and expanded coverage of secondary works in online media, including articles, ebooks, blogs, newsletters, and social media
  • New and updated subsections of rules addressing federal case reporters, statutes, legislation, and regulations online; new treatment of footnote references and footnotes/endnotes in online sources; new treatment and examples of dictionaries, A.L.R. annotations and articles, Restatements, and Principles of the Law.
  • Updated appendices containing abbreviations, jurisdiction-specific sources and local rules, periodicals (more than 70 new titles added); new appendix addressing abbreviations for titles of looseleaf services
  • Every rule and example has been revisited and edited for depth and breadth of coverage as well as improved clarity.


A great teaching book just got better.

  • Provides step-by-step guidance for citing primary sources of law and a variety of secondary sources
  • Expands its appendices, with more abbreviations for more kinds of sources
  • Explains and illustrates modifications needed for citations in scholarly writing, letting students easily contrast the formats side by side in the same rule
  • Increases usability by covering the most important aspects of legal citation in just 40 rules
  • Continues and expands its user-friendly features, including:
  1. Fast Formats that preview and refresh understanding of essential components for full and short citations of primary and secondary sources
  2. Snapshots of frequently cited sources that teach students where to find essential components for building citations
  3. Sidebars that help students understand the “why” of legal citations and steer them away from common errors
  4. Templates that diagram essential components and dozens of new examples
  5. Self-stick tabs for flagging frequently referenced pages

Coleen Barger and Brooke Bowman made a presentation at the LWI Conference in Philadelphia about the features of the Guide.  You can see these features in their Power Point presentation: ALWD Membership Mtg Presentation

The Online Companion

Professors using the new Sixth Edition can make it even easier for their students to learn citation by directing them to the new Second Edition of the Online Companion — at no extra cost to students who use the access code included with each Guide. The Companion contains more than 600 exercises, all carefully created to address the most common and challenging errors that students make in legal citation. The Companion offers professors the flexibility to track student progress and quickly assess student comprehension online, and allows students to work outside of class so that professors can use precious class time to develop analytical thinking rather than teaching citation.

The Author

Coleen Barger

The author of the Sixth Edition is Coleen Barger, Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law. Coleen has been involved in every previous edition, reviewing each manuscript as a member of the ALWD Citation Manual Advisory Committee. She’s had a long-term scholarly interest in legal citation, from writing an article about neutral citations in 1999 to examining courts’ citation of sources on the Internet. She and Professor Brooke Bowman are the authors of the first edition of the ALWD Companion, and they are coordinating the two new editions of the Guide and the Companion.  Other key contributors to the Companion include Jessica Clark, Cassandra Hill, Erin Karsman, and Samantha Moppett.



1 Comment

  • Lines of Cite: Citation Rules July 22, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    […] challenge to Bluebook domination came in 2000, with the publication of the first edition of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) Guide to Legal Citation.  The Guide has been adopted as the preferred citation form for several courts, such as the U.S. […]