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LRAW Research Spring 2025

Citing Legal Dictionaries

You may cite to Black's Law Dictionary in your memos and briefs as persuasive authority for the meaning of a legal term. Rule B15.1 of The Bluebook includes an example of how to correctly cite to Black's Law Dictionary.

There are three necessary elements to a Black's Law Dictionary citation:

  1. the italicized legal term or phrase;
  2. the underlined name of the dictionary; and
  3. its edition and date.

For example, you would cite to the definition of the attractive nuisance doctrine as:

Attractive-Nuisance Doctrine, Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

Citation Tips:
The edition number should never be in superscript, for example, 11th. The “th” must be in regular Roman typeface, as seen in the above example.  Beware of autocorrect.
The Bluebook does not require page numbers when citing to dictionaries. This allows you to cite the same in print or online.

Citing Legal Encyclopedias

Citing Encyclopedias under Bluebook Rules B15.1 and 15.8: 

Legal encyclopedia citations consist of five parts:

  1. The volume number of the encyclopedia where your topic is found;
  2. The name of the encyclopedia (Am. Jur. 2d or C.J.S. or S.C. Jur.);
  3. The main topic underlined or italicized (as opposed to the section heading where you found your information);
  4. The section number where your information was found; and
  5. The publication year of the print encyclopedia (Note that you must check the main volume and supplement. You will cite to the annual supplement only if there is new text for that section found in the supplement. If there are only new case references, cite to the main volume only.)

For example, section 322 on Attractiveness to Children, General Requirements, found under the topic Premises Liability in volume 62 of the print American Jurisprudence 2d, would be cited as:

62 Am. Jur. 2d  Premises Liability § 322 (2014).

38 C.J.S. Gaming § 166 (2008).

23 S.C. Jur. Public Nuisance § 3 (1994).

Citing Legal Encyclopedias under Bluebook Rule 15.9 

Instead of the date of the encyclopedia in print, Rule 15.9 allows you to use the date that a database was last updated in your citation:

62 Am. Jur. 2d  Premises Liability § 322, Westlaw (database updated November 2023).

November 2022 Update

Other examples:

38 C.J.S. Gaming § 166, Westlaw (database updated September 2023).

23 S.C. Jur. Public Nuisance § 3, Westlaw (database updated May 2023).

Citation Tips:
The italicized topic cited is the main topic of the individual section you’re citing to, not the individual section title. For example, the main topic of a section would be Drugs and Controlled Substances (cite this topic), while the individual § 187’s title might be Defenses; Exemptions from Criminal Liability
Include a print encyclopedia’s copyright date, unless there is further commentary in the supplement. Then you would cite to the main volume AND the supplement.  If the materials found in the supplement are just research references, then cite to the main volume only.

Citing Books & Treatises

Citing treatises according to Bluebook Rules B15 and R15:  

Citations to treatises include five parts:

  1. The volume number (if the treatise is part of a multi-volume set);
  2. The full name of the author(s) as it appears on the publication (if there is one);
  3. The title of the work underlined or italicized;
  4. A pincite to the page(s) or section(s) where you found the relevant material; and
  5. A parenthetical with the editors (if there are any), the edition (if more than one), and the year.

Below are examples of citations to two torts treatises in print that have sections discussing the attractive nuisance doctrine. NOTE: Dobbs' The Law of Torts continues the no longer updated Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts

Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts 399-403 (W. Page Keeton et al. eds., 5th ed. 1984).

Dan B. Dobbs, Paul T. Hayden & Ellen M. Bublick, The Law of Torts 733-39 (2d ed. 2011).

Other examples of citations to treatises in print:

Grady L. Beard et al., The Law of Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina 102 (6th ed. 2012).

3 Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment 301 (5th ed. 2012).

Citation Tips:
If a treatise has more than one volume, put the volume number before the author’s name, as shown in the example immediately above.
The edition number should never be in superscript, for example, 6th.  The “th” must be in regular Roman typeface, as seen in the above two examples.  Beware of autocorrect.
See Bluebook Rule 8(a) about capitalization.
If the treatise is organized by sections or paragraphs, for the pincite, omit “at” and replace the page number with the section or paragraph identification.  See Bluebook Rule 3.3.

Citing online treatises according to Bluebook Rule 15.9:

Use the date of the last update, as shown in the database.

Dan B. Dobbs, Paul T. Hayden & Ellen M. Bublick, The Law of Torts § 277, Westlaw (database updated July 2022).

Dobbs' Law of Torts "i" for "Scope information"

Citing Law Reviews & Journal Articles

Rules B16 and 16 of The Bluebook cover citation of periodical materials.

periodical. noun: a magazine or other journal that is issued at regularly recurring intervals.
                  adjective: published at regularly recurring intervals.


For example, the South Carolina Law Review is published four times a year. The South Carolina Lawyer is published six times a year. 

You can cite online articles as if they are in print because Westlaw, Lexis, and HeinOnline provide you with the information you need for citation. HeinOnline has the pdf of the print version, which can be helpful for citation purposes in case anything is unclear about how the article appears on Westlaw or Lexis.

Citation format differs depending on whether a periodical is consecutively or nonconsecutively paginated.

consecutively paginated journal begins numbering an issue where the previous issue left off. For example, in the citation below, the page number 1122 does not mean that an issue of this law journal would be more than 1,000 pages thick. You can see from the table of contents of HeinOnline that Issue 4 began on page 960. 

Evelyn Atkinson, Creating the Reasonable Child: Risk, Responsibility, and the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, 42 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1122 (2017).                 

HeinOnline screenshot

Student-written law review articles follow the same format, with the addition of the word "Note", "Comment", or "Case Comment" inserted between the author's name and the title of the article:

Eric R. Tonnsen, Case Comment, Henson v. International Paper Co.: A Step Backward in South Carolina Attractive Nuisance Jurisprudence, 56 S.C. L. Rev. 835 (2005).

For nonconsecutively paginated periodicals, including most bar association journals, each issue starts on page one. Rule 16.5 provides the citation format. For example:

Brian Van Couyghen, Premises Liability: The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, R.I.B.J., Nov.-Dec. 2007, at 7.

Additional examples of citations to law reviews:

Kenneth J. Withers, Risk Aversion, Risk Management, and the “Overpreservation” Problem in Electronic Discovery, 64 S.C. L. Rev. 537 (2013).

Dennis A. DeMarco, Note, The Price of Porn & Pugilism: Reconciling Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association with Ginsberg v. New York Through a Media-Specific Approach, 19 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 609 (2013).

Citation Tips:
When citing an article title that includes a case name, you must un-italicize or un-underline the case name or anything else you would normally italicize.
Tables T6, T10, and T13 contain the rules for abbreviating periodical titles.  T13 provides special abbreviations for the publishing institution while T6 gives abbreviations for other common words.  Per R6.1(a) always separate the publishing institution’s abbreviation from the rest of the journal’s name with a space even if this violates the normal spacing.  Check T13 for other special rules regarding omitting words and punctuation in the periodical titles.
Rule 8(a) says to capitalize words in a heading or title, including the initial word and any words following a colon, but not articles, conjunctions, or prepositions that are four or fewer letters (unless they are the initial word or follow a colon).

Citing American Law Reports (ALR)

Rule 16.7.6 (p. 168) of The Bluebook describes how to cite ALR annotations.  Citations to annotations include the following parts:

  1. The author's full name (if any), as it appears on the publication (do not include "J.D.");
  2. The word "Annotation" (if no author, start with Annotation);
  3. The title of the annotation in italics;
  4. The volume, the abbreviated name of the ALR, and the first page of the annotation;
  5. A pinpoint citation to the page the material you are referencing;
  6. The annotation's date (original date, even if updated via print pocketpart or online).

For example, the ALR annotation on the age and mentality of the child as affecting application of the attractive nuisance doctrine found at 16 ALR 3d 25 is cited as:

D.E. Buckner, Annotation, Comment Note.—Age and Mentality of Child as Affecting Application of Attractive Nuisance, 16 A.L.R.3d 25 (1967).

Another example of a citation to an ALR annotation:

George L. Blum, Annotation, Effectiveness of Employer’s Disclaimer of Representations in Personnel Manual or Employee Handbook Altering At-Will Employment Relationship, 17 A.L.R.5th 1 (1994).

Citation Tips:
ALR citations always include the word Annotation after the author’s name.
If there is no author designated, begin with Annotation, followed by a comma.
Use the original publication date, even though ALR Annotations are updated in print by pocket part, and new information is incorporated within the annotations in electronic databases.

Citing Restatements

Rules B12.1.3 and 12.9.4 and Table 6 in The Bluebook cover how to cite restatements.  Citations to restatements include the following:

  1. Name of the restatement;
  2. Section of the restatement that contains the material you are citing; 
  3. Institutional source; and
  4. Date.

For example, you would cite the section of the Restatement (Second) of Torts that addresses the attractive nuisance doctrine as:

Restatement (Second) of Torts § 339 (Am. Law Inst. 1965).