Here comes the sea of papers! The district courts received more than 470,000 filings in FY 2020. Some of these filings did not result in trials, but many of them did, which led to even more paperwork.
Getting a grip on the paperwork involved in a legal case is an important part of being a lawyer. But it can be overwhelming. If you want to bring the paperwork down to basic concepts, you should start with learning how to cite a legal case.
What is the proper format for citing legal cases in APA? How should you cite cases in MLA? How can you write in-text citations?
Answer these questions and you can prepare the best legal documents in no time. Here is your quick guide.
If you’re familiar with the APA format, you may assume that a proper citation for a legal case is like a citation for any other document. However, APA legal citations are rather different.
In general, you do not list the authors of the document. You also use a series of abbreviations to make the citation more concise.
The APA citation begins with the name of the case, followed by the volume number. You then give the abbreviated name of the reporter, which is the publication that documents the case.
For the U.S. Supreme Court, you abbreviate the name to “U.S.” Circuit court decisions are abbreviated to “F.” while district court decisions are “F. Supp.” You will need to abbreviate the name of the state when you are citing state court cases.
After you list the report, you write the page number, name of the court, and year the opinion was published. If you got the opinion online, you should write the URL afterward.
When you are making an in-text citation, you italicize the case name and a single page number. Write the citation in parentheses.
The MLA format for court cases is similar to the format for other documents. You start with the court or governing body name in full. You then give the title of the case in italics, followed by the docket number and the date of the case.
The publisher name follows the date, then the URL you got the opinion from. If you have the document as a PDF file or a print copy, you can mention the format after the URL.
For an in-text citation, you can use the court name in parentheses. If you have multiple documents from the same court, you can add the name of the case. You can write in-text citations on tabs on the bottom of folders so you can find documents easily.
How to Cite a Legal Case
Learning how to cite a legal case is an extremely important skill. Do not cite cases in the same way you cite books in the APA format. Use abbreviations to keep the names of legal bodies and publications small.
For the MLA format, you can adopt a similar template as you do with other documents. Make sure you place the name of the court first. In-text citations should feature the court name.
Writing effective citations is just one part of legal documents you need to master. Read more guides to legal documents by following our coverage.
Read more articles at Peoples Magazine