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If you spend any time writing or reading legal briefs, it won’t take  long to notice that practitioners are all over the place when it comes to citation methods. This lack of attention to detail doesn’t reflect well on the writer, and makes it harder for the reader to follow your argument. (By the way, I’m as guilty of this sloppiness as anyone else.)

If you’re looking for an easy to use on-line resource to get your citations right (and who isn’t!?), your best bet is the Florida Style Manual, published by the Florida State Law Review. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

The Florida Style Manual is designed to aid practitioners and scholars to identify the proper citation form for legal documents and scholarly articles. The Manual supplements the uniform citation system for Florida legal documents contained in Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.800 and the standard citation authority for American legal journals, the 20th Edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. The Manual is an outgrowth of the Florida State University Law Review’s annual Review of Florida Legislation. From the conception of that project, the editors realized that citation to many Florida-specific sources—particularly those generated by the Florida Legislature—would lead to confusion if conventional Bluebook citation forms were followed. Other Florida sources were not addressed at all by the Bluebook. This Florida Style Manual provides meaningful citation forms for Florida-specific materials.

And for those of us who like charts, the Manual delivers on that front as well.


Note to self: Make yourself look good, use this Manual.