Twenty-First Edition Information

Noteworthy Changes to the 2021 Printing

The 2021 printing of The Bluebook Twenty-First Edition was published in late January 2021. Most changes are typo fixes. However, several noteworthy changes were made. They are listed below:


Rule 3.2(d) now cross references Rule 18.8 to distinguish between the two. Rule 3.2(d) covers tables, figures, charts, graphs, and other graphical materials. Rule 18.8 covers photographs and “art-type” objects (e.g., paintings, sculpture, and illustrations).

Rule 8 and Rule 11 now contain language clarifying that the capitalization of state constitutional clauses when used in textual sentences is permitted (as it is with the United States Constitution).

Rule 10.7.1(d) is now Rule 10.7.1(e).

Rule 10.7.1(d) now covers slave cases. For cases involving an enslaved person as a party, use the parenthetical “(enslaved party).” For cases involving an enslaved person as the subject of a property or other legal dispute but named as a party to the suit, use the parenthetical “(enslaved person at issue).” For other cases involving enslaved persons, use an adequately-descriptive parenthetical.

  • Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857) (enslaved party), superseded by constitutional amendment, U.S. Const. amend. XIV.
  • Wall v. Wall, 30 Miss. 91 (1855) (enslaved person at issue).


Table T6 now contains abbreviations for “Brothers” (“Bros.”) and “Brotherhood” (“Bhd.”).

Preface to the Twenty-First Edition

This edition of The Bluebook retains the same basic approach to legal citation established by its predecessors. Some citation forms have been expanded, reduced, or modified from previous editions. The Bluebook strives to be responsive to suggestions from the legal community. In this edition, we have focused on making The Bluebook more practical for modern legal practice. We made hundreds of edits, large and small. Here are some of the most noteworthy changes, in order of appearance:

To address word limit constraints in court documents, B6 now provides practitioners with the option of closing up abbreviations in reporter names. Bluetable BT2 has been heavily revised to reflect the current local citation rules in the federal and state courts.

Rule 1.4 no longer dictates an order of authorities within a signal. Instead, authorities should be ordered in a logical manner, with more authoritative sources preceding less authoritative ones. Rule 1.5(b) has been revised to clarify the placement of “hereinafter” and “last visited” parentheticals in citations to internet sources. Rule 3.3(d) has been added to illustrate citations to flush language and examples, such as in Treasury Regulations. Rule 9(a) has been revised to clarify the use of first names for judges. Rule 10.6.2 was added to bring The Bluebook into conformity with current U.S. Supreme Court practice regarding citations to stay or bail applications ruled on by a single Justice. Rule 10.8.1(a) provides clearer guidance on citing to case docket numbers. Rule 12 has been modified in several places to simplify citations to statutory sources. Rule 12.3 has been changed to require citation to the official federal code “if available,” rather than “whenever possible.” This change is intended to facilitate citation to unofficial codes in online databases. Rule 12.3.2 no longer requires a date in citations to the federal code, whether official or unofficial. For state sources of law, rule 12.5(b) now allows citation to online sources for official state and municipal statutes and ordinances whenever available online, rather than when only available online. The citation formats for dissertations and theses were updated in rule 17.2.2. Rule 18 has been updated throughout to provide a consistent format for indicating a time marker in an audio or video recording.Rule 18.8 has been added to provide guidance on citing photographs and illustrations. Rule 21 has been updated to reflect the growing availability of online sources of international law.

The tables have also been updated. Table T1 has been revised to reflect the most current titles for the various statutory compilations, session laws, and administrative compilations and registers. Table T2 has been removed from the print version of The Bluebook and now resides exclusively online at, free of charge. It is the compilers’ hope that the move online will enable more frequent updates to the content of this table. For the Twenty-First Edition, eleven jurisdictions in Table T2 have been comprehensively updated and one new jurisdiction has been added. The compilers are indebted to the legal scholars from these jurisdictions who dedicated their time to improving The Bluebook. Abbreviations for case names in citations, abbreviations for institutional authors in citations, and abbreviations for periodical titles in citations have been combined into table T6. Accordingly, table T13.1 from the Twentieth Edition, containing abbreviations for common institutional names, has become table T13 in the Twenty-First Edition. Terms have been added to or modified in tables T6, T7, T10, T13, and T15 as appropriate.

The compilers wish to thank our Coordinating Editor Mary Miles Prince for working with us in updating and improving The Bluebook. The compilers would also like to acknowledge outside commentators who contributed their expertise to the Twenty-First Edition of The Bluebook. The compilers are grateful to the many law review editors, law librarians, and practitioners who responded to our calls for feedback with helpful comments and advice.

Finally, the compilers request that any errors, omissions, or suggestions for revisions be reported to the Harvard Law Review, Gannett House, 1511 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 or to Errors may be corrected in the Bluebook Online, at, prior to their correction in the next printing of The Bluebook. Online subscribers are encouraged to look there for the most up-to-date version of The Bluebook.