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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Legal Citation & Organizing Research


Legal databases typically offer an option that allows you to copy relevant excerpts from a document along with the citation to the source in quasi-Bluebook form. Please be aware that you must clean up the citation obtained through "copy with reference" because it will never be in perfect Bluebook format. 


Step 1: With your cursor, highlight the passage you are interested in copying within the document and then select "Copy with Reference." Three options are provided: ALWD, Standard, and Westlaw, along with state-specific options. For Bluebook citations, select "Standard." 

Step 2: If successfully copied, you will see a green notification indicating "Text is copied." 

Step 3: Paste the copied text into your Word document, Google Doc, etc. You will see both the excerpt of the text as well as the citation in Bluebook format.

Step 4: CLEAN UP THE CITATION!!! In this example, you will likely want to remove the extra parallel citations to the Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.) and United States Supreme Court, Lawyers' Edition (L. Ed. 2d), and you will need to add a period to the end of the citation. Additionally, if you are using this citation in the footnote of a research paper instead of as an in-text citation in a memo or brief, you will need to change the underscored case name to ordinary type instead (that is, neither italicized nor underscored). 


Step 1: Click on the "Copy Citation" button near the top of the document. [Note: You may also highlight a passage and then select "Copy (Quick)" to copy both the excerpt as well as the citation for the document.]


Step 2: A pop-up box will appear, which allows you to customize the citation. Select "Standard" (for Bluebook citations), select or de-select other options as desired, then click "Apply." Copy the text by clicking on the "Copy & Close" button. 


Step 3: Past the copied citation into a Word document, Google Doc, etc. 


Step 4: CLEAN UP THE CITATION!!! In the example above, you would need to add a period at the end of the citation. If using this citation in a footnote rather than an in-text citation, you will also want to remove the underlining from the case name. 


Step 1: In the left pane, click on the "Cite" button.

Step 2: A pop-up box containing citations in various formats will appear. Copy the citation in the desired format and paste it in your Word document, Google Doc, etc. 

Step 3: CLEAN UP THE CITATION!!! In general, HeinOnline does a better job with Bluebook citations for periodical articles than Westlaw or Lexis Advance, but they are still not perfect. In the example above, you would need to move "The" to the beginning of the article title, add a period to the end of the citation, and alter or remove the pincite as needed. Additionally, if you are using this citation in the footnote to an academic article, then the periodical must be in large and small caps. 


NUsearch, the library catalog of Northwestern University Libraries (including the law library), provides options to generate citations in MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard citation formats. Unfortunately, there is not a Bluebook option. If you would like to use this tool to create references for books, the best format to select is Chicago/Turabian because it keeps both the first and last names of all authors for books, but you will have to convert the citation to Bluebook format on your own. 

To obtain a citation, click on the "Get Citation" icon in the catalog record and then select "Chicago/Turabian (16th edition)." Click on the "Copy the Citation to Clipboard" to copy the citation and paste it elsewhere.