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Legal Resources: Reading Legal Citations

A Guide to Legal Research

Deciphering Citations

A legal citation is a reference to a specific legal resource item such as a statute, legal case, or law journal article.  A citation typically includes the volume number, name of resource, and a page or section number.  See examples below.

Statutory law

Citation:  42 U.S.C. § 2000b

Translation:  Title (volume) 42 of the United States Code section 2000b.


Case law

Citation:   Kriescher v. Fox Hills Golf Resort  384 F. 3d 912

Translation:  Case name Kriescher v. Fox Hills Golf Resort, found in volume 384 of the Federal Reporter, 3rd series, starting on page 912


Law Review Article

Citation:  12 Marq. Sports L. Rev. 347

Translation:   Volume 12 of the Marquette Sports Law Review, starting on page 347.

Common Legal Abbreviations: Case Reporters & Code

F., F.2d, F.3d                     Federal Reporter (1st, 2nd, 3rd series)

F.Supp, F.Supp.2d            Federal Supplement (1st & 2nd series)

N.E., N.E.2d                     North Eastern Reporter (1st and 2nd series)

Ohio Rev. Code                Ohio Revised Code Annotated

S. Ct.                                Supreme Court Reporter

U.S.                                  United States Reports

U.S.C.                              United States Code

U.S.C.A.                           United States Code Annotated


Common Legal Abbreviations for Law Journals

       L.    =   Law                              Ohio St. L.J.         =      Ohio State Law Journal

       J.    =   Journal                         J. Fam. L.             =       Journal of Family Law

    Rev.  =   Review                         Harv. L. Rev         =      Harvard Law Review


Legal Citation Resources


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