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How to write a jurisdictional statement

How to cite Notorious B.I.G. (and other recordings)

Let’s say you want to quote Bob Dylan’s lyrics in a brief. (You wouldn’t be the first.) If you do, you’ll want to get the citation form right. You could look it up in the Bluebook (19th ed., Rule 18.7.1) or your ALWD Guide to Legal Citation (5th ed., Rules 28.3–28.5). Or you could just imitate Judge Don Willett of the U.S. Fifth Circuit, who cited Notorious B.I.G. in footnote 8 of this recent opinion.

For briefs, cite a single by artist name (plain type), song name (italics), and parenthetical with the recording company and year of release. To cite a song on an album, put a comma after the song name, followed by “on [album name]” in italics. Thus, for a brief:

R.L. Burnside, Shake ’Em On Downon Too Bad Jim (Fat Possum Records 1994).

If you’re writing for a law-review article—or if you want to be like Judge Willett, put the artist’s name and album name in large and small caps instead of italics.


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