Answered By: Vicki Sciuk
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2019     Views: 5

Westlaw can create legal cites for you, although they are not easy to find. Whether you should use them depends on whether it is for a Legal Studies course or not. For Legal Studies courses, your professor may tell you that all cases, laws and articles should be cited according to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (the main guide for legal citation, especially for law review articles), or the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation (which covers the same information, but is clearer and aimed at students and practicing attorneys). This is the citation style you will get from Westlaw. It does not give you APA or MLA citations.

Our Legal Research guide has information about the Bluebook and a Bluebook Quick Style Guide on the Citation Formats page: 

The Bluebook and ALWD Guide are available in print at most of Berkeley's libraries. We also have Citation & Reference software called RefWorks, which helps you to create references in many styles, including the Bluebook:

Here's an example of how to get a legal reference to a court case from Westlaw.
First you should select/highlight the very brief legal cite at the top of the court decision, like you are about to copy it ("93 S.Ct. 705" in the screenshot below). Then a box will open up with several types of legal citations you can get, such as ALWD, standard, Westlaw, and ones for every state. Pick ALWD, then click on "Copy with Reference (ALWD)" and when you go to paste, you will see it listed in ALWD/Bluebook legal style, with all the info necessary for a lawyer to find the case: 

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), holding modified by Planned Parenthood of S.E. Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)

For courses for other majors, such as Business Law, Criminal Justice, Ethics or Writing classes, use the guidance given for the formatting style your professor wants you to use, such as APA or MLA:

Here's a law review journal article from Westlaw. The items needed to create a citation are pointed out on the page by the notes in the red text boxes:

Sample citations for this article:

  • Bluebook:
    Catherine Martin Christopher, Nevertheless She Persisted: Comparing Roe V. Wade's Two Oral Arguments, 49 Seton Hall L. Rev. 307 (2019).
  • MLA:
    Christopher, Catherine Martin. “Nevertheless She Persisted: Comparing Roe V. Wade's Two Oral Arguments.” Seton Hall Law Review, vol. 49, 2019, pp. 307-352. Westlaw, Document/Ic6f84c911f7b11e9a5b3e3d9e23d7429/ 
    [Note: this is a shortened URL. It follows MLA rules for shortening database URLs, since the full URL is over 4 lines long, and it won't work unless you are already logged into Westlaw]
  • APA:
    Christopher, C.M. (2019). Nevertheless she persisted: Comparing Roe v. Wade's two oral arguments. Seton Hall Law Review, 49, 307-352. Retrieved from 
    [Note: this URL is for the website of Seton Hall Law Review journal. It was found online to follow APA guidelines for when the article is found in a database, and the URL won't work if your readers don't have access to the database. It's also much shorter than the Westlaw link]

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