Law students and practitoners rely on The Bluebook, a uniform citation system, currently in its 20th edition. The Bluebook differentiates between the non-academic citation, used in court documents, and the academic citation, used in law review footnotes.
Remember, you are learning the skill of finding and reading set of rules, understanding them and applying them to your situation. If you learn to apply one set of rules, you've developed the skill to apply the next set.
"The central function of a legal citation is to allow the reader to efficiently locate the cited source." The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation 1 (Columbia Law Review Ass'n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).
Citations in legal writing serve two purposes:
Avoid accidental plagiarism by citing a source for any idea that is not original.
The Bluepages section of the Bluebook addresses non-academic citation. It is citation for practitioners and law clerks. Here you will find guidance and examples of citation formats that you will use when writing your memoranda, briefs, and other court documents.
Turn to page IX of the Bluebook to see the Table of Contents listing the topics covered in the Bluepages, including:
Page 4 has a helpful table that sets out the differences between the typeface used in non-academic and academic citation.
The white pages in the Bluebook address academic citation. It is citation for law reviews, journals, and other academic legal publications. The white pages expand on the rules included in the Bluepages. N.B. The citations in the white pages use large and small capital letters. If you consult the examples here remember that large and small caps are never used in non-academic citation.