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JETLaw Editing Conventions
Above-the-Line Text Publications: Under Bluebook Rule 2.2(a)(ii), publications appearing in above-the-line text should be italicized. For purposes of this rule, names of photographs and titles of songs do not constitute publications and should appear in quotes rather than italics.
Acronym: When introducing an acronym, spell out the full text then include the acronym in parentheses without quotation marks immediately following the text. (e.g., “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates . . . .”)
Acronyms in the Table of Contents: Use acronyms in Headings/TOC if used throughout the paper. Only write out the whole acronym the first time it is used in the text.
Acts/Bills: Discuss the contents of a currently valid act or bill in the present tense. (e.g., “Congress passed the Act,” but “The Act authorizes.”)
And/or: The use of “and/or” is disfavored; try to choose onl one of these words or reword altogether.
Capitalizing Judicial Bodies: CMS 8.63. When referring to the United States Supreme Court generically, capitalize Court (i.e. “the Court”). Any other time, follow CMS and use the lowercase, even when discussing a state supreme court or federal circuit court (e.g. “The Fourth Circuit heard the case on appeal. The court held . . .”).
Citation (Generally): A citation should accompany every assertion other than an original intellectual conception of the author. As an exception to this rule, any citation in the conclusion section that would take the form of an internal cross-reference should be omitted.
Constitutions & Numbers: When referring to the US Constitution, refer to articles/sections in the text of a Note/Article as, e.g., “Article IV, Section 1,” or by a commonly known title (e.g., “the Full Faith and Credit Clause”); see BB Rule 11. Numbers under 100 need not be spelled out when referring to a constitution. For state constitutions, use lowercase titles but retain numeral format for specific sections: “article I, section 12” or “the double jeopardy clause.”
Definition of Words and Terms: When defining a term in the text, use quotations, not italics.
Em Dashes: CMS Rule 6.82. No spaces should appear between an em dash. The dash should touch the words that it separates.
First v. Third Person: First person in all forms is generally disfavored, with few exceptions.
Headings: Generally use CMS Rule 8.157. However, when words are hyphenated in a heading, capitalize both words. For example, “fact-finder” is technically one word when using a hyphen, but in a heading, it should appear as “Fact-Finder.”
Hyphenation: Please refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for hyphenation conventions. See “Miscellaneous Words” section below for exceptions.
Infra & Supra Above the Line: Try to avoid using infra and supra in text. Replace with “as mentioned above” or “as previously discussed in Part XX.X.X.”
Italics and possessive: CMS 7.28. Do not italicize the apostrophe or “s” following a possessive. (e.g., Roe v. Wade’s or New York Times’.)
Names for Courts: When referring to courts use the following forms the first time that a court of that level is used in the text: “US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit”; “US District Court for the Northern District of Texas”; “Texas Supreme Court”; and “Texas Court of Appeals.” Using “the district court” or “the court” is acceptable following the formal introduction.
Other countries: CMS Rule 10.33. For example, abbreviate the United Kingdom as UK, and the European Union as EU.
Punctuation and Quotation Marks: All punctuation marks should be inside quotation marks except for colons. See Bluebook Rule 1.1(a).
Quotation Marks: Use “curly” quotation marks rather than “straight” quotation marks. When placing quotation marks around a word/phrase to designate a new term in the article, the quotation marks are necessary only for the first use of the word/phrase.
References to Article/Note: Refer to present work as “this Article” (or “this Note” for student works). Use “this Author” or “this Author’s” in place of first person; see First v. Third Person.
References to other pieces of the Article/Note: Refer to other topics in the piece as “Part” rather than Section or something similar. Example: “Part II discusses . . .” However, when introducing a piece of the paper other than a roman numeral heading (i.e., A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3), you may refer to that piece as “Section” in the text. E.g., “This Section discusses . . . [rather than this Part discusses]. Both Part and Section should be capitalized when referring to other pieces of the Article.
Roadmaps: An author’s roadmap at the beginning of a piece should appear in the present tense and not the future tense. (e.g., “Part I analyzes . . .” instead of “Part I will analyze . . . .”)
Slash (/) Symbol: The use of the slash symbol between words to convey alternatives is discouraged, e.g., the “idea/expression dichotomy” in copyright law discussions should appear instead as the “idea-expression dichotomy.”
Songs: Song titles should be in quotations; see Above-the-Line Text Publications.
Spacing Between Sentences: There should be two spaces between sentences above the line, but only one space between sentences in footnote text.
US v. America: Refer to the United States of America as “the United States” if used as a noun and “US” if used as an adjective, rather than “America” or “American.”
US v. United States: Follow rule 10.33 in CMS that uses “US” when an adjective (US Department of Justice) but “United States” when a noun; see US v. America. Also note “US” should appear without periods (i.e., not “U.S.”).
When to Italicize (Foreign) Words: Please refer to Bluebook 7(b).
● Not Italicized: in vitro, de novo, a priori, per se, ibid., et al., ca., passim, dicta, dictum, de facto, certiorari, stare decisis.
● Italicized: in limine, en banc, in pari delicto, inter alia, de minimis, in camera, carte blanche, qui tam, ad infinitim, qua, in terrorem, prima facie.
See CMS 7.49, 7.53, 11.95 (16th ed.) for more information/examples.
Wikipedia Citations: Citations to Wikipedia are strongly disfavored.
● Case law. Not caselaw or case-law.
● Common law. Do not hyphenate (common-law) unless before a noun (ex: common-law system).
● Fact-finder. Always hyphenate.
● Climate-change v. climate change. Hyphenate before a noun but use no hyphen when the phrase is used as a noun. (e.g., “The recent climate-change legislation” v. “The current debate regarding climate change.”)
● bright-line rule. “Bright-line” should be hyphenated before a noun.
● Markholder. In trademark law, use as one word (instead of “mark holder”) when referring to a person or entity who owns the trademark.
● Rights holder. Should be two words and not hyphenated. (e.g., An intellectual property rights holder.)
● Data. This noun is plural (“the data show”, not “the data shows”).
● Email. Not e-mail (unless in a title of a formal Act/Bill/Paper that spells it that way or in a quote). Should be lowercase unless it begins a sentence or is in a heading/title.
● Preexisting. Don’t use a hyphen (pre-existing).
● Website. Not web-site or web site.
● Per ____. Don’t use a hyphen when using “per.” (e.g., per attack (not per-attack) or per convention (not per-convention)).
● Dicta. If it modifying a singular noun, use “dictum.” (e.g., This analysis was dictum.
● WiFi. Not wifi, Wi-Fi, or Wi-fi.)
● Black letter law. Not hyphenated.
● Video game(s). Should be two words (never “videogame”).
● Trade secret __. Even before a noun, trade secret should not be hyphenated (“trade secret law” not “trade-secret law.”)
● Subject-matter jurisdiction. Subject-matter should be hyphenated when used before a noun.
● Derivative work author. No hyphen needed between “derivative” and “work” even though CMS requires it because “derivative work” is a term of art.
● Theater v. theatre. “Theatre” refers to the art form, while “theater” refers to the physical space.
● Intellectual Property. Do not hyphenate “intellectual property” even when it appears as an adjectival phrase modifying a noun.