The Maroonbook

"The students at the University of Chicago Law School have mounted a bold challenge to the Bluebook's hegemony: The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation."  Richard A. Posner, Goodbye to the Bluebook, 53 U Chi L Rev 1343, 1343 (1986).

"The determination by University of Chicago students to compete, and thereby allow the market to decide which is the more efficient guide to legal citation, seems entirely apt. . . ."  Mary I. Coombs, Lowering One's Cites: A (Sort of) Review of the University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation, 76 Va L Rev 1099, 1101 (1990).

"To the Maroonbook authors, the [Bluebook] commits the most heinous of sins: It's inefficient."  David Margolick, At the Bar, NY Times B7 (Nov 4, 1988).


The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation (or the "Maroonbook") is used by student journals at the University of Chicago Law School, as well as by many outside journals.

The first edition of the Maroonbook was a response to cries for a simpler system of legal citation. These cries, driven by many factors, including the dramatic increase in the use of electronic research tools and dissatisfaction with the dominant citation format, resulted in a number of laudable but unsuccessful efforts to devise such a system. We believe these efforts have failed in part because they attempt to dictate a comprehensive set of citation rules.

This manual, whose publication over twenty years ago preceded most of these efforts, takes a dramatically different approach. Rather than try to provide a rule for every possible situation—an ambition doomed to fail—the Maroonbook offers a simple, malleable framework for citation, which authors and editors can tailor to suit their purposes. Users should be guided by the following four principles, listed in order of importance:

(1) Sufficiency: The citation should give the reader enough information to locate the cited material without further assistance.

(2) Clarity: The citation should be comprehensible to the reader, using plain English and following a well-recognized form whenever possible, and avoiding the use of confusing words.

(3) Consistency: Citations should be consistent within a piece, though they need not be uniform across all legal materials.

(4) Simplicity: Citations should contain only as much information as is necessary to meet the goals of sufficiency, clarity, and consistency.

View the most recent edition of the Maroonbook.