Supplement: Rules Regarding Written Work

A student who puts his or her name on any written work offered in satisfaction of an academic requirement shall be deemed by that act to have certified that no unauthorized aid has been received in connection with the work identified as the student’s own.

The directions given below are to be followed in the preparation of all written work submitted unless the instructor under whose supervision the work is being done indicates otherwise.

The paper should be typewritten or printed, doublespaced, with name, 1¼ inch margins, either on legal paper or on letter-size paper (8½ x 11 inches). The paper should be securely stapled or clipped together, with a cover page giving its title, the author’s name, and the name of the professor for whom it is written. The student must personally sign the document, pursuant to the Law School rule respecting certification.

The Table of Contents (with references to pages of the text) should come first, and its main heading should correspond to the main headings throughout the paper, which should be centered on the page and typed in capitals. Subordinate headings should be indicated by lowercase type.

The footnotes must be separated from the text; they may be put either at the bottom of each page of text, or bound separately and fastened to a folder so that the notes face the text. The footnotes should contain a digest of each case cited, sufficient to show the relevance and strength of the case as a holding on the point for which it is cited. Cite only those cases that are sufficiently important to deserve this kind of presentation. 

The text should be concise and should discuss details of cases only where the decision is a leading case, or for the purpose of illustrating a point in the text. A case once digested need not be digested again if later referred to; one digest, adequate to present all points, may be used by cross reference. Pertinent statutory sections should be quoted in full wherever questions of interpretation are raised.

The form of citation should conform to the standard of the Columbia Law Review notes. In all case citations, the names of the parties, with both the official citation and such unofficial citations as the National Reporter series or the English Reprints, should be given, together with the date. References to texts or treatises should give the edition and date, together with page or section. Law review citations should give the volume, page, and date, and if an article, the author’s name followed by the title of the article. No citation should be included in the text. A citation once given may be referred to in subsequent footnotes by means of supra and followed by the number of the footnote in which the citation appears.

Where extra-legal data are derived from published materials, the publication should be cited. If based upon unpublished interviews or questionnaires, the method and scope of the investigation should be stated, including names of individuals from whom data were obtained and their official or business connections. 

Coherence and sustained analysis and synthesis of the subject matter are of the utmost importance. The student should seek to attain these with as much grace of diction and style as he or she can command. The paper should be a good deal more than a digest of decisions. In general, use of the first person should be avoided. An impartial presentation of rival doctrines or analyses should precede, but does not preclude, the writer’s expression of his or her own preference.