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Legal Abbreviations: Overview

Last updated by Jacob Wood, JD '25

Subject Explanation

Welcome! This guide focuses on legal citations. The information included in this guide will breakdown the different parts of a legal citation, as well as the commonly used abbreviations they contain.

Additional Explanations on Legal Citations

Understanding Legal Citations

Legal citations indicate where something is published and typically will include the following elements:

1. Volume or Title number
2. Publication
 (usually abbreviated). This may be followed by a series designation.
3. First page or section number Note: the symbol § means section. 


Citations for Case Reporters will normally be in the following form:

359 S.W.2d 851 refers to Volume 359 of the Southwest Reporter, Second Series page 851.

533 U.S. 483 refers to Volume 533 of the Supreme Court Reporter, page 483

Citations for Statutes may take one of two general formats:


44 U.S.C. § 1901 refers to Title 44 of the United States Code, Section 1901.

42 U.S.C.A. § 816 refers to Title 42 of the United States Code Annotated, Section 816.


V.A.M.S. § 558.040 refers to Section 558.040 of Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes

R.S.Mo. § 261.010 refers to Section 261.010 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

Citation Manuals

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