Legal Abbreviations
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Legal citation is rather unique. In brief, the part of a legal citation that indicates where something is published typically includes the following elements:
Volume or Title number
Publication
(usually abbreviated). This may be followed by a series designation.
First page or section number Note: the symbol § means section.

Examples:
421 N.W.2d 877 refers to volume 421 of the North Western Reporter, Second Series page 877
44 U.S.C. § 1901 refers to Title 44 of the United States Code, section 1901
Iowa Code § 336.8 refers to section 336.8 of the Code of Iowa
I.C.A. § 336.8 refers to section 336.8 of the Iowa Code Annotated.

This guide notes the abbreviation (followed by series designation, as applicable), full title and coverage for some of the most heavily used legal resources. For other abbreviations, consult Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (at the Information Desk and in the stacks at KF 246 .B46).  For a more in-depth look at legal citation, see Introduction to Basic Legal Citation by Peter W. Martin (Cornell Law School).

Abbreviation Title Description/Coverage
A.
A.2d
Atlantic Reporter Regional reporter containing cases from CT, DE, D.C., ME, MD, NH, NJ, PA, RI, VT; printed in two series
Am. Jur.
Am. Jur. 2d
American Jurisprudence Legal encyclopedia that provides case citations and cross references to other resources
A.L.R.
A.L.R.2d
A.L.R.3d
A.L.R.4th
A.L.R.5th
A.L.R.Fed.
American Law Reports Provides in-depth coverage of legal topics; provides case citations and cross references; printed in six series, including a Federal series
C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations Contains rules and regulations passed by federal agencies
C.J.S. Corpus Juris Secundum Legal encyclopedia that provides case citations; uses West key number systems
F.
F.2d
F.3d
Federal Reporter Contains U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cases; printed in three series
F.R.D. Federal Rules Decisions Contains U.S. District Court cases construing the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
F.Supp.
F.Supp.2d
Federal Supplement Contains U.S. District Court cases
Fed. Reg. Federal Register Contains information on the daily activities of federal agencies
Iowa Iowa Reports Official reporter for Iowa cases from 1855-1968
IAB or Iowa Admin. Bull. Iowa Administrative Bulletin Iowa abbreviation, followed by the Bluebook and ALWD citation manuals' abbreviation. Biweekly publication containing notices of intended actions on Iowa state agency rules, new filed rules, some Proclamations and Executive orders of the Governor and other administrative materials
IAC or Iowa Admin. Code Iowa Administrative Code Iowa abbreviation, followed by the Bluebook and ALWD citation manuals' abbreviation. Contains Iowa state agency rules and regulations
Iowa Acts Acts and Joint Resolutions of Iowa Official session law publication containing laws passed by the Iowa General Assembly
Iowa Code Code of Iowa Topical arrangement of laws passed by the Iowa General Assembly
Iowa Code Ann. Iowa Code Annotated Annotated version of the Iowa Code; provides references to other resources; published by West
L.Ed.
L.Ed.2d
United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers Edition Reporter containing U.S. Supreme Court cases; editors add headnote annotations; printed in two series
N.E.
N.E.2d
North Eastern Reporter Regional reporter containing cases from IL, IN, MA, NY, OH; printed in two series
N.W.
N.W.2d
North Western Reporter Regional reporter containing cases from IA, MI, MN, NE, ND, SD, WI; printed in two series
P.
P.2d
P.3d
Pacific Reporter Regional reporter containing cases from AK, AZ, CA, CO, HIO, ID, KS, MT, NV, NM, OK, OR, UT, WA, WY; printed in three series
S. Ct. West's Supreme Court Report Reporter containing U.S. Supreme Court cases; uses West key numbers; editors add headnote annotations
S.E.
S.E.2d
South Eastern Reporter Regional reporter containing cases from GA, NC, SC, VA, WV; printed in two series
So. Or S.
So.2d or S.2d
Southern Reporter The Bluebook citation manual abbreviation, followed by the ALWD Citation Manual abbreviation. Regional reporter containing cases from AL, FL, LA, MS; printed in two series
Stat. Statutes at Large Official session law publication containing laws passed by Congress
S.W.
S.W.2d
S.W.3d
South Western Reporter Regional Reporter containing cases from AR, KY, MO, TN, TX; printed in three series
U.S. United States Reports Official reporter containing U.S. Supreme Court cases
U.S.C. United States Code Topical arrangement of laws passed by Congress
U.S.C.A. United States Code Annotated Annotated version of the U.S. Code; provides cross references to other resources; published by West
U.S.C.S. United States Code Service Annotated version of the U.S. Code; provides cross references to other resources; published by Lexis



Prepared by Karen Wallace, Circulation/Reference Librarian
Drake University Law Library
Last revised: December 2006, KW
Please feel free to e-mail the author with suggestions for improving this guide.
The URL of this page is: /library/?pageID=libAbbreviations   


 
Last Modified: 5/26/2009 4:21:00 PM by David Hanson