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BGLJ Says Goodbye to the Bluebook

BGLJ Says Goodbye to the Bluebook published on

Press release available for download here: Bluebook Press Release

Statement Regarding the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice’s Citation Practices

Dear Community,

The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice is excited to announce that we will no longer be using the Bluebook as our citation system. It is the mission of the Journal to publish innovative, intersectional, and rigorous scholarship. The Journal’s Editorial Board has come to the conclusion that, for multiple reasons, the Bluebook impedes our ability to fulfill that mission.

First, the Bluebook presents an enormous and unnecessary barrier to publication in law journals for scholars from other disciplines, young scholars, legal practitioners, and others without access to students and clerks to Bluebook their work. The 20th Edition of the Bluebook is 560 pages long, a Russian doll of rules within rules. It strictly regulates when to use small-caps, when to italicize commas, and how to abbreviate the proper names of over 1000 law journals. Conforming citations to the Bluebook is an immense undertaking, even for attorneys who have presumably been trained to use it. For the non-attorney, reading the hundreds of pages of legal rules and then applying them is daunting. To the extent that the Bluebook citation style privileges the publication of work created by authors of a particular, narrow background or those with access to more resources, adherence to that style is inconsistent with the mandate of the Journal.

Second, conforming to Bluebook citation style requires an investment of editorial time and effort which is wildly disproportionate to the utility of the style. Rules regarding the use of small-caps versus italics, or whether commas are italicized, underlined, or neither, give no substantive guidance to the reader regarding how to locate the particular source or how the source is being used. These stylistic fixes, however, are immensely time-consuming for the editor. Highlighting each comma in an eighty-page article to determine its formatting can easily consume an hour or more. An editor working on an interdisciplinary or cutting-edge piece citing non-traditional sources, such as tweets, podcasts, internet videos, may spend hours of their time looking up the particular obscure formats required. This time could be spent checking for accuracy or, even better, testing the argument and improving its structure. It is the substance of a piece—rather than its use of punctuation—which can introduce innovative ideas and further productive discussion. It is, therefore, our conclusion that the primary responsibility of editors should be working with authors to build the strongest possible version of that substance. It is our opinion that following the Bluebook is an obstacle to fulfilling that responsibility.

Thirdly, the Bluebook citation system is inaccessible to the unfamiliar reader. Any reader not trained in Bluebook citation—which is to say, any reader who has not attended law school—is unlikely to understand a citation to J. Mar. L. & Com (with our apologies to the convenient example of the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce). Is it a publication? Which one? Instead of immediately understanding the source of the author’s claim, the reader must run a search on the unfamiliar abbreviation before returning to the text. Citation form should aid the reader in tracing the author’s intellectual process, not place unnecessary roadblocks in their way. Focusing on this purpose is particularly important for the Journal because it is central to our mission to promote voices, perspectives, and research subjects which have historically been excluded from legal and academic discourse. We have an obligation to produce a publication which is as accessible as possible to a wide range of readers, including non-lawyers.

In Judge Posner’s memorable words, the Bluebook has become “a monstrous growth, remote from the functional need for legal citation forms, which serves obscure needs of the legal culture and its student subculture.” The Bluebook is difficult to master—1L courses spend a significant amount of time teaching new law students its minutia and many professors employ students specifically to Bluebook their pieces for publication. Moreover, practicing attorneys almost never use the Bluebook, using simplified, court or office-specific citation forms instead. Perhaps the last bastion of the Bluebook, outside of the academic publications that created it, is in federal judicial chambers, but a critique of the Bluebook is emerging from this corner as well as exemplified by Posner’s article The Bluebook Blues.

Uniformity of style is an admirable goal and one for which the Journal will continue to strive. However, we believe that uniformity is not the only goal of citation, and is in fact only a minor one. The most important goal for a system of legal citation is to allow a reader to trace an author’s intellectual process. Clear, accessible, simple, and consistent citations serve this goal. The Journal will be using a seven-page citation guide, borrowing heavily from the system Judge Posner describes in his article and retaining useful elements of the Bluebook. The citation guide will be available on our website. We will revise the articles we publish with this guide, but will continue to accept articles in any (consistent) citation style.

The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice has a proud tradition of continually interrogating and improving upon received wisdom about what legal scholarship is and how it should be published. We are committed to working toward a better, more equitable Journal, legal community, and world. Given our traditions and commitments, we decline to continue participating in a system that functions as a barrier for non-traditional scholars and non-traditional scholarship, impedes clarity, and refocuses attention from an article’s substance to its form.

Sincerely,

Volume 32 Editorial Board

The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice

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You can view BGLJ’s citation guide here: Citation Guide 2016

Editorial Board 2016-2017

Editorial Board 2016-2017 published on

Editors-in-Chief: Emma Mclean-Riggs & Samantha Romero
Executive Editors: Alexandria Sadler & Astrid Ackerman
Managing Editor: Francesca Schley
Submissions Editors: Amy Egerton-Wiley & Lilith Siegel
Commentary & Recent Developments Editor: Ari Jones
Events Editor: Open Position
Book Review Editor: Robin Wetherill
Productions Editors: Amis Mengqi Pan & Open Position
Symposum Editor: Darius Dehghan
Marketing Editor: Mason Strand
Secretary: Open Position
1L Representative: Open Position (for 1Ls only)
Website Editor: Open Position
Article Editors: Holly Firlein, Emma Halling, Tyler Wolfe, and more!

Editorial Board 2014-2015

Editorial Board 2014-2015 published on

Editors-in-Chief: Brandi Jackson & Kai Haswell
Executive Editors: Joshua Anderson & Eliza Duggan

Commentary Editor: Courtney Fraser

Recent Developments Editor & Events Editor: Shweta Kumar

Book Review Editor: Denison Goodrich-Scklenker

Submissions Editor: Melissa Trent

Solicitations Editor: Asher Waite-Jones

Managing Editor: Liz Toledo

Productions Editors: Aziza Abduragimova & Beth Andrews

Symposum Editor: Arlyn Katen

Marketing Editor: Taylor Reeves

Secretary: Candace DesBaillets

1L Representative: Emma Mclean-Riggs

Website Editor: Cory Hernandez

Editorial Board 2013-2014

Editorial Board 2013-2014 published on

Editors-in-Chief: Aditi Fruitwala and Louisa Irving

Managing Editor: Maggie Peach

Executive Editors: Malachi Haswell and Anna Kastner

Submissions Editor: Aditi Fruitwala

Commentary Editor: Arlyn Katen

Production Editor: Charles Justin Sheng

Recent Developments Editor: Jamie Lanphear

Marketing Editor: Brandi Jackson

Book Review Editor: Melissa Burkhart

Events Editor: Lillian Jimenez

Website Editor: Melissa Trent

Symposium Editor: Allison Lauterbach

Article Editors: Beth Andrews, Courtney Fraser, Brandi Jackson, Arlyn Katen, and Laura MacInnis

Secretary: Courtney Fraser

First Year Representative: Elizabeth Toledo

Editorial Board 2012-2013

Editorial Board 2012-2013 published on

Editors-in-Chief: Rebecca Lee and Katie Mathews

Managing Editor: Molly Leiwant

Executive Editors: Lauren Capaccio and Lisa Nash

Book Review Editor: Charles Justin Sheng

Solicitations Editor: Emily Puhl

Commentary Editor: Olga Tomchin

Production Editor: Mary Whitaker

Recent Developments Editor: Erik Bauman

Marketing & Events Editor: Cara McGarian

Submissions Editor: Louisa Irving

Symposium Editor: Allison Lauterbach

Article Editors: Ana Enriquez, Erin Everett, Cara McGarian, Katy Merk, Emily Puhl, and May Whitaker

First Year Representative: Arlyn Katen

Faculty Adviser: Herma Hill Kay

The Catherine Albiston Prize 2014

The Catherine Albiston Prize 2014 published on

The Catherine Albiston Prize for Recent Developments on Gender, Law & Justice

The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice is now accepting submissions for its third annual student writing competition.

The Catherine Albiston Prize for Recent Developments on Gender, Law & Justice gives students the opportunity to submit pieces for publication in the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice during the 2014-2015 academic year.

We invite submissions of research, analysis, narrative, theory, and commentary that critically examine the intersection of gender with one or more other axes of subordination, including, but not limited to, race, class, sexual orientation, and disability. Pieces may be geared toward theoretical legal philosophy or pragmatic, on-the-ground lawyering. We welcome interdisciplinary pieces, but there must be a focus on the law.

It is our experience that papers cannot be judged based on page-length, but rather on the underlying quality of work. With that in mind, we recommend that students submit a manuscript of 30 – 50 pages.

Mandate: Submissions should meet the mandate of the journal.

Our mandate is to publish feminist legal scholarship that critically examines the intersection of gender with one or more other axes of subordination, including, but not limited to, race, class, sexual orientation, and disability.

Because conditions of inequality are continually changing, our mandate is also continually evolving. Pieces may come within the mandate because of their subject matter or because of their analytical attention to differences in social location among women.

Eligibility: In order to qualify for selection, the author must be enrolled as a student in law school for the Spring semester of 2014. If any part of a paper has already been published, or is to be published elsewhere, we cannot accept the piece.

Instructions for Submission:
All entries must be submitted to besshanish@berkeley.edu by June 1st, 2014.

Mixer 2014: First Annual Issue Launch Party & Alumni Mixer

Mixer 2014: First Annual Issue Launch Party & Alumni Mixer published on

Please join the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice for our First Annual Issue Launch Party & Alumni Mixer!

We are excited to reconnect with you, learn about the Journal’s past, and celebrate the launch of our Winter 2014 issue.

Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu, a co-founding member of the Journal, will reflect on the Journal’s history and origins. We will recognize the dedicatees of this issue, Sara Kruzan and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. Professor Nancy Lemon will present the Jim Fahey Safe Homes for Women Fellowship awards to students who have demonstrated extraordinary service to survivors of domestic violence.

The Journal would not be the thriving organization that it is today without the talented, dedicated, and passionate alums that paved the way.

Let us celebrate you and toast another successful year of publishing intersectional feminist legal scholarship.

We truly hope to see you at this exciting event!

Monday, April 07, 2014
06:00 PM – 08:00 PM
Steindardt Courtyard
Boalt Hall
Berkeley CA

Email bglj.alumni@gmail.com to RSVP.

Light refreshments will be served.

Symposium 2013: Speech, Symbols, and Substantial Obstacles: The Doing and “Undue”ing of Abortion Law since Casey

Symposium 2013: Speech, Symbols, and Substantial Obstacles: The Doing and “Undue”ing of Abortion Law since Casey published on

Friday, October 4, 2013
UC Berkeley, School of Law
110 Boalt Hall
Reception to follow – Warren Room, 295 Boalt Hall

Registration          Agenda         Biographies    

The Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice will present a daylong, interdisciplinary symposium at Berkeley Law on Friday, October 4, 2013.

Thought leaders from diverse disciplines will examine the constitutive power and widespread impact of current laws related to abortion in the United States. Discussion will focus on Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s undue burden standard; the way this “standardless standard” is playing out in courts across the country, altering people’s access to and experience of abortion care. How have legal frames influenced the public’s understanding of abortion and its perceptions of those who seek abortions? How do abortion regulations interact with other areas of law, including freedom of speech? How do abortion restrictions harm individuals, families, and communities, threatening access to services, compelling parenthood, and compounding other forms of marginalization?

Confirmed Speakers/Moderators/Discussants:

  • Brigitte Amiri, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project 

  • Caitlin Borgmann, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law

  • Khiara Bridges, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Boston University School of Law

  • Kimberly Buchanan, Associate Professor of Law and Gender Studies, USC Gould School of Law

  • Caroline Corbin, Associate Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law 

  • Jesse Choper, Earl Warren Professor of Public Law, Berkeley Law

  • Sara Dubow, Associate Professor of History, Williams College

  • Dan Grossman, Assistant Clinical Professor, Dept. of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, UCSF; Vice President of Research, Ibis Reproductive Health

  • Sujatha Jesudason, Director, CoreAlign, UC San Francisco

  • Carol Joffe, Professor, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, UCSF; Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH); Professor Emerita, Dept. of Sociology, University of California, Davis   

  • Pamela Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law, Stanford Law School

  • Allison Lauterbach, Symposium Editor, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice

  • Kristin Luker, Faculty Director, Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice; Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law; Professor of Sociology 

  • Gillian Metzger, Stanley H. Fuld Professor of Law; Vice Dean, Columbia Law School

  • Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, Berkeley Law

  • Kimberly Mutcherson, Professor, Rutgers University School of Law-Camden 

  • Nancy Northup, President and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights

  • Carol Sanger, Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

  • Neil Siegel, Professor of Law and Political Science, Duke Law

  • Tracy Weitz, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences Director, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), UC San Francisco 

  • Alyssa Wulf, Principal and Director of Programs, Real Reason


Registration is required and will open August 2013.  MCLE credits will be available.

Co-sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities

The Catherine Albiston Prize 2013

The Catherine Albiston Prize 2013 published on

The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice is now accepting submissions for its second annual student writing competition.

The Catherine Albiston Prize for Recent Developments on Gender, Law & Justice gives students the opportunity to submit pieces for publication in the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice during the 2013-2014 academic year.

We invite submissions of research, analysis, narrative, theory, and commentary that critically examine the intersection of gender with one or more other axes of subordination, including, but not limited to, race, class, sexual orientation, and disability. Pieces may be geared toward theoretical legal philosophy or pragmatic, on-the-ground lawyering. We welcome interdisciplinary pieces, but there must be a focus on the law.

It is our experience that papers cannot be judged based on page-length, but rather on the underlying quality of work. With that in mind, we recommend that students submit a manuscript of 30 – 50 pages

Mandate: Submissions should meet the mandate of the journal.

Because conditions of inequality are continually changing, our mandate is also continually evolving. Pieces may come within the mandate because of their subject matter or because of their analytical attention to differences in social location among women.

Eligibility: In order to qualify for selection, the author must be enrolled as a student in law school for the Spring semester of 2013. If any part of a paper has already been published, or is to be published elsewhere, we cannot accept the piece.

Instructions for Submission: All entries must be submitted to BGLJ.Solicitations@gmail.com by May 15, 2013.

Student Contest Flyer