Here’s a great article by Richard Posner: “The Bluebook Blues, ” 120 Yale L. J. 850 (2011).
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation exemplifies hypertrophy in the anthropological sense. It is a monstrous growth, remote from the functional need for legal citation forms, that serves obscure needs of the legal culture and its student subculture.
Judge Posner has a short manual for his clerks (written, as the judge notes, chiefly by Stanford Law School’s alumnus Scott Hemphill, now a prof. at Columbia) which includes an appendix on “citation formats.” The appendix is reproduced in the article and starts with clarity and commonsense: “No parallel citations in cases; statutory provisions do not need years, unless the point is to identify an old law . . . “
Here at Stanford I can’t count how many times law students have come to the reference desk confused about what year to assign to a United States Code citation.
Read the short book review article – you’ll enjoy it!