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When a Rose Isn’t ‘Arose’ Isn’t Arroz: A Student Guide to Footnoting for Informational Clarity and Scholarly Discourse, by Mark E. Wojcik, Legal Writing Prof Blog


Professor William Mock has authored an article meant to help students cite more sensibly. The article begins with welcome advice: ‘Not every proposition in a law review articles requires citation, nor does every footnote require cited authority.’ (And in case you’re worried already, that sentence has two footnotes in the orginal!).

It is the kind of article that should be given to incoming law journal editorial boards to help student editors (and research assistants) understand the distinctions among different types of footnotes.

You can share this link for students to download a copy of the paper from SSRN.


(With students, we recommend giving the link rather than the document itself so that students will also learn how to do research on SSRN–a source that gives them information not found on Westlaw or Lexis or Bloomberg).

If law journals adopt more sensible rules for citations rather than strict mathematical formulas (such as 1.8 pages of footnotes for each page of text), law reviews have a chance to increase their readability and usefulness to readers.