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Bluebook Abbreviations: Common Words in Case Names

This is the law. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation is a legal style guide. It is used in most United States law schools and court systems to properly cite and abbreviate court cases in parenthetical citation sentences of legal documents. Take a look at the list below to find which common words in case names are abbreviated according to the Bluebook – and how you should abbreviate them.

Lawyer in a CourtroomLawyer in a Courtroom

Bluebook Abbreviations for Courts

Legal abbreviations for court documents have to start with the courts themselves. Case names often include the name of the court that made the judgment. Abbreviating the court names is helpful for understanding and keeping legal writing concise. These abbreviations include:

  • App. - Appeals

  • Cir. - Circuit

  • Cl. - Claims

  • Crim. - Criminal

  • Ct. - Court

  • D. - District

Business and Financial Abbreviations

Many case names involve business or financial institutions. These words include board, committee, enterprise, and foundation, to name a few. Here are some common case name abbreviations for the business and financial world:

  • Admin. - Administrative/Administration

  • Admr. - Administrator

  • Admx. - Administratrix

  • Assoc. - Associate

  • Ass’n - Association

  • Bankr. - Bankruptcy

  • Bd. - Board

  • Bros. - Brothers

  • Bus. - Business

  • Coal. - Coalition

  • Comm’n - Commission

  • Comm’r - Commissioner

  • Comm. - Committee

  • Co. - Company

  • Comp. - Compensation

  • Corp. - Corporation

  • Dep’t - Department

  • Dir. - Director

  • Disc. - Discount

  • Div. - Division

  • Econ. - Economic/Economical/Economics/Economy

  • Emp. - Employee

  • Emp’r - Employer

  • Emp’t - Employment

  • Enter. - Enterprise

  • Exch. - Exchange

  • Exec. - Executive

  • Fid. - Fidelity

  • Fin. - Finance/Financial/Financing

  • Found. - Foundation

  • Inc. - Incorporated

  • Indus. - Industry/Industries/Industrial

  • Inv. - Investment

  • Inv’r - Investor

  • Liab. - Liability

  • Mgmt. - Management

  • Mkt. - Market

  • Mktg. - Marketing

  • Merch. - Merchant/Merchandise/Merchandising

  • Mortg. - Mortgage

  • Org. - Organization/Organizing

  • P’ship - Partnership

  • Pers. - Person/Personal/Personnel

  • Ret. - Retirement

  • Sav. - Savings

  • S’holder - Shareholder

  • Subcomm. - Subcommittee

  • Tr. - Trustee

Industry-Specific Abbreviations

Legal documents include many case names for specific industries. These industries may include education, government, agriculture, or pharmaceuticals. Take a look at these case name abbreviations to determine how you should abbreviate industry case names.

  • Acad. - Academic/Academy

  • Adver. - Advertising

  • Agric. - Agriculture/Agricultural

  • Auto. - Automobile/Automotive

  • Broad. - Broadcast/Broadcasting

  • Bhd. - Brotherhood

  • Chem. - Chemical

  • Coll. - College

  • Comput. - Computer

  • Condo. - Condominium

  • Cong. - Congress/Congressional

  • Constr. - Construction

  • Corr. - Correction/Correctional/Corrections

  • Def. - Defender/Defense

  • Det. - Detention

  • Distrib. - Distributor/Distributing

  • Educ. - Education/Educational

  • Elec. - Electric/Electrical/Electricity/Electronic

  • Entm’t - Entertainment

  • Env’t - Environment

  • Envtl. - Environmental

  • Eng’r - Engineer

  • Eng’g - Engineering

  • Exp. - Export/Exportation/Exporter

  • Hosp. - Hospital

  • Hous. - Housing

  • Imp. - Import/Importation/Importer

  • Ins. - Insurance

  • Mach. - Machine/Machinery

  • Maint. - Maintenance

  • Mfr. - Manufacturer

  • Mfg. - Manufacturing

  • Mar. - Maritime

  • Mech. - Mechanic/Mechanical

  • Med. - Medical/Medicine

  • Pat. - Patent

  • Pharm. - Pharmaceutics/Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals

  • Pres. - Preserve/Preservation

  • Prod. - Product/Production

  • Publ’g - Publishing

  • R.R. - Railroad

  • Ry. - Railway

  • Ref. - Refining

  • Rehab. - Rehabilitation

  • Reprod. - Reproduction/Reproductive

  • Rest. - Restaurant

  • Sch. - School/Schools

  • Sci. - Science/Scientific

  • S.S - Steamship/Steamships

  • Tech. - Technical/Technological/Technology

  • Telecomm. - Telecommunication

  • Tel. - Telephone/Telegraph

  • Transp. - Transport/Transportation

  • Univ. - University

  • Util. - Utility

  • Vet. - Veteran

Location Abbreviations

Cardinal directions, map locations, and general location names are important elements of legal case names. Here are the abbreviations you should use when describing where something is.

  • Am. - America or American

  • Ave. - Avenue

  • Atl. - Atlantic

  • Cont’l - Continental

  • Ctr. - Center/Centre

  • Cmty. - Community

  • Cnty. - County

  • Dist. - District

  • E. - East or Eastern

  • Int’l - International

  • Metro. - Metropolitan

  • Nat’l - National

  • N. - North/Northern

  • Ne. - Northeast/Northeastern

  • Nw. - Northwest/Northwestern

  • Reg’l - Regional

  • Rd. - Road

  • S. - South/Southern

  • Se. - Southeast/Southeastern

  • Sw. - Southwest/Southwestern

  • St. - Street

  • Twp. - Township

  • Transcon. - Transcontinental

  • Tpk. - Turnpike

  • Vill. - Village

  • W. - West/Western

Other Bluebook Abbreviations in Case Names

Legal terms and other words have specific abbreviations to include in case names. Find out how to abbreviate building, institute, publication, and more with these important legal abbreviations.

  • & - And

  • Alt. - Alternative

  • Auth. - Authority

  • Bldg.  - Building

  • Cas. - Casualty

  • Cent. - Central

  • Commc’n - Communication

  • Consol. - Consolidated

  • Coop. - Cooperative

  • Dev. - Development

  • Dig. - Digital

  • Equal. - Equality

  • Equip. - Equipment

  • Exam’r - Examiner

  • Ex’r - Executor

  • Ex’x - Executrix

  • Expl. - Exploration/Exploratory

  • Fed. - Federal

  • Fed’n - Federation

  • Gen. - General

  • Gend. - Gender

  • Gov’t - Government

  • Grp. - Group

  • Guar. - Guaranty/Guarantee

  • Indem. - Indemnity

  • Indep. - Independent

  • Info. - Information

  • Inst. - Institute/Institution

  • Ltd. - Limited

  • Litig. - Litigation

  • Mem’l - Memorial

  • Mun. - Municipal

  • Mut. - Mutual

  • No. - Number

  • Op. - Opinion

  • Pac. - Pacific

  • Prob. - Probate/Probation

  • Prof’l - Professional

  • Prop. - Property

  • Prot. - Protection

  • Pub. - Public

  • Publ’n - Publication

  • Res. - Resource/Resources

  • Sec’y - Secretary

  • Sec. - Security/Securities

  • Serv. - Service

  • Soc. - Social

  • Soc’y - Society

  • Sol. - Solution

  • Sur. - Surety

  • Sys. - System/Systems

  • Temp. - Temporary

  • Unif. - Uniform

Light vs. Heavy Abbreviation System

The Bluebook has both light and heavy methods for abbreviating words in case names. The light version only abbreviates eight words, while the heavy abbreviation system abbreviates more. The first word of the case name is always spelled out in both systems, and the entire case name is spelled out in a textual sentence. In other words, abbreviate only in citation sentences.

Light Abbreviations

The light abbreviation system only abbreviates eight words in a case name. Also known as long-form abbreviations, light abbreviations convey basic understanding when a document first mentions a case.

Light abbreviation includes the following abbreviations only:

  • & - And

  • Ass’n - Association

  • Bros. - Brothers

  • Co. - Company

  • Corp. - Corporation

  • Inc. - Incorporated

  • Ltd. - Limited

  • No. - Number

Additionally, the light abbreviation system allows for abbreviations for entities or acronyms that are well-known. These abbreviations include the ACLU, the SEC, and others.

Heavy Abbreviations

After a long-form case name has been established, you can use heavy or short-form abbreviations to mention the case. These abbreviations include the rest of the words from the above list. The purpose of heavy abbreviations is to keep understanding clear while saving space and readers’ time.

Types of Abbreviation Techniques

You may have noticed that some of these abbreviations have periods while others have apostrophes. The Bluebook uses two forms of abbreviations.

Contraction Abbreviations

Contraction abbreviations include three to four letters of a word, plus the last letter of the word, with an apostrophe in between. No period is needed. Typically, you'd be omitting letters from the middle of the word.

Examples include exam’r (examiner), mem’l (memorial), and p’ship (partnership).

Scrunched Abbreviations

Scrunched abbreviations include various letters from the word (typically the first few letters in the word). Use a period at the end of scrunch abbreviations. Scrunched abbreviations can omit letters from anywhere in the word.

Examples include bus. (business), cnty. (county) and info. (information).

Legal Writing and Style Guides

As you’ve learned here, style guides like the Bluebook keep writing clear and understandable. They standardize writing conventions to avoid miscommunication. If you’d like to learn more about legal writing, check out an article that features a list of common legal abbreviations.

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