Law School Public Documents Style Guide

Last updated 2/24/2014

Use entries in this stylebook when writing about USD School of Law. Refer to the University of San Diego stylebook (pdf) and the Associated Press stylebook for additional guidelines.

Submit changes or comments to this style guide.

academic degrees
The preferred style is to avoid abbreviation and to spell out degrees whenever possible. Example: John Jones, who has a Juris Doctor, remarked on the bill’s impending doom. Use an apostrophe when spelling out degrees. Examples: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree. Use abbreviations without periods—such as AB, BA, MA, MS, MBA, JD, LLB, LLM, DPhil, and PhD—when the preferred form is cumbersome. Use the word degree after the abbreviation. Example: Brenda has a JD degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. On occasion it may also be appropriate to use formal names of degrees. Example: Michael White received his Master of Law in taxation in 2002.
  • "JD" is the abbreviation for Juris Doctor. "Juris Doctorate" is incorrect.
  • "LLM "is the abbreviation for Master of Laws.
  • "MS in Legal Studies" is the abbreviation for Master of Science in Legal Studies. Do not use "MSLS."
academic departments
Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives: the department of history, the history department, the department of English, the English department, or when department is part of the official and formal name: University of Connecticut Department of Economics.
academic titles
Unless it is an endowed or named professorship, capitalize only when the title directly precedes the name of the person or in headlines, otherwise lowercase. Examples: (1) Corwin Davidson is a professor of law and economics at the University of Valhalla. (2) Professor of Law and Economics Corwin Davidson teaches and writes at the University of Valhalla. (3) Corwin Davidson, the Joan E. Bowes Professor of Law at the University of Valhalla, teaches and writes in the areas of law and economics.
alignment of text
Headline and body text (except for numbered columns for accounting purposes) should be left-aligned, especially in email and on websites. Center-aligned text for <h1> headers in HTML emails are acceptable, but body area headlines starting with <h2> must be left-aligned. Reason: HTML emails render differently in various email programs. Center-aligned text is more difficult to predict.
alumnus/alumna
USD School of Law does not use the informal word “alum.” Alumnus is used for a singular male; alumna for a singular female. Alumni is used for plural, no matter the sex.
a.m. and p.m.
Periods after both initials with a space between the number and the designation. 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. are correct. 9:00 a.m. is incorrect. Also incorrect: 9am or 9 am. Write 8 to 10 a.m. rather than 8-10 a.m.
ampersand (&)
Used only in official titles of centers and institutes, journals, schools, buildings, student organizations, or symposia/workshops. Do not use in course titles or everyday language.
BARBRI
All caps, no slash or hyphen.
Bluebook
A uniform system of citation used by all scholarly journals that was compiled by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal. USD School of Law uses Bluebook guidelines in its four published journals. USD School of Law does not use Bluebook guidelines for publications that have a general audience. See citation for more information on public documents.
CA Bar Exam
The State Bar of California examination.
CAI
Children’s Advocacy Institute
CEL Symposium
San Diego Climate & Energy Law Symposium (annual symposium sponsored by the Energy Policy and Initiatives Center and the Journal of Climate & Energy Law)
citation
To avoid confusion to members of the public not familiar with legal abbreviations, the law school uses a variation of the Bluebook standards when citing published works in a news article or list within a brochure. For journal articles, the title of the article is placed in quotes, followed by the word in and then the volume number, the name of the publication is spelled out and italicized—rather than abbreviated and placed in small caps, followed by the starting page number. Co-authors are noted in parentheses first, and then the year of publication is placed in a separate set of parentheses. Example: Professor Alexander's article "'Moore or Less' Causation and Responsibility" was published in 6 Criminal Law & Philosophy 81 (with Ferzan) (2012). Bluebook standards are followed for all journals published by the law school.
class year
Use the last two numbers in the class year preceded by an apostrophe pointing away from the number. Add the degree abbreviation in parentheses after. Set off information using commas in body text. No commas required in headlines. Example: Janet Madden, ’84 (JD), is an academic service advisor at USD School of Law.
If alumni have more than one degree from USD, list all degrees chronologically. Example: USD Law Alumni Board Member Marty B. Lorenzo, ’93 (BA), ’96 (JD), a member of the corporate and securities section of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C., has been named a 2012-13 Rainmaker by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA).
course titles
When written within a sentence, course titles are always lowercase. Only used uppercase when courses are listed separately or in a headline.
CCSL
Center for Corporate and Securities Law
CIPLM
Center for Intellectual Property Law & Markets (use ampersand)
commas
In complete sentences, use the Oxford comma to clarify confusion or to set off the final item in a series of dissimilar groupings.  Example 1 [comma required]: I went to the lecture with two professors, the dean, and Justice Scalia.  Example 2 [no comma required]: I purchased apples, oranges and pears.
court names
Capitalize the full proper names of courts at all levels. Retain capitalization if U.S. or a state name is dropped: the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, the state Superior Court, the Superior Court, Superior Court. For courts identified by a numeral: 2nd District Court, 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
CPIL
Center for Public Interest Law
CSCO
Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism
dates
When including dates in paragraph copy on websites or in print materials, write out the full date. Do not use the day ordinal. Example: We awoke to a quiet sky on September 12, 2001. Use the three- or four-letter abbreviation for months in headlines: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. Do not include the year in the date unless the date is not in the current year (with one exception: in a publication that covers a time period of more than one year).
department titles (at USD School of Law)
  • Budget & Administration
  • Law School Communications
  • Law School Registrar
  • Law Student Affairs
  • Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Office of Alumni Relations and Development
  • Office of Career and Professional Development
  • Office of Graduate and International Programs
  • Office of the Dean
email
One word, no hyphen. When providing your email address in letters or on websites, use @sandiego.edu rather than @SanDiego.edu.
EPIC
Energy Policy Initiatives Center
full-time
Lowercase "t" after the hyphen unless used in a headline or website navigation.
Honorable
An honorific used by others to address an active or retired judge, justice or elected official. A judge, justice or elected official does not use the term to describe him/herself, therefore it is not used in a signature block. Use the abbreviation of Hon. only in headlines, photo captions, addressed envelopes, guest lists, or seating placards. Within a written article, used only for the first mention of the name; the full name is stated after the honorific. Example: Dean Rodriguez introduced the keynote speaker, the Honorable John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Use Judge or Justice with only the last name thereafter. Example: Justice Roberts addressed the audience of students, faculty, staff and administrators. When addressing two judges, use the honorific twice and order the judges by rank. Example: Brandon clerked for the Honorable Antonin Scalia, United States Supreme Court, and the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
ILJ
San Diego International Law Journal
ILP
Institute for Law & Philosophy (use ampersand)
ILR
Institute for Law & Religion (use ampersand)
JCEL
San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law (use ampersand and italicize)
JCLI
The Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues
JD
Abbreviation for Juris Doctor. Do not use periods; use the word degree after the abbreviation. Example: She received her JD degree in 2010.
judge
Capitalize before a name when it is the formal title for an individual who presides in a court of law. Do not continue to use the title in second reference. Do not use court as part of the title unless confusion would result without it:
–No court in the title: U.S. District Judge John Bates, District Judge John Bates, federal Judge John Bates, Judge John Bates, U.S. Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen, appellate Judge Priscilla Owen.
–Court needed in the title: Juvenile Court Judge John Jones, Criminal Court Judge John Jones, Superior Court Judge Robert Harrison, state Supreme Court Judge William Cushing.
When the formal title chief judge is relevant, put the court name after the judge's name: Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.; Chief Judge Karen J. Williams of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Do not pile up long court names before the name of a judge. Make it Judge John Smith of Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. Not: Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge John Smith. Lowercase judge as an occupational designation in phrases such as contest judge Simon Cowell.
judge advocate
The plural: judge advocates. Also: judge advocate general , judge advocates general. Capitalize as a formal title before a name. See titles.
judicial branch
Always lowercase. The federal court system that exists today as the outgrowth of Article 3 of the Constitution is composed of the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and the U.S. Customs Court. There are also four district judges for U.S. territories. U.S. bankruptcy and magistrate judges are fixed-term judges serving in U.S. District Courts. Magistrate judges are generalist judges who preside in cases referred from U.S. district judges. Bankruptcy judges are specialized judges whose authority is restricted to bankruptcy issues. The U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals for the Armed Forces are not part of the judicial branch as such.
justice
Capitalize before a name when it is the formal title. It is the formal title for members of the U.S. Supreme Court and for jurists on some state courts. In such cases, do not use judge in first or subsequent references.
legislative titles
Use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses. Spell out other legislative titles in all uses. Capitalize formal titles such as assemblyman, assemblywoman, city councilor, delegate, etc., when they are used before a name. Lowercase in other uses. Add U.S. or state before a title only if necessary to avoid confusion: U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska now has a Republican primary opponent, state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux of Kodiak. See AP Style Book for more information.
LLB
Abbreviation for Bachelor of Laws. Do not use periods; use the word degree after the abbreviation.
LLM
Abbreviation for Master of Laws. Do not use periods; use the word degree after the abbreviation. Concentrations do not qualify in the abbreviations. Use the full concentration name after the abbreviation. Example: She received her LLM degree in taxation in 2010. (taxation is not capitalized)
midnight
Do not put a 12 in front of it. It is part of the day that is ending, not the one that is beginning.
 
MS degree in legal studies
Abbreviation for Masters of Science in Legal Studies. Do not use periods; use the word degree after the abbreviation. Do not use MSLS. Example: She received her MS degree in legal studies in 2010.
noon
Do not put a 12 in front of it.
numbers
Write out numbers one through nine; use Arabic numerals for 10 and above.
ordinals
Write out ordinals first through ninth; use Arabic ordinals for 10th and above.
Oxford comma
See commas.
part-time
Lowercase "t" after the hyphen unless used in a headline or website navigation.
phone numbers
Use parentheses around the area code, space, exchange, hyphen, and number. Example: (619) 260-4097  We do this in email in order for smart phones to automatically build a callable link.
p.m. and a.m.
Periods after both initials with a space between the number and the designation. 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. are correct. 7:00 p.m. is incorrect. Also incorrect: 7pm or 7 pm. Write 4 to 6 p.m. rather than 4-6 p.m.
professional titles
Capitalize only when the title directly precedes the name of the person or in headlines, otherwise lowercase. Examples: (1) Blade Jetsam is the president at the law firm of Leedham & Jetsam. (2) President Blade Jetsam leads the intellectual property law division.
radio program titles
Use quotes around radio program titles. She listened to "Midday Edition" on KPBS during her lunch hour.
SDLR
San Diego Law Review (italicize)
Supreme Court of the United States
Capitalize U.S. Supreme Court and also the Supreme Court when the context makes the U.S. designation unnecessary. The chief justice is properly the chief justice of the United States, not of the Supreme Court: Chief Justice John Roberts. The proper title for the eight other members of the court is associate justice. When used as a formal title before a name, it should be shortened to justice unless there are special circumstances: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
state abbreviations
Following are the state abbreviations, which also appear in the entries for each state (postal code abbreviations in parentheses):
List of states and their appropriate abbreviations
  Ala. (AL) Fla. (FL) Md. (MD) Neb. (NE) N.D. (ND) Tenn. (TN)
  Ariz. (AZ) Ga. (GA) Mass. (MA) Nev. (NV) Okla. (OK) Vt. (VT)
  Ark. (AR) Ill. (IL) Mich. (MI) N.H. (NH) Ore. (OR) Va. (VA)
  Calif. (CA) Ind. (IN) Minn. (MN) N.J. (NJ) Pa. (PA) Wash. (WA)
  Colo. (CO) Kan. (KS) Miss. (MS) N.M. (NM) R.I. (RI) W.Va. (WV)
  Conn. (CT) Ky. (KY) Mo. (MO) N.Y. (NY) S.C. (SC) Wis. (WI)
  Del. (DE) La. (LA) Mont. (MT) N.C. (NC) S.D. (SD) Wyo. (WY)
Postal code abbreviations for the eight states that are not abbreviated in datelines or text are: AK (Alaska), HI (Hawaii), ID (Idaho), IA (Iowa), ME (Maine), OH (Ohio), TX (Texas), UT (Utah). Also: District of Columbia (DC). Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations only with full addresses, including ZIP code.
television program titles
Use quotes around television program titles. He watched "Through the Wormhole" on the National Geographic Channel last night.
text alignment
Headline and body text (except for numbered columns for accounting purposes) should be left-aligned, especially in email and on websites. Center-aligned text for <h1> headers in HTML emails are acceptable, but body area headlines starting with <h2> must be left-aligned. Reason: HTML emails render differently in various email programs. Center-aligned text is more difficult to predict.
time
Always use noon and midnight. 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. are correct. 7:00 p.m. is incorrect. Also incorrect: 7pm or 7 pm. Write 4 to 6 p.m. rather than 4-6 p.m.
titles
In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual's name. Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with an individual's name: The president issued a statement. The pope gave his blessing. Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from a name by commas: The vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, declined to run again. Pope Benedict XVI, the current pope, does not plan to retire. See AP Style Book for more information.
underlines
Underlines are no longer used to denote book titles and should not be used in headers or for emphasis in written material that will appear on the Internet or in an email. Underlines denote hyperlinked text, and readers will believe a link is broken if there is no redirect when clicking on the underlined text. For book titles, use italics. For emphasis, use bold or italicized text.
University of San Diego (USD) School of Law
Use on first mention. Use USD or USD School of Law or law school thereafter. We do not refer to the school as USD Law or USD Law School.
U.S.
The abbreviation is acceptable as a noun or adjective for United States. In headlines, it's US (no periods).
Web
Short form of World Wide Web, it is a service, or set of standards, that enables the publishing of multimedia documents on the Internet. The Web is not the same as the Internet, but is a subset; other applications, such as email, exist on the Internet. It is generally credited as the concept of researcher Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the first practical system in 1989.
web page
A location on the World Wide Web. Two words, with a space in between.
website
A location on the World Wide Web that maintains one or more pages at a specific address. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the Web, web page and web feed.
The Writs
Student study and gathering area in the basement of Warren Hall. Always capitalize both words The Writs.
ZIP code
Use all-caps ZIP for Zoning Improvement Plan, but always lowercase the word code.

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Phone: (619) 260-4207
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