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How to Cite a Legal Brief in MLA Format


Occasionally, you may need to cite legal cases to support your own argument within your essay. This gives your argument greater authenticity and shows you are driven by research. To cite a legal brief according to Modern Language Association style, be aware of its unique format.

In-text Citations

For in-text citations, you have the option of referring to specific cases in parentheses or by mentioning them in the text itself. You must capitalize the name of the case in all instances.

Example 1: In Brown vs. The Board of Education, the court determined… Example 2: The court’s decision (Brown vs. the Board of Education)…

You must still indicate a specific page number if you are quoting from a page of a printed or reprinted document.

Example:

The court’s decision (Brown vs. the Board of Education 186) was…

Works Cited

For your Works Cited page, you must use the following format: Plaintiff vs. Defendant, U.S. Reports Citation, Page Numbers (if available), name of the court, year of the decision, reprint information (if available) and format type.

Example of citing above case:

Brown v. Board of Education. 347 U.S. 483. U.S. Supreme Court. 1954. Lawnix. Web.

About the Author

Dr. Chris Snellgrove is a writing specialist, and a veteran of everything from a book-length dissertation to a newspaper editor's desk. He has produced work for academic, business, creative, and non-profit endeavors.

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