Wiki Law School:Manual of style

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This is a general guideline for the creation, editing, and formatting of Wiki Law School pages. This guideline will be a work in progress as all contributors experiment to find the most useful styles and formats. As contributors decide on more specific guidelines, this article should be edited to reflect those decisions in order to achieve uniformity throughout the wiki. To talk with others about desired changes, visit the talk page by clicking the discussion tab at the top of this page.

The goal of this manual is to encourage uniformity and understandability. However, we should be careful to not create too many guidelines and instructions; such may discourage people from participating.

Types of Articles[edit | edit source]

This web site will generally consist of legal topical outlines, articles about law schools, case briefs, and articles about law professors. The default jurisdictions focused upon will be in the U.S., but jurisdiction-specific outlines for any jurisdiction are allowed and encouraged.

Outlines[edit | edit source]

The outlines consist of several types of outlines:

  • General outlines
  • Short outlines
  • Text-specific outlines
  • Jurisdiction-specific outlines
  • Class-specific outlines

All outlines should be of a theoretical nature, insofar as the subject matter allows. Outlines that may be used by law students and law practitioners in all U.S. jurisdictions are preferred over jurisdiction-, class-, or professor-specific outlines.

Outlines should not contain detailed descriptions of any cases, but contain cross-links to case briefs in the wiki for important cases.

The layout of a good outline will generally follow the organization of a table of contents of a text for that topic. A good tip in creating an outline from scratch: type in the table of contents from your text book, save the article, then go back and fill out each section. Use headings and subheadings for organization. (See Help:Formatting).

General Outlines[edit | edit source]

General outlines should be comprehensive and contain all information relevant to the legal topic. The legal topics should relate to U.S. laws.

General outlines should be categorized in the General Outlines category. This is done by inserting "[[Category:General Outlines]]" at the end of the outline.

The title should reflect only the legal topic discussed.

Short Outlines[edit | edit source]

Short outlines should be no more than thee pages in length (if on paper), and preferably only a single page. They should be viewed as more of a "cheat sheet" with abbreviations, etc. to help students remember the material at a glance. The legal topics should relate to U.S. laws.

Short outlines should be categorized in the Short Outlines category. This is done by inserting "[[Category:Short Outlines]]" at the tail end of the outline.

Short outlines should be titled with a name that corresponds to that legal topic's general outline, but with "(short outline)" added after.

General and short outlines for the same subject should link to the same case briefs and should cross-link to each other.

Text-Specific Outlines[edit | edit source]

This category is for outlines that are keyed to a specific casebook. These outlines should follow the content of the casebook.

Text-specific outlines should be categorized in the Category:Text-Specific Outlines category. This is done by inserting "[[Category:Text-Specific Outlines]]" at the tail end of the outline.

The Text-Specific Outline Infobox template should be used by following the directions on that template's page.

Case briefs for each case named in the text should be linked from within the outline.

Text-specific outlines should be titled with a name that corresponds to that legal topic's general outline followed by the first-listed author. For example, "Civil Procedure Ides."

Jurisdiction-Specific Outlines[edit | edit source]

This category is self-explanatory. General outlines are preferred over outlines that are specific to any one jurisdiction. However, some students in certain jurisdictions may need to have such an outline. Students and practitioners from any jurisdiction in the world are welcome and encouraged to create outlines for their specific jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction-specific outlines should be categorized in the Jurisdiction-Specific Outlines category. This is done by inserting "[[Category:Jurisdiction-Specific Outlines]]" at the tail end of the outline. If the outline is also a short outline, categorize it into both appropriate categories by adding both category identifier tags.

Jurisdiction-specific outlines should be titled with a name that corresponds to that legal topic's general outline, but with the jurisdiction indicator ("NY State") added after. For example, "Property NY State."

The jurisdiction indicator should be selected that reduces confusion with other jurisdictions. The indicator should be uniformly used by all outlines dealing with that jurisdiction. If the jurisdiction is a state, the word "State" should be used as above to prevent confusion.

Jurisdiction-specific outlines should link to the corresponding non-jurisdiction specific general and short outlines, but the generic outlines should not link to jurisdiction-specific outlines.

Class-Specific Outlines[edit | edit source]

This category is for students preparing for a specific class and professor.

Class-specific outlines should be categorized in the Class-Specific Outlines category. This is done by inserting "[[Category:Class-Specific Outlines]]" at the tail end of the outline. The Class-Specific Outline Infobox template should be used by following the directions on that template's page.

If the outline is also a jurisdiction-specific or short outline, categorize it into all appropriate categories by adding any relevant category identifier tags.

Titles to class-specific outlines should follow the general patterns established above, with the school identifier (using the appropriate school nickname found in Law School Nicknames, then the professor's last name, then the subject matter as the outline title. For example, if an outline was for Constitutional Law taught by Robert D. Goldstein at the UCLA School of Law, the title of that outline would be "UCLA Goldstein Constitutional Law." If multiple professors at a school share the same last name and teach subjects in common, a first initial should precede the professor's last name.

Class-specific outlines should be linked to more-generic outlines, but not the other way around.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Law School Articles[edit | edit source]

These articles may contain any information deemed useful for potential law students, current students, or alumni of a law school. The Law School Infobox template should be used by following the directions on that template's page.

Case Briefs[edit | edit source]

Seminal cases for any one topic should be included in its own article which will then be cross-referenced from the relevant outline(s).

Title of the Case Brief[edit | edit source]

The wiki page should be titled exactly how one would name the case in a citation following BlueBook rules (e.g. abbreviate terms, use proper spacing, etc.). This way, others will be able to find the brief you already started working on, and prevent duplication of work.

Infobox[edit | edit source]

The Case Brief Infobox template should be used by following the directions on that template's page. Inserting the case brief infobox template and filling in the subject field will insert the brief into the proper category according to which area of the law the case holds importance.

Filling out the other infobox fields will let others see important information about the case at a glance.

Case Brief[edit | edit source]

Include a summary and analysis of the case as would be prepared and useful in classroom discussion. Typically, the brief may include the following sections:

  • Facts
  • Procedural History
  • Issues
  • Decisions
  • Reasoning
  • Separate Opinions
  • Analysis

Redirects[edit | edit source]

Of less importance, create redirects from reporter citations that point to the case brief to ensure that others will find your brief and prevent duplication of effort (e.g., 304 U.S. 64 redirects to Erie R.R. v. Tompkins).

Links[edit | edit source]

If available, insert a link from the brief to the full text of the case on a free website such as Findlaw.

Law Professors[edit | edit source]

These articles include information about law school professors or deans. The content for each should be focused on information relevant to future or current students. The Professor Infobox template should be used by following the directions on that template's page.

Editing[edit | edit source]

While the end goal is to have a fully comprehensive, easy to understand outline covering every legal topic, this will not occur immediately. The idea of a wiki is that you improve a page however and wherever you are able. If everybody were to do even a litle contribution, all the little contributions will eventually result in a very good article.

Sentence Spacing[edit | edit source]

Put one space between sentences.