"Getting Your Cites in Order--

Citation programs check your cites and generate alphabetized and formatted tables of authorities.


An edited version of this article was originally published in Computer Counselor column of the June 1989 issue of the Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine.

Comments are generalizations and may not apply to every situation. It is advisable to consult with a competent professional before relying on any written commentary. Paul D. Supnik is a member of the State Bar of California and not of any other state or country. The material set forth herein is not for the purpose of soliciting any engagements where to do so would be to offend or violate the professional standards of any other state, country or bar. This web page Copyright 1989, 1996 by Paul D. Supnik

By: Paul D. Supnik
Summary:
The article reviews two programs by Jurisoft, CiteRite and Full Authority. CiteRite checks citations and sets out error messages. Full Authority generates alphabetized and formated table of authorities.

"Getting your Cites in Order--

Citation programs check your cites and generate alphabetized and formatted tables of authorities.

CiteRite and Full Authority are two programs which help you to learn do what most of us have never been interested in doing since and during law school -- citing properly and preparing tables of authorities. CiteRite and Full Authority are a must for litigators. Attorneys who have secretaries prepare everything in their motions will have happier secretaries. Briefs can be completed quicker -- perhaps even before the attorney service arrives. Attorneys who do their own work now make it possible to have citations checked rapidly without consuming nonproductive time. Judges and their law clerks will be pleased that more briefs include tables of authorities whether or not required by the local rules and with a greater likelihood of accuracy.

What is unique about both programs is that neither requires you to mark citations. Marking citations is a procedure in other programs whereby a delimiting symbol is manually placed at the beginning and end of the citation so that the computer will be able to identify what is a citation. Marking citations is time consuming and as a result, these programs save a considerable amount of time in this regard. The programs are both able to recognize most citations. A minor side effect associated with this ability is that some citations may be placed in the wrong category and certain test, such as underlined headings, are picked up as citations. However, that is a only a minor inconvenience.

The time savings is sufficiently great so that it is beneficial to use these programs despite the fact that your word processing program may already have a table of authorities generator. I, for example, have used the Table of Authorities generator in WordPerfect for a considerable period of time. It is good, but it takes tine to have citations marked. Then it takes additional time to generate the citations. The speed at which CiteRite and Full Authority works is considerably faster and uses less human input in creating the citations. CiteRite and Full Authority improve the quality of the citations that appear in your briefs, since they force you, and encourage you to use a uniform approach. The Table of Authorities program makes its own corrections for you, such as by consistently abbreviating particular words, expanding words that were abbreviated and underlining citations that were not underlined. The cost of these programs are reasonable. CiteRite lists for $169 which even includes a copy of the Blue Book; Full Authority sells for $129. My opinion is that they are well worth the cost, even for those who have word processing programs with table of authorities generators. If you have a choice, my suggestion would be to obtain Full Authority and then when you are convinced of its usefulness, then purchase a copy of CiteRite.

One benefit of CiteRite is that it frees you of inhibitions of writing citations. Type now, correct later is the resulting attitude. CiteRite points out errors in citations and it does a comprehensive job.

CiteRite is simple to use. Once the program is set up, the program scans the briefs, creating a new "error" file showing each cite found and listing any errors. You then can either print out the error file listing the citations and errors, or bring the errors up on your word processor. If your word processor allows editing of multiple documents, you correct the file in one window, while the citation errors are shown in the other window. Even if the word processor that you are using does not support multiple document editing, you still can have the CiteRite error display appear along with the brief being corrected in the word processing program by using a special resident TSR utility program that comes with CiteRite.(1)

CiteRite goes into great detail in determining and showing the problems with your cites and telling you the rules. For example, you are shown that there must be one space between "F." and "Supp." If you put a comma after a case name and before the citation, you are chastised.

While CiteRite will not determine whether the page you cited is accurate, it does have built in rules so that if you cite volume 2001 of Fed. Supp., it will let you know that the volume is out of range, and you have listed the wrong volume. How many briefs have you read and tried to obtain a citation only to find that the volume was incorrect? This might not catch most errors but it may catch a few.

CiteRite helps develop good habits in standardizing the manner in which citations are used, since as you see suggested corrections a number of times in the context of matters you working on, the correct citation format is reinforced. That assumes that you have a strong desire to maintain good form as well as substance. However, more significantly, working in a standardized manner tends to make using citations less burdensome.

CiteRite is compatible with a variety of the popular word processing programs such as Wordstar, Wordperfect, Microsoft Word, DisplayWrite, MultiMate and others. It can both read files in a variety of formats and write to files which are readable by those word processors. A menu screen is provided which gives the opportunity to select the word processor you wish to use. Generally, the manner in which the files are written are directly readable by the selected word processor.

When CiteRite is typed from the DOS prompt(2), a menu appears which allows you to either select a standard or preset option style. One style, for example, might be for Superior Court briefs, while the other might be for citations appropriate in federal cases.

The second menu selection from the opening menu is the "Document" selection. This allows you to specify the document to cite check, and the file to which the corrections are to be written by the computer. You are given the opportunity to speed up the process with keys which repeat the previous file names and view a directory of files if you have forgotten the name of the file.

The third selection from the opening menu is "Search". CiteRite allows you to select either the Blue Book format or the California citation format(3) You are given an opportunity to specify whether all cites are to be searched for or just cites which are recognized by the program. CiteRite also asks whether book titles are underlined. Book titles tend to be difficult for the program to find and identify and are more readily, thought not perfectly, identified if underlined.

A fifth option from the opening menu is "Preferences". Here, the type of word processor is selected, as well as underlining and various screen attributes.

The sixth and final option from the opening menu is "Go". By pressing "G", or moving the cursor to the "Go" option and pressing return, the program begins to check the cites in the brief file which has been selected from the "Document" option. On a 12 Mhz AT type computer, a 13 page brief was cite checked less than 20 seconds.

The error file is then viewed by using a word processor or by using the review only program of CiteRite. The error file created by the cite checking processor may also be printed out and the original document corrected by comparing the problems which are pointed out in the error sheets.

The error file shows all the cites which are found and are given a number. If the cite is correct, an "OK" appears beneath the cite. If there is an error in the cite, for each error, a "carat" appears showing the exact location where the error is found and is followed by a statement of what the error is or probably is. By way of example, the errors found may be in punctuation, in abbreviations, in underlining or in citation format.

To recheck the citations after initially create an error file, all that is necessary is to retype CITERITE ^R^R. By doing so, the same files are used and it takes only a moment to do so.

CiteRite also works in a memory resident mode, from which citations may be checked as they are typed. However, it is not a recommended mode of operation. The reason is that it requires about 200K of RAM memory. That may take more than many of the newer word processing programs leave available. Moreover, this interactive mode is not really necessary or so beneficial to be able to cite check since checking cites as they are originally written tends to slow down the writing process.

In addition to the memory resident interactive mode, there is a memory resident review mode which requires only 30K of ram. In that mode, it allows the program to be used, but only for review of errors in connection with your word processing program.

The program, while excellent, does have some minor problems or annoyances. The memory resident version takes up 197K of RAM and that is too much to be used with newer fully loaded word processors. But Jurisoft admits the problem and has partly overcome that difficulty by including the smaller memory resident "review only" version with the program which takes up only 30K. The smaller memory resident version can generally be used with most word processors to speed correction of the original document. However, the memory resident aspect of the program does not save that much time in correcting and this minor problem should not keep anyone from using the product.

The program is initially copy protected when purchased from third party vendors, unless it is purchased directly from Jurisoft. However, the copy protection can be unlocked readily by making a telephone call to Jurisoft.

The most annoying defect, but not a severe problem is that CiteRite generally recognizes underlined portions of a brief as citations. Thus, underlined headings of briefs appear as citations. The result can be a cluttered report file. The solution is to use bold, rather than underlined headings, or to simply cut out or ignore headings which are interpreted as being citations. A final minor problem is that if the version of the Blue Book which you have available is not the same as the version of CiteRite to which it is keyed(4), the references to specific subsections of the Blue Book in the error file to specify a Blue Book rule are not necessarily accurate. Of course if one using the program finds this as major concern, it may suggest that the person using the program is more likely to have a more serious problem than the program.

Full Authority extracts citations from your legal briefs, picking up actual pages as formatted by your word processor. The program automatically adds or removes underlining if not present and makes other corrections to the citations which are found. The table of authorities generated can either make comments about the changes which are made, for drafts, and can generate a table of authorities without comments for the final brief.

As with CiteRite, Full Authority has style options which allows you to save different formats in separate files. For example, you might have a format for Superior Court motions using the California style sheet and one for Federal Court motions using the Blue Book format of citations. Also, you may have a style sheet in which corrections to citations are reported for initial use, and a style sheet where any corrections to the citations are not reported.

As with CiteRite, to view a directory of files, it is not necessary to go back to DOS. By typing DIR within the program, it is possible to view the files that are in the directory. Thus, if you forget the exact name of the file on which your brief is located, you can find, though not view it, using this approach. Also, if you have previously created a table of authorities, revised the brief and now wish to create a revised table, it is only necessary to press ^R to bring the name of the previous file onto the screen. In the event no report file is specified, the report when generated will be displayed on the screen.

The program is usable with a variety of word processors such as WordPerfect, Wordstar and Microsoft Word. The particular type of word processor can be set up in a separate preferences menu and can be forgotten or changed at a later time, if you want.

Once preferences and styles are set up, it is only necessary to type GO or move to GO or type G and return and then the table of authorities is generated.

The opening menu categories list Action, Document, Search, Organize, Edit, Format, Preferences and Go. At the Action selection, one of four styles may be selected. Also you are given a choice of either preparing for creating a table of contents, or for amendment to the dictionary which lists the various reporters and signals (e.g. aff'd. or cert. denied).

The document category allows you to select the file to search, as in CiteRite and similarly provides shortcuts to writing file names and searching directories to find the file from which you want to generate a table of authorities.

The Search menu permits you to select what are considered to be appropriate types of citations and their format, that is California or Harvard Blue Book.

Organize permits you to determine whether the full form citations and short form citations (e.g. "as in the Smith case") should appear in the table. State and federal materials may be combined or placed in separate sections. "In re" cases can be alphabetized by the parties name or by In re. "People" cases can be alphabetized by the defendants name or by "People."

The Edit menu permits you to specify whether you want corrections made to the cites that appear in the table of authorities. The types of corrects that Full Authority will make include keeping or eliminating the case history, expanding abbreviations, fix incorrect abbreviations for reporters, and underline the case names.

"Format" allows you to select the appearance of the table. For example, it permits you to select double spacing, whether dot leaders are to be used in the talbe, the margins, and indents of second lines. The Format menu allows allows you to select whether case names are to be on a line separate from the rest of the citation.

Preferences determines the manner in which the program operates, such as the type of word processor, and whether the cites are to be underlined or italicized (if supported by the word processing program).

A template file is created and available which is keyed in to the specific type of word processor that you are using. Presumably, the template file can be modified to vary the style of the Table of Authorities, but no instructions for its modification are given.

As with CiteRite, Full Authority has difficulty in recognizing book titles, and tends to treat underlined materials as cites, rather than headings of sections of briefs.

In creating a table of authorities, the approach is generally to bring up the Full Authority program on the computer, select or modify the manner of search or use the preset style sheet, select the document to be scanned, and run the program. The result will be a file with a table of authorities. If acceptable, it can be imported through your word processor into the brief. If not acceptable, changes can be made to the citations in the brief and the program can be run again. Some minor clean up by the word processor may be necessary to take care of stray matter which is picked up as citations. The result is a quickly generated fully alphabetized, formatted and sorted table of authorities in the format you select.

These two programs are real time savers, work well and greatly simplify the preparation of legal briefs.

1. A resident TSR program, or a resident terminate and stay resident program is a program that may be accessed by your computer at the same time as another program which you are using without unloading the program from the computer.

2. The prompt is the "C>" that appears on the screen when the computer is turned on or a program is unloaded. It is often not visible when a menu program is used.

3. In the Harvard Blue Book citation format, case dates appear in parenthesis at the end of the cite after the volume, reporter and page reference, while in the California form, they appear immediately after the name of the case.

4. CiteRite even comes with a copy of the Blue Book.