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A legal citation is simply a way to help you find the case, statute or article being referenced. Typically, the citation includes:
a volume number
the name of the case reporter, code, or journal
a page or section number
Here are some examples:
Citation: 550 U.S. 618, 127 S.Ct. 2162, 167 L.Ed.2d 982
Translation: Refers to case name Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. found in volume 550 of United States Reports, page 618. Parallel citations in volume 127 of the United States Supreme Court Reporter, page 2162, and volume 167 of US Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition, page 982.
Citation: 42 U.S.C. 12101
Translation: Title 42, United States Code, Section 12101
Citation: 54 Hastings L.J. 243
Translation: Volume 54, Hastings Law Journal, page 243