Anyone writing content for the Law School’s website or design products can consult this Editorial Style Guide from NYU Law's Office of Communications for answers to commonly asked questions about capitalization, punctuation, terminology, and other elements of written style.
For an overview of event promotion materials and other design products for which you might be creating content, see the Design Projects Guide.
The Basics: What You Need to Know
How to refer to the Law School
First use: New York University School of Law, NYU School of Law, or NYU Law. After that, you can also use the Law School.
How to write numbers in your text
Spell out one to nine. Use numerals for 10 and higher.
How to write abbreviations
No periods in abbreviations or degrees. We use US, the UN, the UK, the EU, and Washington, DC; and JD, LLM, JSD, and PhD.
Use periods in a.m. and p.m., and use an en-dash to designate a time span (for example: 1:00–2:00 p.m.).
When to capitalize titles
Only capitalize a title that appears before a person’s name, as in Dean Trevor Morrison. Titles that appear after a name are not capitalized, as in Trevor Morrison, dean of NYU School of Law.
People, Places, and Organizations
Here's how to write the names of centers and institutes, courses, places, outside organizations, publications, and identity groups; professional titles; and abbreviations and acronyms.
Correct Incorrect Explanation New York University School of Law, NYU School of Law, NYU Law New York University Law School, NYU Law School Each of these formulations is acceptable as a first reference to the school. For subsequent references, “the Law School” is also acceptable. Center for Human Rights and Global Justice center for human rights and global justice Capitalize complete names of NYU School of Law centers, institutes, programs, and projects. the center, the institute, the program, the project... the Center will hold a conference... On second and subsequent references (after full name is used), use lowercase. Colloquium on Constitutional Theory colloquium on constitutional theory Capitalize formal names. There are several faculty advisers at the Reiss Center on Law and Security. There are several faculty advisers at The Reiss Center on Law and Security. A “the” preceding an organization’s or department’s name, even when part of the official title, is lowercased in running text. colloquium, seminar, fellowships Colloquium, Seminar, Fellowships On second and subsequent references (after full name is used), use lowercase. Professor Jeanne Fromer
President Joe Biden
Dean Trevor Morrison
professor Jeanne Fromer
president Joe Biden
dean Trevor Morrison
Titles immediately preceding names with no intervening comma are capitalized. Justice Neil Gorsuch
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Ambassador Lisa Kenna
The Honorable Neil Gorsuch
Hon. Kirsten Gillibrand
Honorable Lisa Kenna
Use specific titles such as “Justice,” “Senator,” or “Ambassador” on first reference, rather than honorifics. Ryan Bubb, professor of law
Ryan Bubb, Professor of Law
Titles following names, separated by comma from the name, or alone in the text are lowercased. Roderick Hills Jr. Roderick Hills, Jr. Commas are unnecessary before Jr., Sr., III, etc. in names. Root-Tilden-Kern Scholars
Arthur Garfield Hays Fellow
Arthur Garfield Hays fellow
Capitalize “scholar” or “fellow” when part of complete name. fellow, scholars Fellow, Scholars Lowercase on second reference or when used alone in text. Lewis Kornhauser, Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law Lewis Kornhauser, the Frank Henry Sommer professor of law Chaired professor titles are always capitalized; a preceding “the” is unnecessary when titles are set off by commas following the name. Kirkland & Ellis
Journal of Law & Liberty
Kirkland and Ellis LLP
Journal of Law and Liberty
Use ampersands when part of the official entity name; leave off LLP, Inc., etc. after law firm names. Institute for International Law and Justice Institute for International Law & Justice Avoid ampersands in all other uses (except for hyperlinks on the Web). Legislation and the Regulatory State [law course] legislation and the regulatory state Names of courses are capitalized (but quotation marks are not necessary). Mergers and Acquisitions
M & A
Course names are spelled out. public interest law Public Interest Law Areas of study are lowercase. In the New York Times In The New York Times In titles of newspapers, magazines, and journals, “the” is neither capitalized nor italicized. My favorite online venues are Just Security and Amazon.com. My favorite online venues are Just Security and Amazon.com. Blog and web-based periodical titles are italicized; the names of ordinary websites are in title case and regular type.
Correct Incorrect Explanation NYU, PILC, LRAP, BALSA N.Y.U., P.I.L.C., L.R.A.P. NYU-specific acronyms and abbreviations do not require periods. Black Allied Law Students Association (BALSA) BALSA (Black Allied Law Students Association) Use the full name of the organization on first reference, followed by an acronym or initialism in parentheses; subsequent mentions should be the acronym or initialism. NATO, CUNY, AIDS N.A.T.O., C.U.N.Y., A.I.D.S. Omit periods in acronyms. CNN, PBS, NBC, FCC, FBI, PTA, US, UN, EU, DC, EC C.N.N., P.B.S., N.B.C., F.C.C., F.B.I., P.T.A., U.S., U.N., E.U., D.C., E.C. Omit periods in abbreviations.
Correct Incorrect Explanation Professor Jeanne Fromer Prof. Jeanne Fromer Faculty titles are spelled out. NYU School of Law Professor Jeanne Fromer NYU Law School Professor Jeanne Fromer Use the correct nomenclature for the school. Professor Jeanne Fromer, NYU School of Law Professor Jeanne Fromer, NYU Law School Use the correct nomenclature for the school.
- Identity Groups
Correct Incorrect Explanation African American, Italian American, Chinese American African-American, Italian-American, Chinese-American Whether used as a noun or as an adjective, terms for compound nationalities do not need a hyphen. Black black When referring to racial identity, capitalize “Black.” disabled; person with a disability differently abled, handicapped The use of identity-first language (i.e., "disabled person," "autistic person") helps center a person's disability as core to their identity and experience in an ableist society. Person-first language (i.e., "person with autism") eliminates generalizations and stereotypes by focusing on the person rather than the disability. Both are correct, although disabled communities are increasingly advocating for identity-first language as the standard. When working with individuals, defer to their preferred language. Indigenous indigenous Capitalize this term when referring to native peoples. Latinx; Latinxs Latino, Latina; Latinos, Latinas Use the gender-neutral form. LGBTQ LGBT, GLBT, gay and lesbian Use “LGBTQ” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning) as the inclusive umbrella term for non-heterosexual orientation and non-cisgender identity. transgender transgendered; transsexual “Transgendered” is grammatically incorrect; “transsexual” is an obsolete term. “Transgender” is an adjective, not a noun. For individuals of any gender, ask for and defer to their correct gender pronouns. woman lawyer; women lawyers; women in the profession female lawyer; female lawyers; females in the profession When referring to people, avoid using “female” or “females.” “Woman” or “women” is the preferred usage, both as a noun and as an adjective.
Correct Incorrect Explanation Vanderbilt Hall, Room 218 Vanderbilt 218
Van Hall, Room 218
Van Hall 218
Room 218, Vanderbilt Hall
Incomplete (needs "Hall" and room number). Proper order is building first, then room.
The building's name is spelled out.
The building's name is spelled out, and "Room" is necessary.
D’Agostino Hall, Lipton Hall Lipton Hall Include the building's name for clarity. Vanderbilt Hall, Snow Dining Room Snow, Vanderbilt Hall Use the location's complete name; building first, room second. D’Agostino Hall D’Agastino Hall Correct spelling. Greenberg Lounge Greenburg Lounge Correct spelling. Tishman Auditorium Tischman Auditorium Correct spelling. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Student Café First Floor Refer to room by its name rather than its location. Hauser Global Law Center Third Floor Refer to room by its name rather than its location. Lester Pollack Colloquium Room Ninth Floor Refer to room by its name rather than its location.
“When” is important. Learn the correct way to write times, dates, and the names of seasons and semesters.
Correct Incorrect Explanation 1:00–2:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
An en-dash should be used between two times in a timespan, and not a hyphen. Spaces do not appear before or after the en-dash. Periods should be used in a.m. and p.m., which are always lowercase. Minutes after the hour should always be included. If both times in a timespan are either before or after noon (e.g., 10:00-11:00 a.m.), a.m. or p.m. should appear only once. 12:00 a.m.
Use 12:00 for midnight or noon so that time formats are uniform.
Correct Incorrect Explanation 2021–22
An en-dash without surrounding spaces is used, rather than a slash. The second year in a range can be abbreviated.
The first year in a span is not abbreviated.
The first year in a span is not abbreviated; abbreviated years appear without apostrophes.
September 15 September 15th Numbers in dates do not require –th, -st, -rd, etc. September 15, 2021 Sept. 15, 2021 Months are spelled out. September 2021 September, 2021 Months followed by years do not require commas. 9/11
9-11, 9—11, September 11th When referring to “nine eleven” as an event, use the numerals separated by a forward slash.
Also, you can use the spelled-out date, September 11, when referring to the day itself, but without “th.”
Correct Incorrect Explanation Fall 2021, Spring 2022 fall 2021, spring 2022 When referring to semesters, capitalize. Spring semester Spring Semester, spring semester Capitalize when referring to which semester, but not the word "semester." fall, spring, winter, and summer Fall, Spring, Winter, and Summer When referring just to seasons, use lowercase.
Punctuation and Capitalization
First, the answer to a question many people ask: yes, we do use serial commas. Read on for more about our style guidelines for NYU Law degrees and class years, numbers, and legal terminology.
Correct Incorrect Explanation 2021–22 2021 - 22 Use an en-dash without spaces. NYU Law–related matters NYU Law-related matters, NYU-Law-related matters For compound adjectives directly preceding the noun they modify, use one en-dash after the last word of the adjective rather than a hyphen or hyphens. "In such situations, tribunals often rely on red flags…. Corruption may be proven through circumstantial evidence." . …
An ellipsis at the end of a declarative sentence is preceded by a period; the period is not followed by a space. — [em dash] -- [double hyphens] Typographical error.
- Serial Commas/Semicolons
Correct Incorrect Explanation outstanding research, publications, and accomplishments outstanding research, publications and accomplishments Use a comma before the last item in a series (serial comma, aka Oxford comma). He has been published in the journals the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and the New York University Law Review; the book Lawyers Bleed, Too; and the newspapers the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has been published in the journals the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and the New York University Law Review; the book Lawyers Bleed, Too, and the newspapers the New York Times and the Washington Post. When you have serial semicolons, the last clause should be separated with a semicolon rather than a comma.
- Degrees/Class Years
Correct Incorrect Explanation JD, LLM, PhD, MBA, BA J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., M.B.A., B.A. Degrees do not require periods. LLM CJ LLM-CJ / MCJ or LLM (CJ) The old “MCJ” program is referenced only in connection with alumni who received that specific degree. master’s degree, bachelor’s degree Masters degree, bachelors degree Keep the degree in lowercase, and use an apostrophe. Jordan Doe ’78 Jordan Doe, 1978
Jordan Doe (’78)
Used for JD graduation class year, without parentheses; make sure that apostrophe’s tail is pointing left rather than right. Jordan Doe LLM ’79 Jordan Doe (LL.M. ’79) The degree name does not require parentheses or periods. Jordan Doe ’78, LLM ’79 Jordan Doe ’78 (LL.M. ’79) When a graduate has both a JD and another law degree, separate the degrees with a comma. Jordan Doe ’54 Jordan Doe LLB ’54 The old LLB degree, discontinued decades ago, is treated the same as a JD degree. Inez Milholland (1912); Filomen D’Agostino Greenberg (1920) Inez Milholland ’12; Filomen D’Agostino Greenberg ’20 To avoid confusion, for alumni who graduated 95 or more years ago, use the full graduation year in parentheses immediately following their name.
Correct Incorrect Explanation one, nine, 10, 11,…
first, second, 10th, 21st
1, 9, ten, eleven
1st, 2nd, tenth, twenty-first
Spell out numbers from one to nine; use numerals for numbers 10 and higher. 1,250
Use commas in numbers containing four or more digits. Twenty-nine exams were given. 29 exams were given. At the beginning of a sentence, always spell out numbers. 75 percent 75% Spell out “percent.”
Correct Incorrect Explanation (212) 998-6000 212-998-6000 Use the complete phone number and not just the extension. Put the area code in parentheses.
- Legal Terms
Correct Incorrect Explanation e.g., i.e. e.g., i.e. Latin words and phrases commonly used in US legal writing do not need to be italicized. amicus curiae amicus curiae The term does not need italics. jurisprudence juris prudence
US Supreme Court
the Court [referring to the U.S. Supreme Court]
U.S. supreme court
Capitalize full name.
On second and subsequent references, capitalize.
the court the Court Lowercase references to all courts except the US Supreme Court on second and subsequent references. US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit US court of appeals for the third circuit Capitalize full name of court. US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Spell out “District of Columbia” on first reference; in subsequent references, writing simply “the DC Circuit” is fine. Third Circuit 3rd Circuit Spell out the ordinal number; full name of court is used on first reference, but in subsequent references, writing simply “the Third Circuit” is fine. the Chief Justice of the United States… Chief Justice; chief justice; Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts When describing the position (not as a title) in general, use full title on the first reference and capitalize.
- Common Terms
Correct Incorrect Explanation advisor adviser Preferred spelling. antidiscrimination anti-discrimination The word does not need a hyphen. co-editor, co-director, co-sponsor coeditor, codirector, cosponsor Hyphenate after “co.” COVID-19, COVID Covid-19, Covid Preferred capitalization. curriculum vitae curriculum vitae This phrase is not italicized; it can be abbreviated as “CV.” first-come, first-served first-come, first-serve Incorrect grammar. forums fora Preferred spelling for the plural of "forum." full-time, part-time fulltime, parttime Incorrect grammar. health care healthcare Two words. information info.; info The word is spelled out. nonprofit non-profit The word does not need a hyphen. not-for-profit not for profit Hyphenated. reentry re-entry The word does not need a hyphen. résumé, café resume, cafe Missing accents. RSVP R.S.V.P. The abbreviation does not need periods. start-up startup Hyphenated. the United Nations the UN Spell out United Nations on first reference; subsequent references can be to the UN. the US government the United States government When used as an adjective, United States can be abbreviated as US. US Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court, in the US, in the United States N/A On first and subsequent references, both “US” and “United States” are acceptable as either an adjective or a noun, although the traditional preference is to use “US” as an adjective and “United States” as a noun.
- Web Text
Correct Incorrect Explanation email@example.com
Email addresses do not need greater-than and less-than signs.
Email addresses do not need parentheses.
Capital letters are not necessary in email addresses.
When the URL begins with www, http:// is not required. Use www when it is part of the URL.
URLs do not need greater-than and less-than signs.
URLs do not need parentheses.
The URL should be all lowercase.
cyberattack, cybersecurity, cyberwarfare cyber attack, cyber-attack Terms with the “cyber” prefix are one word, unhyphenated. domain name Domain Name Lowercase. The word does not need a hyphen. email list Listserv Listserv is the name of a company and does not apply universally to email lists. Ethernet ethernet Capital E. file name File Name, filename Two words. homepage home page, Home Page One word. hyperlink hyper link, Hyper Link One word. internet Internet Lowercase "I." livestream live-stream, live stream One word, no hyphen.
log in, log in to
log on, log on to
Login, log in
login, login-in, Log In, Log into
logon, Log On, log onto
Used when an adjective or noun.
Used when a verb.
Used when a verb.
microsite Micro-site, micro site, Micro-Site One word, no hyphen. offline off line, off-line, Off Line One word, no hyphen. online on line, on-line, On Line One word, no hyphen. page view pageview, page-view, Page View Two words, no hyphen. screen name screenname, screename, screen-name Two words. site Site Lowercase. site map sitemap, site-map, Site Map Two words, lowercase. teleconference tele-conference, Tele Conference One word, no hyphen. video camera videocamera, video-camera, Video Camera Two words, no hyphen. videoconference video conference, video-conference One word, no hyphen. videoconferencing video conferencing, video-conferencing One word, no hyphen. videotape video tape, video-tape, Video Tape One word. web document Web document, web-document Lowercase w, two words. webpage Web page, Webpage, web-page Lowercase, one word. website web site, Website, web-site Lowercase, one word.
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