Citing GenAI: If, When, and How to Cite Generative Artificial Intelligence in Your Legal Writing

Publication Title

Washington State Bar News


citation, generative AI, Bluebook, legal writing

Document Type



Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) conference in Washington, D.C. This is an annual conference where professors from law schools around the country come to learn from one another and debate hot topics in legal education. As I’m sure you can imagine, generative artificial intelligence (Gen-AI) was one of those hot topics and there were several excellent presentations by law professors and law librarians who are nationally recognized experts in the field.

One presentation by the AALS section on legal writing, reasoning, and research entitled “The AI Era: Leveraging Large Language Models to Improve the Lawyers Craft” was particularly informative. It touched on many interesting questions related to GenAI in legal writing, such as:

  • What GenAI chatbots are available for use and how do they stack up against each other?
  • What are some of the ethical questions surrounding the use of GenAI for law students?
  • How might the use of GenAI in legal writing promote greater inclusion and equity for lawyers, law students, and litigants?

Those are some big questions. And I am not able to tackle all of them in this short article (although I have included links in the endnotes to the presenters’ materials on these issues if you would like to dive into any of them more deeply). Instead, this article attempts to answer two very specific and practical questions that were raised by the presenters:

  • First, if you use GenAI to draft a piece of writing, do you need a citation telling the reader as much?
  • Second, if you are simply citing to content produced by GenAI, what should that citation look like?

Let’s dive into these issues one at a time.