A while ago, I took a fairly controversial stance on how much detail should be provided when citing cases, statutes, and law review articles as a part of answers written on in-class, closed-book exams. I suggested that any cases mentioned in an in-class, closed-book essay answer ought to, at the very least, be accompanied by a citation containing the relevant reporter information and year that the case was decided. But it is now clear that I was wrong on this.
After talking with professors, librarians, and students at or near the top of the class, I now realize that, at a minimum, all case citations should contain reporter info, year of decision, vote margin, pinpoint, parallel citation if necessary, and any subsequent history or related authority that might be worth including.
Of course, citing cases and statutes is only going to get you so far. So when citing law review articles on an essay exam, I’d recommend at least a full citation, pinpoint, appropriate signal, and, if useful, an explanatory parenthetical.
Obviously, this all requires a bit more memorization than I’d previously thought. Apparently, that’s what it takes to get the really stellar grades around here.
But hey--these are just guidelines.