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Zotero for Legal Scholars

Finding the File

The first step is to download the installation file for Zotero standalone on the Zotero download page.


After downloading the program, open the .dmg and drag Zotero to the Applications folder. You can then run Zotero from Spotlight, Launchpad, or the Applications folder and add it to your Dock like any other program.

If you have Microsoft Word on your computer, the installer should ask you if you want to install the plugin to use Zotero with Word.  Select yes if you do.

You should install the browser plugin for the browser(s) you conduct research in at this point as well.  

Adding Legal Citation Styles

Zotero comes with several general citation styles installed by default, but none of them are legal specific. One of the first things legal scholars and practitioners should do after installing Zotero is install the citation style or styles they are likely to use.

There are dozens of legal-specific citation styles available on the database, including international and journal/publisher-specific styles ( For those using the Bluebook citation system for scholarship, my recommendation is to use “Bluebook Law Review.”

If you are writing for a publication that does not use the bluebook, it is worth exploring whether the citation system for that journal is available.

To install a new citation style, go to the Zotero menu at the top of the desktop client, and select “Preferences....” (you can also just press ⌘,). Switch to the “Cite” tab and click the “Get additional styles...” link below the list of styles. Search for “Bluebook” and select “Bluebook Law Review” and that style will be added to your list.

Alternatively, you can select the “Law” tag under “Fields” and browse the available styles, or search for the citation format or journal relevant to your project.

Next, switch to the “Export” tab, and select the citation style you would like to use as your default when you export citations and bibliographies.

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