Citation managers have not been originally created for lawyers, and they generally have difficulties in dealing with the specificities of legal citation. But as law students generally have long bibliographies, they can therefore save time and stress by using this type of software. And the more law students will use these programmes, the more they will be able to make their specific needs be taken into account. This is particularly the case with Zotero, because, as an open source programme, it relies a lot on a community and on voluntary involvement.
Primary legal materials, such as treaties or cases, can not be downloaded automatically, and have to be entered manually. Legal reference types (case, government document, legal rule or regulation in EndNote, case, bill and statute in Zotero) have been conceived in order to suit the needs of American lawyers, not international law specialists. Most legal databases, such as Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis, are not compatible with EndNote or Zotero. HeinOnline is partially compatible with Zotero and EndNote (for journal articles only).
EndNote or Zotero?
Both programmes have advantages and disadvantages for law students. The main advantage of EndNote is the possibility to modify reference types to deal better with certain types of legal documents.
There are only two legal styles available among EndNote styles: the Bluebook Law Review, and Oscola (to be downloaded here). Zotero users can choose between the Bluebook Law Review, Oscola, the European Journal of International Law, the Journal of International Economic Law and 70 other legal styles (These styles can be downloaded on the Zotero Web site). There are also a French Canadian style, a Belgian style, and a style from the Bordeaux university if you are looking for a French-speaking style.