How to Search

Using Boolean Operators in Smart Search

Refine Your Legal Research with Precision

Boolean Operators Explained

Boolean operators are simple words or symbols (including but not limited to AND, OR, NOT, quotation marks, parentheses, and asterisks) used to combine or exclude keywords in a search, resulting in more focused and relevant results.  This will save you time by excluding irrelevant results based on the keywords you use.  

List of Supported Boolean Operators

This chart lists the Boolean operators currently supported by Trellis and when to use them on Smart Search.

🔎  Remember: these Boolean operators are case-sensitive.   

Examples of Boolean Operator Searches

Boolean Operator & Purpose Example Search


“ ”

Use quotation marks to search for an exact word or specific phrase.


NOTE: When searching a case number, always couch the case number in quotation marks!





Use AND when you want both keywords to appear in your search results. 





Use OR when you want either keyword to appear in search result items, but don’t need both keywords to appear in your results. 





Use AND NOT when you want keywords listed after AND NOT to be excluded from your search result items.  




( )

Use parentheses to build a search with a combination of Boolean operators.





This is a root expander. 

Use an asterisk as a wildcard when you want your search result items to include different variations of root words.



NOTE:  searching negligen* will bring up search results that have the terms negligence or negligent


“ ”~n

This is a proximity connector. 

Using “ “~n will return search result items where the keywords inside the quotation marks are within a certain number of words of each other. 

Substitute the number of words you would like the proximity to be for the placeholder value of “n,” such as the number 5.  






NOTE: Our proximity connector currently can't be couched within parentheses. 



Use judge:last-name when you only want search result items that have a specific judge listed as the judge of record.  



“judge full name”

Alternatively, you can always try searching the judge’s full name in quotation marks.


NOTE: Be sure to select the correct jurisdiction.  



NOTE: Do not include any space between judge:last-name




(party includes individual litigants and attorneys)

Use party:”party-name” when you only want search result items that have a specific party or attorney listed as a party or attorney of record.



To search other parties or counsel who may be deeply involved in the case but not listed as having “appeared” in the case by the underlying court, do not use (party:) search.  

Instead, simply search variations of the attorney, firm, company or party's name. 






Use county:”county-name” when you only want search result records within a specific county.  **Note: Do not include any spaces, even where the county name has a space.




Use courthouse:”courthouse-name” when you only want search result items for a specific courthouse within a larger county.  




Alternatively, try running the same search without quotes.  **Note: Do not include any spaces, even where the county name has a space


NOTE: Make sure the courthouse corresponds to the correct state. Also, courthouse only works in counties which have multiple courthouses.   If there is a single trial court in that county, use the county:county-name search instead.












Use state:state-abbreviation when you only want search result items for a specific state but don't want to input other keywords.