Research Tips for Smart Search

Researching Parties or Corporations on Smart Search

The Trellis Database aggregates civil litigation court Dockets, Documents, and Rulings from all over the country and makes them searchable and accessible from a single interface.  Consequently, many attorneys utilize us to gain crucial intel on opposing counsel or competitor law firms.   

If you’re facing litigation against a major corporation, you can use Smart Search to learn:

  • How your opponent has positioned themselves on particular legal issues;
  • Which law firms/attorneys represent them on such issues;
  • Whether those cases settled or went to trial;
  • How often they go to trial;
  • Whether they settle cases before or after filing motions for summary judgment;
  • And if they’re the plaintiff, whether they’ve filed similar cases to the one you’re involved in.

You can also use Smart Search to find new clients.  If you have a prospective client in mind, you can search their pending or historical cases to learn about their business needs, where they’re getting sued, and which law firms/attorneys are currently representing them.

Running a query on Smart Search will search the body and text of state trial court dockets, documents, and rulings based on the keywords you use.  Using keywords relevant to your case and various Boolean operators, try searching the law firm / attorney name together with a motion type, a legal issue, a cause of action, a case type/practice area, and/or a judge, then click on any tab to view the results.

💡  All of the below is relevant to researching law firms and attorneys, not just parties/corporations!


Below are some sample opposing counsel-related search queries you may run using the “AND” Boolean operator:  


Template Example Search

party:”company name”

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



"company name"

To search other parties or companies 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 party’s name in quotation marks. 


Note: the above also applies to individual litigants. 









party:“first-name last-name”
party:“last-name, first-name”
party:”name” AND “legal issue”
party:”name” AND “motion-type”
party:“name” AND “motion-type” AND “document type”
party:“name” AND “motion-type” AND “legal issue”
party:“name” AND judge:last-name AND county:”name”