You can search for any word or words on FindLaw (or another FindLaw database such as Supreme Court Decisions) by typing the word(s) into the query box and clicking the Search button. To find an exact phrase, enclose it in quotation marks (for example, "fish and chips"). A search produces a list of files that contain the word or phrase, no matter where they appear in the text.
Some rules for formulating queries:
Queries are case-insensitive, so you can type your query in uppercase or lowercase.
You can search for any word except for those in the exception list (for English, this includes a, an, and, as, and other common words), which are ignored during a search.
Words in the exception list are treated as placeholders in phrase and proximity queries. For example, if you searched for Word for Windows, the results could give you Word for Windows, Word and Windows, and other combinations, because for is a noise word and appears in the exception list.
Punctuation marks such as the period (.), colon (:), semicolon (;), and comma (,) are ignored during a search.
To use specially treated characters such as &, |, ^, #, @, $, (, ), in a query, enclose your query in quotation marks ().
To search for a phrase containing quotation marks, enclose the entire phrase in one set of quotation marks and then enclose the word or words in a double set of quotation marks. For example, World Wide Web or Web searches for the phrase World Wide Web or Web.
The wildcard character (*) can match words with a given prefix. The query esc* matches the terms ESC, escape, and so on.
Boolean and proximity operators can create a more precise query.
|To Search For||Example||Results|
|Both terms in the same page|| chicago and economics
chicago & economics
|Pages with both the words chicago and economics|
|Either term in a page|| truth or justice
truth | justice
|Pages with the words truth or justice|
|The first term without the second term|| securities and not bonds
securities & ! bonds
|Pages with the word securities but not bonds|
|Both terms in the same page, close together|| toxic near tort
toxic ~ tort
|Pages with the word toxic near the word tort|
The AND operator has a higher precedence than OR. For example, the first three queries are equal, but the fourth is not:
a AND b OR c
c OR a AND b
c OR (a AND b)
(c OR a) AND b
The NEAR operator returns a match if both words being searched are in the same page, but the rank assigned by NEAR depends on the proximity of the words to each other: a page where the words are closer together has a higher ranking than a page where the words are farther apart. In addition, if the words are more than 50 words apart, they are not considered near each other at all, and the page is assigned a rank of zero.
The NOT operator can be used only after an AND operator in queries to exclude pages that match a previous content restriction.
You can add parentheses to nest expressions within a query. The expressions in parentheses are evaluated before the rest of the query:
a AND (b AND NOT c)
Use double quotes ( ) to indicate that a Boolean or NEAR operator should be ignored in your query. For example, Abbott and Costello will match pages using the Boolean operator AND; Abbott and Costello will match pages containing the whole phrase. Also, please note that in addition to being an operator, the word and is a noise word in English.
Wildcard operators help you find pages containing words similar to a given word.
|To Search For||Example||Results|
|Words with the same prefix||comput*||Pages with words that have the prefix comput, such as computer, computing,and so on|
|Words based on the same stem word||fly**||Pages with words based on the same stem asfly, such as flying, flown, flew, and so on|