ROSS Supports Boolean Terms and Connectors Searches

March 27, 2019

ROSS users know that artificial intelligence generally, and natural language processing specifically, are the most powerful tools for legal research. Lawyers tell us every day about the positive impact ROSS has had on their practice. That’s why the focus of our work will always be on building and improving the world’s most effective artificial intelligence legal research platform.

But we’re also always mindful that ROSS is a tool for practicing lawyers. That means that we’re open to building features that aren’t driven exclusively by machine learning, named entity recognition or any of the other technologies we’re deploying to revolutionize the practice of law.

When some of our users told us that basic boolean searches are sometimes useful for narrowing searches or excluding cases that do not have specific language, we responded by building boolean terms and connectors into ROSS.


ROSS supports the most-used boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT, /n, +n, /s, +s, /p, +p (), *, and !


AND returns cases containing both words connected by the operator.

OR returns cases containing either word connected by the operator.

NOT excludes any case that contains the word or parenthetical group of words following the operator.

/n returns cases in which words connected by the operator appear within the number of words of each other that the user substitutes for the n variable, regardless of the order in which the words appear. For example, if n is replaced with 10 (fiduciary /10 duty), the words fiduciary and duty will appear within 10 words of each other in every responsive case without regard to the order in which they appear (i.e. responsive cases will include text containing fiduciary before duty and duty before fiduciary). Use +n if you would like the words to appear in the same order in which they appear in the query.

/s returns cases in which words connected by the operator appear within the same sentence regardless of the order in which the words appear. Use +s if you would like the words to appear in the order in which they appear in the query.


/p returns cases in which words connected by the operator appear within the same paragraph regardless of the order in which the words appear. Use +p if you would like the words to appear in the order in which they appear in the query.

Use parentheses to group or exclude combinations of words. For example, fiduciary AND (duty /s fraud) will return cases that include the words fiduciary, duty and fraud, but only if duty and fraud appear in the same sentence somewhere in the case. Fiduciary NOT (duty /s fraud) will exclude cases in which fiduciary appears but duty and fraud also appear in the same sentence. A query incorporating comparative /p negligence /p defense /p injury /p (scaffold OR object) will return cases containing all the words in the query that are outside the parentheses in the same paragraph and either the word scaffold or object in the paragraph.

The exclamation mark (!) is a root expander. Use the exclamation mark to return words with any ending to a specified root. For example, compet! will return cases containing the words compete, competitor, competition and competitive, among others.

The asterisk (*) is a wild card. It can be used anywhere in a word to retrieve cases with any words with the same letters in the same order. For example b*d will return cases with any word that begins with b and ends with d. The wildcard is useful to return verb tenses or past participles that change in the middle of the word, such as the present and past tenses lead and led (le*d).   

Quotation marks (“ ”) return cases that include words that exactly match the words within quotes. For example “contract of adhesion” will include cases with that exact phrase. The quotations marks do not return words with even minor variations, e.g. “contract of adhesion” will not return “contracts of adhesion.”   

Let us know how you’re using boolean filters on ROSS and feel free to let us know about new features you’d like to see on the platform. We love feedback from the ROSS community.


We have some big things in motion here at ROSS so stay posted for some great breakthroughs this year and beyond!

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