Skip to Main Content

Optimal Search Strategies in Legal Databases: Westlaw Advanced Search Commands

This guide covers terms and connectors, Boolean logic, order of processing, advanced search commands, and resources for obtaining help

Westlaw Advanced Search Commands

Search Types Example  
Citations Find: 5 U. Haw. L. Rev. 327 (or 5 UHILR 327) Use when you are uncertain of the citation format and want to prevent a search from running if the citation is not valid. 
  If you are certain of the citation, you can just type it in without Find: in front of it.
Fi: 5 U. Haw. L. Rev. 327 (or 5 UHILR 327)  
Find and Print Multiple Citations 562fs263; 97 sct 569; 42 u.s.c.1983 Enter multiple citations separated by semicolons.
- or -
Copy and paste up to 20 citations from a list directly into the search box without needing to add semicolons.
Find by Party Name Brown v. Board Enter party names directly into the search box. Whenever possible, the closest match will display at the top of the page in a blue box above your search results. Below the blue box, WestSearch results are displayed, ranked by relevance.
KeyCite a Document keycite 66 Haw. 1 or Enter keycite or kc: followed by a citation into the search box. The result is a dynamic KeyCite display. If the document has been negatively referenced, Westlaw will display the Negative Treatment. If there are no negative references, Westlaw will display Citing References
kc: 66 Haw. 1
Publication or Database hi-st =  Looking for this? feature appears and suggests Hawaii resources) Type “hi-st” and see Content Pages section:
Hawaii Statutes & Court Rules
Hawaii Statutes Index
Hawaii Statutes Annotated - Historical
Hawaii Statutes - Unannotated
Hawaii Statutes Find Template
Publication name with search terms hawaii administrative code: workers compensation dispute self-insured claim Sometimes must type in the exact title, see merrick rippner example to the left.
 baldwin's ohio practice-merrick-rippner probate law: codicil and after-acquired property  
  Overrides the jurisdiction you selected.
Topic Criminal law:conversion and elements Enter the name of any topic available in Westlaw on the Topics tab, followed by a colon and your search terms.
Advanced Advanced:  conversion and elements To indicate a Boolean search.  If you type in a search with only AND/OR connectors, you must type Advanced: or Adv: in order for it to run as a terms and connectors search, not a natural language WestSearch.
Adv: Conversion and elements

Westlaw Search Fields

Searching and Fields - Westlaw

Tip: To limit your search to a single set of rules, use a citation field search term.

Examples of Citation Field Search Terms for

Rules of Civil procedure

"r rcp"

Rules of Penal Procedure


Rules of Evidence (HRS sections 626-1, 626-2, 626-3)

ch. s /1 626

Rules of Appellate Procedure


Appellate Conference Program Rules


Rules of the Supreme Court

"s ct"

Exhibit A. Rules of Professional Conduct


Exhibit A-1.Guidelines of Professional Courtesy and Civility for Hawaii Lawyers

"gds prof"

Exhibit A-2. Disciplinary Board Rules

"disc brd"

Exhibit B. Revised Code of Judicial Conduct


Exhibit B-1. Principles of Professionalism for Hawaii Judges

"prin prof"

Board of Bar Examiners - Rules of Procedure

"bar exam"

Rules of the Intermediate Court of Appeals

"r a ct"

Rules of the Tax Appeal Court


Rules of the Circuit Courts

"cir ct"

Exhibit A. Arbitration Rules


Probate Rules


District Court Rules of Civil Procedure; Rules of the District Courts; Rules of the Small Claims Division of the District Courts

"r dist"

Civil Traffic Rules


Family Court Rules


Rules of the Land Court


Judicial Selection Commission Rules


Rules Governing Court Reporting; Exhibit A. Shorthand Reporters Rules and Regulations; Exhibit B. Shorthand Reporters Disciplinary Rules


Rules for Certification of Spoken and Sign Language Interpreters


State Bar Association Constitution and Bylaws


Rules Governing Trust Accounting


Standard Civil Jury Instructions

"civ jury"

Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

"cr jury"

U.S. District Court


Bankruptcy Rules


The abbreviations for the fields in this category page are:

CI CITATION Unique references for citing to specific documents.
PR PRELIM Headings that precede the caption.
CA CAPTION Section, rule or canon number and heading.
TE TEXT Text of the document.
CR CREDIT Statutory credits.
SD SUBSTANTIVE DOCUMENT Prelim, citation, caption, text, and credit fields.
HN HISTORICAL NOTES Historical notes, references and notes of decision.
RE REFERENCES Historical notes, references and notes of decision.
AN ANNOTATIONS Historical notes, references and notes of decision.