How can I use CoCounsel to Search a Database?

How to use CoCounsel's "Search a Database" skill with Sample Prompts and file size limitations

Valerie McConnell avatar
Written by Valerie McConnell
Updated over a week ago

In this article

Summary and video

Use CoCounsel’s “Search a Database” skill to complete comprehensive, plain language research projects across an entire database of your uploaded documents. CoCounsel quickly identifies relevant documents and provides links to the full text and specific pages that answer your question, so you can find that “needle in a haystack.”

For this skill, CoCounsel relies on Casetext’s AllSearch database technology. Use AllSearch to create databases of pleadings, discovery materials, internal banks of briefs or contracts, transcripts, jury instructions, or any other type of record. How do I use AllSearch? | Casetext Help Center.

Step-by-step instructions

(1) Select “Search a Database”

To get started, go to the skills menu and select “Search a Database.”

(2) Create, manage, or select a database

CoCounsel searches the real information in your databases. You may create a database, manage a database, or select a database.

Create a new database

To create a new database, click “⊕ New database.”

1. Select the type of database.

2. Provide the database name, change the default settings below, and then click "Save."

  • Database type (carried through from prior step)

  • Who has access?


  • "Only I" can view and upload

  • "All members of [your organization]" can "View and upload" or "View only."

3. Then click “Create database.”

4. Upload documents to your database. Click “Upload your files” or drag and drop files. See Limits.

5. A notice appears to confirm your files are being uploaded and processed.

6. A notice appears to confirm your files have been uploaded and processed. To continue with CoCounsel’s “Search a Database” skill, click “Done.”

Manage a database

To manage a database from your list, use Database name, Organization, Files, and Date Added heading filters, use < and > arrows to navigate pages, and then click "Manage."

1. To set access permissions, select "Manage access..." Choose from the options below, and then click "Save."

  • "Only I" can view and upload

  • "All members of [your organization]" can "View only" or "View and upload."

  • Invite via email with "View only" or "View and upload" options by adding emails separated by commas and then clicking "Invite."

2. To make changes to your database, select "More Actions" and click "Download all files," "Rename database," or "Delete database."

3. To add files to your database, select "Upload Files" and click "Upload from computer" or "Import from iManage."

4. To manage individual files in your database, go to the file and select the " ⋮ " menu, and click "Download" or "Delete."

5. To open a file, click it. The file will open within CoCounsel.

To return to CoCounsel, select "Back to CoCounsel."

Select a database

To select a database from your list, use Database name, Organization, Files, and Date Added heading filters, use < and > arrows to navigate pages, and then select the database. Then click “Next.”

(3) Explain your query

Explain your query or the type of clause you want to study in complete, normal sentences, just like you would to a colleague. Then click “Submit.”

(4) Confirm CoCounsel’s interpretation

CoCounsel will take a moment to interpret your query. To confirm CoCounsel’s interpretation, click “Submit.”

If CoCounsel’s interpretation is not what you expected, change your original query and click “Reinterpret Query.”

(5) CoCounsel is working

When CoCounsel is searching your database, it is running multiple, simultaneous searches to identify relevant results, even when an exact keyword, term, or phrase is not used.

(6) Review CoCounsel’s response

CoCounsel shows its work with a research memo. Begin reviewing CoCounsel’s response from the chat, or open the full response.

From the chat

From the chat, mouse over the response to expand the full response, download the response, or copy the response to paste somewhere else.

The full response

Use the full response to verify CoCounsel’s results. CoCounsel explains its answer to the search request, and provides a list of the relevant documents it identified.

  • Navigate the document list by collapsing and expanding title headings

  • Click document titles to read the full text

  • Review quoted highlights to assess relevance

  • Click a page reference to open the document at that page.

To continue researching in the same database, click “Ask Another Question.”

Download the response as a Word document or copy it to use somewhere else.

Casetext welcomes all feedback. Give a quick 👍 or 👎 and leave a comment.


Input limits

Skill query length

1,000 characters

Database file type

.doc, .docx, .eml, .htm, .html, .msg, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, or .wpd

Database file size

500 MB .pdfs

20 MB text files

Database files per upload

100 files

TIP: If you have files that exceed the size limit, CoCounsel will reject the file. Divide the files into batches of 100 files or less before uploading.

Storage available for all databases

100 GB

Output limits

CoCounsel’s "Search a Database" memo will include the most relevant results. While there will not always be this many relevant results, these memos can include:

  • Up to 225 documents

  • Unlimited highlighted quotes within a document

Sample prompts and use cases

Overall best practices

CoCounsel understands nuance, humor, and implied references. This means CoCounsel finds information and references that traditional search engines cannot. To get the most out of CoCounsel’s “Search a Database” skill, use queries that request high-level synopses, rather than lists of responsive documents. As with all CoCounsel skills, the best requests are specific, precise, and concise.

Searching a database of Enron emails

Query: Did Andrew Fastow know about unethical accounting practices?

This prompt shows how CoCounsel uses the context of your request to find responsive documents. Instead of asking for a list of all emails by Andrew Fastow, this prompt asks CoCounsel to search the database for emails with content indicating that Andrew Fastow had knowledge of wrongdoing. CoCounsel is essentially “reading” relevant documents in the database for context, not just a certain keyword.

Searching an umbrella patent database

Query: Does a patent exist for an anti-inversion umbrella with a removable cuff?

This search illustrates a prompt that goes beyond asking for a list of documents. Patents can be difficult to read and understand, but CoCounsel can understand and search for the context of your request to find responsive documents, even when the dataset includes complex, technical content.

Searching a database of estate planning documents

Query: What language do I need to include in a pet trust?

This prompt shows how you can create and use databases of estate planning documents, like wills and trusts, to find provisions in prior documents that can be used in current drafting projects. This prompt also makes use of CoCounsel’s ability to understand context.

AllSearch vs. Search a Database

There are multiple ways to access the information in your AllSearch databases. Use AllSearch (Home > AllSearch > select the database) to conduct your own searches. This is similar to using a search engine like Google. Or describe your search to CoCounsel (Home > CoCounsel > Skills > Search a Database > select the database). This is similar to asking a legal assistant to research your question or issue, find relevant results, and write a short report.

Get the most out of CoCounsel

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