The search box in the upper left of the window is called the "Global Search." This search box can be configured to search any item or field in the entire system. For example, it can be configured to search for matters, contacts, Bills, or activities. The results page will display tabs with the different "items" that match.
If you type text such as "John" it will automatically do a 'Contains' search, not just a 'Starts With' Search as previously. There is no need to use the asterisk wildcard character '*' any longer for these types of searches. It will pull up all results that have John in the fields set to search on.
If a user has admin privledges, they can change which fields are actively being searched by the "Global Search" by clicking the gear icon next to "Log Off" and selecting "Search Settings".