Can You Use ChatGPT to Write Legal Blogs?

Can You Use ChatGPT to Write Legal Blogs?

A fanciful illustration of robots lounging around documents and books

ChatGPT – the conversational AI model released by OpenAI in November 2022 – has captured the attention of people in every industry throughout the world. According to some, ChatGPT and other generative AIs are about to fundamentally change the world, take our jobs, and usher in a dystopian future. On the other hand, some observers think that ChatGPT is a waste of time that people are going to mostly use as a toy.

As is usually the case, the reality of generative AI’s impact is probably somewhere in the middle of these two positions. That said, one thing is crystal clear – ChatGPT is capable of generating human-like content on a wide range of topics in a matter of seconds. This generative capability clearly has wide-ranging implications in academia as well as the workplace – and these implications are particularly salient for people in white-collar positions in which their work product is typically written material. 

Since ChatGPT doesn’t have a law license (despite doing really well on the UBE), the lawyers are safe for now. That said, law firms and marketing teams are looking into whether it can do other non-practice-oriented tasks, such as creating marketing materials.

So, can you use ChatGPT for law firm marketing? Let’s take a look and find out.

What is ChatGPT?

While you’ve undoubtedly heard of it- what exactly is ChatGPT? One way to find out is by asking ChatGPT itself:

A screenshot of ChatGPT responding to a prompt to explain what ChatGPT is

Okay; here’s the plain English version – ChatGPT is an AI built on a large language model that can provide human-like responses to human inputs. For example, you could ask it to provide information, create a meal plan, plan a vacation – or – answer legal questions.

Spending a few minutes playing with ChatGPT is an eye-opening experience. At first blush, it’s easy to see how generative AI could change everything. For many people, using ChatGPT for the first time results in a series of existential questions – What happens to the college essay? What is the point of learning anything? Will this take my job? Do humans have to do anything anymore?

Undoubtedly, the tech has the potential to be extremely disruptive, but some of the apocalyptic prognosticating seems to already be dying down. For example, rather than banning it, some teachers have started to integrate ChatGPT into their lesson plans. People have realized that students can still demonstrate their knowledge by in-class testing or essay writing. Furthermore, many people now view AI as a way for professionals to improve their efficiency rather than a replacement for human expertise.

So, back to the question – can lawyers use ChatGPT or other generative AI models for legal marketing? The short answer is yes –  provided there is significant human oversight.

In fact, lawyers may have an ethical duty to stay on top of generative AI technology like ChatGPT. Most states have adopted Comment 8 to Model Rule 1.1 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires a lawyer to “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education with all continuing legal education requirement to which the lawyer is subject” [emphasis added]. ethical duty

ChatGPT and other generative AI models can help lawyers and their marketing teams accomplish certain tasks more quickly. That said, you should be aware of the limitations of the technology and the ways in which using it may cause problems.

It Can Provide Incorrect Information

ChatGPT can provide incorrect information – a problem that its creators like to call “hallucination.” They are well aware of this problem and even have a small disclaimer at the bottom of the page alerting users of this fact.

A screenshot of a disclaimer explaining that ChatGPT can provide incorrect information

If you are posting content on a law firm’s website, it has to be accurate. Incorrect information could result in significant consequences, including disciplinary action from the bar or even a malpractice lawsuit from a client who relied on it.

The Content May Be Plagiarized

ChatGPT runs on a Large Language Model (LLM), which is a type of AI that uses huge data sets to understand inputs and predict new content. In other words, ChatGPT uses existing content to figure out what word should come next. As a result, there is a substantial possibility that ChatGPT’s output can be extremely similar to existing content on the internet.

Additionally, it can produce very similar-sounding content to similar prompts. So, if you and another law firm (or hundreds of other law firms, as the case may be) ask it to spit out a 500-word legal blog post on “Common Types of Medical Malpractice,” the content it produces will likely be very similar to what other users are getting.

You Do Not Own the Content ChatGPT Produces

According to guidance issued by the United States Copyright Office in March of 2023, content produced by generative AI like ChatGPT is not eligible for copyright protection based on the “human authorship requirement.” In addition, there are multiple lawsuits going on from content creators alleging that generative AI using their works to create content is infringing. As Jonathan Grabb, Ethics Counsel for the Florida Bar, puts it – “utilizing an A.I. program to draft documents may not be risk free” when it comes to copyright and plagiarism issues.

ChatGPT Content Will Probably Not Demonstrate E-E-A-T without Significant Editing

When evaluating the quality of a page, it looks at the extent to which the content demonstrates experience, expertise, authority, and trust – E-E-A-T, in industry parlance. This is particularly true for sites that deal with issues related to the health, happiness, financial stability, and safety of users and society at large, which Google calls Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites.

Google makes it clear that the most important element of E-E-A-T is trust, and there is a substantial possibility that posting AI-generated content without any oversight will result in untrustworthy pages. Some of the ways you can ensure that your content demonstrates E-E-A-T include:

  • Ensuring that any facts contained in the output are accurate
  • Linking to authoritative sources
  • Ensuring that the content provides useful information and is not just regurgitating existing content
  • Highlighting your expertise or credentials

Despite the significant issues raised above, ChatGPT and generative AI does have a place in law firm marketing. Some of the best use cases for the technology include the following:

Coming Up with Content  Ideas

When it comes to regular content creation, the hardest part can be coming up with topics to write about. This is true whether you are regularly adding practice area pages, posting blogs, or updating your social media accounts. ChatGPT is great at helping come up with content topics – you just need to know how to prompt it correctly. Fortunately, the team at Lexicon Legal Content has done the work for you. We’ve developed a free, AI-powered Legal Blog Topic Generator that is designed for use by lawyers and law firm marketing companies. 

Outlining Content

A screenshot of ChatGPT providing an outline for a blog about what to do after a bicycle accident

Another part of the content creation process where AI can really help is in outlining a piece of content. It can provide headings and subheadings and can even help to identify ancillary topics that your piece of content could address to make it more comprehensive. Here’s an example of its outline for a blog on what people should do after a bicycle accident:

Of course, not all of these points may be relevant or appropriate to post on a law firm blog, but it’s a good start. Once you have a good outline in place, it can make the process of content creation much faster.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is real. Everyone on the Lexicon team has struggled with staring at a blank page and asking, “what the hell should I talk about?” at one point or another. Asking ChatGPT to create an outline or even write an introduction can help get past writer’s block and into the content creation process.

Summarizing Material & Generating Short-Form Content

Finally, another great use case of ChatGPT is summarizing longer content and generating short-form content that you can use for social media posts, meta descriptions, or other areas where you may need one or two sentences., ChatGPT’s generic and terse content is actually a benefit for short-form content blurbs,  as you are often dealing with word count restrictions and need to be efficient as possible.

For more than 10 years, Lexicon Legal Content has been helping law firms connect with legal consumers through the power of content marketing. We’ve developed millions of words of content for law firms and digital marketing agencies throughout the United States and Canada, and we’re committed to staying cutting edge of content marketing trends and tech. To learn more about our services, call our office today or send us an email through our online contact form.