ChatGPT for Law Firm Content: Best Practices

ChatGPT for Law Firm Content: Best Practices

The OpenAI Logo

ChatGPT and other generative AI models are set to revolutionize many industries, including law. While there are certainly practice-related use cases for AI, such as legal research or contract analysis, ChatGPT also has clear applications in the business of law, such as in creating marketing materials.

One of the most effective legal marketing channels in recent years has been content marketing, which involves the creation of content (such as blogs, social media posts, videos, and white papers) to gain brand awareness and connect with potential clients. Think of it this way; if someone Googles “How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?” and lands on your blog, there’s a good chance they’ll pick up the phone to call you or shoot you an email.

ChatGPT and other generative AI models can create reasonably good content in seconds. As a result, it’s no surprise that many law firms and their marketing teams have been looking into whether they can use AI to create law firm marketing content at scale.

Can You Use ChatGPT to Create Law Firm Content?

First things first – as we’ve said before, you can certainly use ChatGPT to create law firm content, provided there is significant expert oversight. You can use ChatGPT to create law firm content the same way you can using Grammarly, Jasper, or any other AI-based tool on the market. That said, there are some substantial and worrisome problems with relying on AI to create law firm content without substantial human review. They include the following:

  • ChatGPT and other LLM AIs are known to hallucinate information. In other words, AIs confidently output incorrect facts when they do not “know” the information they need to generate an accurate response. For a cautionary tale, all you need to do is consider the two New York attorneys who faced stiff sanctions for submitting a brief citing nonexistent case law after relying on ChatGPT for legal research.
  • ChatGPT often creates very similar-sounding content to similar queries. As a result, the content it generates is unlikely to stand out as demonstrating high experience, expertise, authority, and trust (E-E-A-T), which is critical to a high-quality page. In fact, based on how its creators trained it, its output is average by design.
  • According to guidance issued by the United States Copyright Office, you do not have any intellectual property interest in content generated by ChatGPT or any other generative AI without “sufficient human authorship.”

These problems notwithstanding, you can certainly use ChatGPT or other generative AI models to speed up the content creation process. What you can’t do in legal marketing is ask ChatGPT to give you a blog on a legal topic and then copy and paste the output onto your website.

So, how can lawyers and marketing teams use ChatGPT to create law firm content? Here are some best practices to ensure that you create accurate, unique, and rules of professional conduct-compliant content for your law firm website.

Use the Right Prompts

Using ChatGPT involves “prompting” the model to provide an output. Here’s how ChatGPT itself describes what prompting is:

Prompts can be long or short. As general rule, the more complex you want the output to be, the longer the prompt should be. So, for example, let’s say you wanted to update your website to advertise the fact that you were taking Chapter 7 cases. Here’s a reasonably detailed prompt you could use:

Pretty good, right? That said, you may not like the word “compassionate” to describe your firm. Furthermore, the assertion that the firm’s attorneys will work “tirelessly to eliminate your debts” could be construed to be promising a specific outcome and violative of the advertising rules in your jurisdiction. So, even with good prompt engineering, you still need to be sure to…

Read Every Word

If you are using ChatGPT to create law firm content, you (or a qualified expert) must read every word of its output. ChatGPT can provide nonsensical answers and does not really “know” anything. In addition, it sometimes blatantly disregards the instructions in the prompt. As a result, even if you tell it not to use the word “expert” or “specialist,” it may do so. Posting AI-generated content without sufficient review could lead to posting inaccurate, poorly worded, or even non-compliant content on your website.

Double Check Any Factual Statements or Statements of Law

While you are reading every word, make sure to verify any factual statements or legal assertions that the AI makes. ChatGPT has a knowledge cutoff date of September 2021. As a result, it may provide outdated information. Erin Fitzgerald of Lexicon Legal Content recently posted a a blog highlighting this point. While experimenting with ChatGPT, she recently discovered that it insists that the statute of limitations in Florida for personal injury is 4 years despite being lowered to 2 years in early 2023.

In addition, ChatGPT will simply make up facts if it does not know them. In the case of the New York lawyers who used ChatGPT for legal research, the AI fabricated Varghese v. China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd. Not only did it fabricate Varghese, it also fabricated cases that the nonexistent Varghese “court” used to reach its opinion! Perhaps most frighteningly, when the attorney  – Steven A. Schwartz of Levidow, Levidow & Oberman – asked if the cases were real, the ChatBot replied that they were. As reported by Ars Technica:

Schwartz provided an excerpt from ChatGPT queries in which he asked the AI tool whether Varghese is a real case. ChatGPT answered that it “is a real case” and “can be found on legal research databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis.” When asked if the other cases provided by ChatGPT are fake, it answered, “No, the other cases I provided are real and can be found in reputable legal databases such as LexisNexis and Westlaw.”

The moral of the story: if you use ChatGPT as a tool in law firm content creation, verify everything.

Make it Your Own

Now that you’re sure that your content is accurate and up-to-date, you should brand it to your law firm. On a fundamental level, ChatGPT uses its training data to predict what word should come next. As a result, the content it creates tends to be generic. You should revise the content to reflect your brand’s voice and marketing messaging.

Now that you’re sure you have accurate content that reflects your law firm the way you want it to, it’s time to optimize your content. Optimizing content for search involves:

  • Adding keyword phrases at an appropriate density
  • Using appropriate header tags for your title and subheadings
  • Adding internal links to other pages on your website
  • Adding external links to authoritative sources
  • Making your content easy to scan

Post Your Content and Engage in On-Site Optimization

At this point, it’s time to post your content and engage in some basic on-site SEO. Assuming your content is a blog post, you should copy and paste the content into a “new post” on the backend of your website, ensuring that the formatting is correctly transferred from the platform you were writing on to your website. Next, you should:

  • Find an appropriate image for your post (posts with images get 94 percent more engagement))
  • Add an alt tag to the image describing it with text
  • Write a custom meta description
  • Categorize and tag your post

 At this point, your blog is ready for posting. Once it’s posted, as a final step, you should submit it to Google Search Console to ensure it is indexed as soon as possible.

What Else Can Lawyers Use ChatGPT For?

Using ChatGPT and other generative AI models to create content can be risky for obvious reasons. That said, there are certainly other ways that lawyers can use ChatGPT for certain practice and marketing-related tasks. Some of the more obvious use cases of ChatGPT for lawyers include:

  • Content topic ideation
  • Responding to emails
  • Legal research (remember to double-check any cases or laws it cites)
  • Analyzing and summarizing documents
  • Drafting legal documents

Interested in ChatGPT for Law Firm Content? Call Lexicon Today

At Lexicon Legal Content, we have been creating content for law firms and marketing agencies for over a decade. We are presently experimenting with integrating AI into our content creation workflows to improve efficiency while still creating the same accurate and compelling legal content. That said, we are still offering our 100-percent human-written content and are transparent with our clients about how we’re using generative AI.

 To discuss your law firm content needs with a legal content marketing expert, call our office today or contact us online.