The Ultimate Guide to ChatGPT for Lawyers 

Article by Meo Antolin Meo Antolin

Last updated

When you think about ChatGPT and AI technology, the word “lawyer” usually doesn’t come to mind. 

But with the right approach, ChatGPT by OpenAI might be the best new technology in your law firm’s toolbox. Not only is it a massive time-saver, it’s also useful in enhancing tasks like legal research, client interactions, and even marketing. 

Let’s look at the basics of ChatGPT and dissect what your firm can do with it.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot that took the internet by storm with its ability to generate human-like text in seconds.

Its AI model uses Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML), and tons of publicly available information to complete almost any written task, like “define digital marketing in 100 words” or “write a 1,000-word rhyming children’s book about two sisters who don’t like to share.” 

Top 3 Benefits of ChatGPT for Lawyers

It’s easy to see the advantage of ChatGPT for professional writers, particularly in terms of productivity. For legal professionals, a generative AI chatbot offers these top three benefits: 

  • Save time on repetitive writing tasks. It only takes ChatGPT seconds to create first drafts for legal documents, including business contract summaries, abstracts, and memos. 
  • Fill skill gaps in your marketing. ChatGPT can accomplish a variety of marketing-related tasks, like copywriting, email marketing, and landing page optimization. 
  • Conduct legal research more efficiently. ChatGPT instantly pulls information on general facts, statutes, local government regulations, and more to aid your legal research. 

Will ChatGPT Replace Lawyers?

Despite the mind-blowing capabilities of AI and Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), it still can’t replace human lawyers — and that’s not likely to change in the future. 

ChatGPT doesn’t possess the legal expertise, professional ethics, moral judgment, and flexibility needed to represent clients in a courtroom. AI also has a handful of limitations that are impossible to overcome without a human lawyer to bridge the gaps, like: 

  • Build an entire case by itself
  • Provide legal advice
  • Recognize nuances in legal cases
  • Provide accurate facts 100% of the time (human verification is needed) 

Remember, ChatGPT isn’t designed nor is it capable enough to fully replace you. But professional and ethical considerations aside, it can definitely enhance your firm’s efficiency in time-consuming tasks. 

Let’s look at some ways in which you can use ChatGPT. 

How to Use ChatGPT for Lawyers: Top 5 Use Cases

Good news: using ChatGPT is extremely easy. Think of it as typing orders to a smart, virtual butler who can fulfill almost any request — as long as the task is completed via text output. 

To get started, go to the official ChatGPT website and sign in or create a new account. 

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Upon login, you’re all set. Just type in exactly what you want ChatGPT to do. Hit ‘Send Message’ and let the language model do its work. 

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Most prompts only take a few seconds to generate results. For example, here’s what ChatGPT pulled when I asked, “What are the penalties or sanctions for DUI second offense in Virginia?”

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You can also add specific instructions to refine ChatGPT’s response. 

Let’s say you only need a short list of all DUI second offense penalties in bullet points. Just modify your prompt with the right instructions and let the algorithms work. 

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ChatGPT can take on even more advanced instructions, including links to article references and the exact word count you need. Whatever it is, you can count on the AI-powered tool to generate a well-written response in seconds. 

ChatGPT Use Cases for Lawyers

To better understand how lawyers can use ChatGPT, let’s take a look at a few use cases: 

1. Optimize Your Service Area Landing Page Copy

Many lawyers aren’t exactly well-versed in digital marketing — let alone Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With the help of ChatGPT, you can instantly improve the optimization of your web pages to help increase their search engine rankings and generate more leads.

Simply use a prompt like the one below and insert the keywords you’re targeting.  

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2. Create Marketing Emails

Email is still one of the top content marketing channels for promoting your legal services and generating leads online. However, crafting marketing emails is a time-consuming process that requires copywriting expertise and the right tools. 

ChatGPT will help you create attention-grabbing emails in a snap. Or, you can use it to improve existing drafts from your marketing team. 

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3. Simplify Legal Documents for Clients

You can ask ChatGPT to rewrite multiple pages of complex legal jargon into shorter, more readable articles your clients can understand. This ensures smoother client interactions and workflows. 

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4. Get Ideas and Prepare for Your Case

ChatGPT can bolster your case by giving you a head start on potential arguments and outcomes. While it’s not a good idea to rely on ChatGPT for your entire case, it’s still a great place to start early in the preparation phase. 

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5. Obtain Knowledge of Local Laws and Regulations

Lifelong learning is key to success in legal practice. And with ChatGPT, you can condense days or weeks of research into a few hours of AI prompts and outputs. 

It’s simple: if you have questions or clarifications about local laws, regulations, and other legal matters, just ask ChatGPT. 

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Although only a small percentage of law firms actively use ChatGPT in their workflows, the majority of them already recognize the AI chatbot’s potential use cases. A survey by the Thomson Reuters Institute revealed that 82% of law firms believe that ChatGPT can be used for legal work.

Thomson reuters institute infographic on the attitudes of law firms towards generative ai

Just remember, never skip the proofreading and editing processes whenever you use ChatGPT.

In a legal sense, using AI-generated content in your law firm’s workflow is a grey area. It’s not illegal for lawyers to use AI tools, but the practice of law is and always will be a human obligation. It’s also not a good look for attorneys to rely solely on AI in the legal industry. 

Long story short, AI can definitely supplement your legal tasks — but it should never be the sole information source or decision-maker in your processes. 

How to Write ChatGPT Prompts: A Lawyer’s Guide

Besides the examples above, here are six ChatGPT prompts you can use to make legal work a walk in the park: 

1. Research Legal Precedents

Prompt: “Find legal precedents [specific case/legal issue] and identify example cases. List down notable arguments with brief explanations.” 

2. Identify Potential Legal Questions

Prompt: “Round up a list of potential discovery questions for [specific case/legal issue], including tips on how to answer them.”

3. Proofread and Polish Legal Documents

Prompt: “Inspect this [document type] to spot any issues with citations, spelling, grammar, and other potential errors. Provide corrections when necessary. [Paste document]” 

4. Rewrite Drafts

Prompt: “Rewrite this draft for [document requirements and specifications]. Improve its clarity, impact, and accuracy.” 

5. Summarize Local Rules and Statutes

Prompt: “Summarize the [area of law] rules and statutes active in [location.” 

6. Create a First Draft of Anything

Prompt: “Create a rough draft of a [document type] that specifically addresses [name of client/business]. Make it comprehensive but easy to understand for non-lawyers.” 

Here’s one last tip: if you’re not happy with the AI-generated text you’re getting, consider using ChatGPT Plus. This paid version uses GPT-4, which is a multimodal, large language model that ramps up the chatbot’s creativity, speed, and reasoning.

ChatGPT Plus also accepts image inputs, which can streamline investigations in the legal field — unlike regular ChatGPT which is stuck with GPT-3.

Integrate ChatGPT into Your Law Firm’s Workflow Responsibly

ChatGPT is undeniably one of the most valuable productivity tools for law firms. However, no business strategy can survive without the human touch. 

Contact us and learn more about how to integrate ChatGPT in your law firm’s marketing workflow and get more leads.

Article by Meo Antolin

Freelance writer since 2014. I produce digital marketing content of all lengths and depths. I run A Million Words Later, which I built to help aspiring freelance writers get the knowledge, inspiration, and resources they need to succeed.