ChatGPT, the AI chatbot from OpenAI, has created quite a buzz. This natural language processing tool allows you to have human-like conversations with the chatbot. With one prompt, you can answer questions, write entire emails, generate complex code, or even get relationship advice (though whether or not you’d want to accept the latter is up to you).
Naturally, this AI tool has taken the world by storm, and the legal industry is no exception (be sure to take a look at our resource guide on AI for Lawyers).
Still, a natural question that many lawyers have is, “What exactly can I ask ChatGPT?”
In this blog post, we’ll cover use cases for lawyers with ChatGPT and prompts to not only help you get started but make sure you’re always getting the best outcomes from this innovative AI tool.
ChatGPT for solicitors
Before we explore ChatGPT prompts for solicitors, let’s go over a quick reminder of what ChatGPT can offer legal professionals.
From creating legal marketing content to drafting legal documents, there’s no doubt that ChatGPT presents opportunities for efficiency for law firms.
Use cases of ChatGPT for lawyers
With ChatGPT, you can:
- Research and write legal documents more efficiently.
- Summarise complex legal cases and concepts in plain language for clients.
- Answer common legal questions and provide general legal information.
- Automate legal tasks such as contract drafting or document review.
- Conduct secondary research for cases.
Limitations of ChatGPT: A reminder
Like all tools, ChatGPT has limitations and comes with risks.
For starters, ChatGPT’s knowledge only goes up to 2021. For more recent information, you could use these prompts in Google Bard instead—but as a legal professional, you’ll want to always verify the accuracy and reliability of the outputs and ask for sources and references with either tool.
There is no replacing your expertise, critical thinking, or soft skills which help you make informed legal decisions.
And, of course, be mindful of the ethical implications of using AI for legal work. Keep client confidentiality in mind, and do not share specific case details with ChatGPT.
A prompt is a sentence or set of keywords you can input into generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, to instruct and receive an outcome. Based on its existing knowledge base, Chat GPT will interpret the prompt and generate a response for the user.
So, hypothetically, you could ask ChatGPT to draft a confidentiality agreement and the AI tool would write out a response in a matter of seconds.
You can also leverage legal document automation tools that create a high volume of documents in a short period of time while supporting compliance and maintaining a consistent brand.
Remember to be careful with the information you enter into ChatGPT. We cover more in our post about the ethical considerations of AI and law.
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How do you write the best ChatGPT prompts?
The more concrete your ChatGPT prompts are, the better your results will be. Follow these steps:
- Assign a role: Tell ChatGPT what point of view, expertise, or perspective it should take. For example: “Act as my opposing counsel.”
- Provide context: Give as much information as possible and ask for your desired outcome or result. For example, “Act as my opposing counsel and provide counter arguments to [legal case].”
- Follow up with questions: Ask additional questions to get more information. You can also rephrase questions if you don’t like you don’t like your initial answer.
- Ask for sources: You can specify that you want sources cited.
- Modify your output: Remember to always edit, polish, and verify your responses; never copy and paste.
Josh Kubiki’s guide on how to interact with ChatGPT follows a similar model, called the 5 Ps:
Example of a good prompt for ChatGPT
Prompt: I want you to act as a legal professional for a civil case. My client, a tenant, is attempting to get their security deposit back from their former landlord, who kept the deposit despite my client leaving the property in pristine condition.
If my client loses this case, please tell me what the potential consequences are for their business or personal life? Be as detailed as possible. Please include financial consequences, personal consequences, and reputational consequences.
6 ChatGPT prompts to help get you started
If you’re not sure where to start, here are six chatGPT prompts to use as a jumping-off point. This will help you begin to experiment with chatGPT in your legal practice.
Remember: These are hypothetical and illustrative examples only. They may not work as expected in every situation. Always exercise caution when inputting any prompts, and remember to always verify and edit the outputs of ChatGPT before using them for any legal purposes.
1. Conduct legal research and analysis
Prompt: Conduct legal research on [legal issue or topic]. Please be concise. Summarise the relevant case law, statutes, and regulations. Provide analysis and conclusions based on your research.
2. Uncover precedents
Prompt: Provide me with an overview of the legal precedents in UK [area of law]. Please tell me what key cases exist in this area of law and what the key legal arguments were. Please also identify the potential consequences of misinterpreting the legal precedents.
3. Confirm proper citation format
Prompt: Review this [legal document type] to ensure proper citation format and accuracy. Please review for any errors and make necessary corrections.
4. Prepare a case
Prompt: Please provide me with a list of all the possible outcomes of [legal dispute]. Please tell me how I can prepare for them.
Define statutes and regulations for [legal issue]
Prompt: What are the governing statutes and regulations relating to [legal issue] in [jurisdiction]?
Note: Remember that ChatGPT’s knowledge only goes to 2021. Use this prompt as a starting point only and be sure to conduct your own follow-up research.
5. Develop a legal strategy
Prompt: What are the potential risks and benefits of pursuing this legal strategy [describe strategy]?
6. Create discovery questions
Prompt: Generate a list of questions for opposing parties in discovery for [specific legal issue]. Please ensure the questions are clear and concise.
Final notes on ChatGPT prompts for lawyers
ChatGPT is an incredible tool that can augment support for routine tasks and speed up creativity in many aspects of legal work. And there are many opportunities ahead for AI in the legal industry .
AI cannot replace lawyers. It is not a substitute for the human qualities that legal professionals possess, such as critical thinking, empathy, and other soft skills that are unique to being human.
Still, there is good reason to explore not only how AI can help you and your law firm, but how to implement it at your firm.
We published this blog post in November 2023. Last updated: .