What Lawyers Need to Know About ChatGPT

Since ChatGPT entered the spotlight in December, everyone’s been talking about it including Google whose CEO issued a “code red” alert to his management teams over it. With Bing’s intentions to integrate it into their search engine, Google’s scrambling to stay ahead of this. Why? Because ChatGPT is powerful and has crazy potential. What a strange world we’re living in.

So what is ChatGPT and what can it do?

ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a language generation model developed by OpenAI. Basically, it writes what you tell it to. But that’s not all. The ChatGPT platform can also debug code. It can write essays, poems and lyrics. It can mimic the style of specific authors or artists. It even knows when to ask clarifying questions. And with the right prompts, the AI is able to engineer responses that pass advanced plagiarism and AI detection tools, causing some serious heartburn in the education field.

How does this affect lawyers?

Let’s dive in, but first… READ ME!

artificial intelligence chat robots

What is ChatGPT? First, let’s dig into what ChatGPT is.ChatGPT is a chatbot form of artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a variant of GPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3), a state-of-the-art natural language processing model.

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Short on time? Here’s the skinny.

“Whether you are a small law firm owner, a legal secretary or a private investigator, there are ways that ChatGPT and other AIs can help you perform your job more efficiently.” – David Arato, Attorney At Law Magazine

Preach Mr. Arato!

Here’s a list of Do’s and Dont’s when it comes to ChatGPT.

Do’s

  • Access it here for free (for now) at https://chat.openai.com/chat and start learning its abilities and limitations for yourself. Have some fun with it. It will remind you of when Siri, Alexa & Co were introduced to the world. Protip – the clearer you are in your prompts, the better the results are.
  • It’s fair game to use for social media posts, email outreach, newsletters, discovery, feedback, various repetitive and time-consuming tasks, drafting templates, and even turning down invitations to dine with the in-laws!
  • Fact check info. ChatGPT has been trained on data up to 2021. Errors will creep in. It will show programmatic biases. It will miss the mark if prompts aren’t dialed in. It will occasionally get derailed by trick questions. Future version updates will aim to improve these and we saw impressive progress with the latest version update rollout on Jan 9th.
  • Adhere to your bar guidelines governing advertising.
  • Maintain control of your high level of ethical standards and customer service.

Don’ts

  • Using it for long-form copy on web pages is risky. Google can allegedly detect AI-generated content and will penalize for it. You’ve been warned. Tread with caution. Nifty has never used AI-generated content for web pages, even as a baseline. We recommend following Google’s admonition to write content by people, for peopleGoogle’s “Helpful Content Update” aims to enforce that.
  • Blindly trust its outputs. Like a child prodigy, it’s still learning.

Other things to know:

  • One of the current limitations of A.I. is the inability to experience first-hand knowledge or experience with a legal matter. Google’s going to be putting more algorithmic weight in (and rewarding) pages that demonstrate a high level of experience. This will be key to your digital marketing strategy’s ongoing success.
  • ChatGPT will eventually watermark its content. However, our prediction is new versions of content spinners will provide an effective way to quickly strip formatting and work around detection.
  • Lawyers who take the risk of opening this up full bore with content generation to get ahead of the competition and shortcut the system may experience short-term gains, but will eventually fall. Building content with AI, without human influence, is a sinking ship. Write the content yourself and follow Google’s guidelines.

Whatever the future has in store, we’ll be right there alongside you. Much is to be gained as we journey together into this wild new frontier.