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10 Ways Lawyers Can Unlock the Potential of ChatGPT

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10 Ways Lawyers Can Unlock the Potential of ChatGPT

You’ve probably seen many recent headlines about ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot that generates human-like responses to questions. In my last article, I explained what it is and why it matters to lawyers. In this article, I’ll explore ten ways legal professionals can use ChatGPT in their daily workflow, including for legal research, writing, client service, and more.

For the use cases listed below, you can query either ChatGPT or, if you have access to it, Bing’s new ChatGPT tool . While both chatbots provide helpful answers, Bing’s database is more current. Bing’s results also include citations that allow you to view the website from which the information was obtained.

When using ChatGPT, it’s essential that you already have a sufficient knowledge base regarding the topics you’re enquiring about. With AI chatbots, the goal is to save time and hone in on key issues. These tools cannot replace lawyers or legal expertise; it’s up to you to analyze the responses and revise them accordingly so that they are ultimately accurate and meet your needs.

Remember that no matter the query, you’ll obtain the best results by ensuring that your question is as detailed as possible. Provide sufficient context regarding your role in the scenario, any necessary jurisdictional information, and the desired end product. Then carefully review the output and cross-check it with reliable sources if needed. 

Since the ethical issues presented by this technology haven’t been fully vetted at this early stage, it’s advisable to keep client confidentiality in mind and craft queries that don’t disclose any identifiable client information that may be confidential.

That said, let’s dive in and explore ways that legal professionals can use ChatGPT technology. Below I list ten ways to use ChatGPT as part of your preliminary workflow process across a variety of situations, including legal research, document drafting, trial preparation, law firm management, and more. I tested each concept before including it in this article and found the output provided to be helpful and a great starting point.

    1. Summarize a legal concept: You can replace a legal dictionary by requesting that “res ipsa loquitor” or “sui generis” be defined and explained. You can ask for a general definition or limit it to your jurisdiction’s interpretation. You’ll find that the response will be a great starting point for your research.
    2. Summarize a case: Provide a case citation and request a summary. The response will consist of a short description of the facts, the issues presented, the court’s ruling, and possibly the significance of the decision.
    3. Summarize transcripts: Enter text from a transcript and request a summary. There is a limit to the number of characters you can enter in a single query, so you may have to enter a few pages at a time. 
    4. Draft sample agreements like NDAs: ChatGPT will often provide a draft that is a good starting point from which you can craft a robust document.
    5. Create questions for direct or cross-examination: Specify the issues unique to your case and use the resulting questions as food for thought when crafting your direct or cross-examination of a witness.
    6. Voir dire: Your query should identify the type of case and an issue you’d like to explore and then craft your voir dire using the resulting output.
    7. Draft client intake forms: Request that forms be created for specific types of cases, and modify the results to suit your needs.
    8. Draft a retainer agreement: Identify key clauses and concepts you’d like included and update the document provided to include information specific to your firm and the client’s case.
    9. Letters to clients: Draft opening and closing letters for different cases and then create templates that can be easily replicated across matters.
    10. Letters to opposing counsel: Among others, you can request demand or cease and desist letters. The chatbot will provide a working draft that can serve as the basis for a more detailed request specific to your case.

As you can see, ChatGPT has the potential to streamline and improve the quality of your work. Certainly, it doesn’t replace your professional expertise and judgment. Instead, it provides a complementary tool that helps you work more efficiently and effectively. 

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are the future, and I fully expect that they’ll rapidly become part of the daily workflow of lawyers. You’ll soon find that even if you’re not using this technology, there’s a good chance that your opponents will.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the head of SME and External Education at MyCase  law practice management software, an AffiniPay company. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes legal technology columns for Above the Law and ABA Journal and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. You can follow her on Twitter at @nikiblack or email her at [email protected].