By Ken Hardison
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become one of the hottest topics taking the business world by storm. This cutting edged technology has tremendous application for today’s law firms. Unlike the Metaverse, which garnered significant initial interest but has yet to deliver appreciable results, AI is already a potential game changer for users who grasp its applicability. AI is machine displayed intelligence that simulates human behavior or thinking and can be trained to solve specific problems. It is a combination of both machine learning techniques and deep learning. AI models are trained to digest vast volumes of data, extrapolating relevant portions with the ability to make intelligent decisions. Although AI sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, it is real technology with a host of direct application opportunities for today’s user. In fact, you probably already interact with some form of AI on a daily basis. From smartphones to chatbots, AI is operational in a host of settings, but its use is going to increase exponentially this year.
ChatGPT is the current AI forerunner capturing massive attention since its launch in November 2022. ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is owned by OpenAI, but Microsoft provides the cloud-computing back end. To solidify its presence and capitalize on its relationship with Chat GPT, Microsoft has invested over $10 billion dollars in the platform. And no wonder, since users are flocking to ChatGPT in record breaking numbers, with over a hundred million users since November. No other app in history has reached this benchmark in such a short period of time. While ChatGPT is free at the moment, they are planning to launch a more advanced paid version in the near future, for $20.00/mo. And Chat GPT is not the only player in the AI field. Microsoft now offers features derived from ChatGPT in its search engine, Bing. Not to be outdone, Google has released Bard- its own version of ChatGPT.
So, what does all this mean for you and your law firm? Today’s successful law firm owners should pay attention to AI and use it to improve their firm’s marketing and management efforts. Far too many lawyers failed to jump on the Internet when it first emerged years ago, considering it a temporary fad. They didn’t understand it and didn’t want to deal with it. They didn’t make building a robust website a priority. They didn’t create organic, relevant, and searchable content that search engines respond to and rank. They avoided embracing the digital age and did so to their detriment. In contrast, younger, more discerning, and more hard-charging lawyers recognized the potential power of the Internet and adapted to this change. They educated themselves and took action to create digital marketing plans aimed to reach Internet consumers. As a result, they were able to dominate their digital markets and continue to grow, leveraging the Internet to their advantage more easily. Today, these are the lawyers who land on and retain their standing on Googles GMB 3-pack. They are amassing large numbers of Google 5-star reviews and have significant branding presence across the relevant social media platforms. Those law firm owners who were slow to take action, are still trying to play catch up.
I caution each of you to not do the same thing when it comes to AI. Don’t be slow to act. Don’t stick your head in the sand like an ostrich, because you don’t understand AI and don’t want to deal with it. Artificial intelligence is here and it’s only going to grow in its importance and in the opportunity it offers the discerning law firm owner. Although AI is still in its infancy, it will grow and will become part of how we do business in the world from now on. You can hop on board, or you can be left behind, the choice is yours.
So how can we use Artificial Intelligence to help grow our law firms? I want to discuss two different avenues: law firm marketing and law firm management.
MARKETING WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
AI gives you some powerful tools to help you in marketing your law firm. You can use artificial intelligence in apps like ChatGPT to do all of the following:
- Write email campaigns for you.
- Write blogs for your website.
- Create website content.
- Create social media posts.
- Create headlines.
- Use Canva (which now has an artificial intelligence version) and another new app, Dalle, to create original pictures and photographs.
Although AI is groundbreaking, it will not replace the human being. Some critics are concerned that artificial intelligence is going to take human jobs, but this is unlikely. AI doesn’t replace a human’s eyes, intellect, creativity, and judgment, but AI apps such as ChatGPT will allow you to perform many tasks much quicker and easier than before. For example, Chat GPT can write an article or generate content for your website in 15 to 30 seconds where it might take a writer 2 or 3 hours to complete the same task. In practice, you give it the key words and phrases that you want it to search for and it uses its “intelligence” to peruse reams of available internet data, and then quickly produce what it thinks is the best fit. AI enables you to create more content and do so more efficiently than you could working alone. While this is a huge potential time saver, in its raw form, the AI results have two distinct but correctable drawbacks:
1) It is not always factually correct because it is a machine, working with formulas, and words as raw data, and is limited to the data available to it on the internet and within a very recent time frame;
2) The raw results could contain plagiarized material, because AI’s job is to search the internet for words/phrases/content that fits the parameters you’ve set, which could in fact, contain direct quotes from other internet sources. Fortunately, as indicated, these two drawbacks are easily correctable.
Human fact checks: In an abundance of caution, after you obtain your initial AI results, make sure a person performs a fact check to make sure that the information is correct since ChatGPT now only draws from Internet information posted as of January 2022. If important information on your topic was posted prior to that date, it is unlikely to show up in your AI results. Thankfully, the new version of ChatGPT that should be coming out in the near future does not have this date limitation. Other AI apps such as Bard and Bing should also help overcome this drawback.
Plagiarism check: Secondly, you should check your AI results for inadvertent plagiarism. You can quickly and easily avoid plagiarism by running the results through a paraphraser or rephraser such as QuillBot.com or Copy.AI.
Current AI such as Chat GPT enables you to quickly and easily create a tremendous amount of relevant content and copy, thereby saving you and your marketing staff hours of time and effort. By using AI to produce quick initial drafts, and then adding a human review for fact checking, plagiarism protection, and any personal touches or tweaks, you will have quality results in a fraction of the time it would normally take you or your staff to produce the same amount of copy alone.
MANAGING YOUR LAW FIRM WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Here are just a few of the ways that you can use artificial intelligence to help run a more efficient law firm today:
- Use it to draft settlement demands.
- Use it to draft releases.
- Use it to create contracts and non-disclosure agreements for all your employees and non-competes for your staff.
- Use it to create reserve letters to insurance companies.
- Use it to create future lost wage analysis statements.
- Use it to create future medical bill assessments for clients with a permanent injury or disability rating.
- Use it to draft an employee manual for an employment lawyer to review.
- Combine AI with Offshore staff, to dramatically reduce your staffing costs.
We are just now discovering all the ways in which AI can improve a law firm’s marketing and management efforts. In the coming months and years, and as AI and all its different apps and applications continue to evolve, there will be a plethora of ways in which you can leverage AI to propel your firm’s marketing efforts and manage your firm more efficiently and effectively. Although AI will not replace people, it will make people more productive, and efficient. It will allow firms to provide better client service and it will improve law firm marketing efforts, saving firms both time and money.
The Key To Effective AI Use Is Understanding How To Frame The Inquiry: If you want to get the most out of AI at this stage of its development, the key is understating how to properly frame your AI inquiry, or “prompts.” I encourage you to look for courses or presentations on how to create effective prompts so that you obtain the best AI information and results. Once you and/or your staff learn the proper way to ask for information, you will see tremendous results.
Artificial intelligence is for the business world, what the microchip was for the computer. We’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg. With Google and Microsoft doubling down on AI, its features and usefulness will only grow in the coming months and years. Don’t be left behind, as many lawyers were when the Internet first emerged. Instead, embrace AI, play with it, test it, and experiment with the different ways you can use it to grow and improve your law practice.