The Do’s and Don’ts of Using AI to Generate Marketing Content for Law Firms

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It’s an understatement to say that generative AI has taken the world by storm. It’s hard to go a day without hearing about ChatGPT or another new application in the news, and the pace of development is dizzying. In response,  there have been calls to halt development in order to fully explore the risks to society raised by generative AI, and some countries have even moved to ban it outright.

All of that said, it is clear that generative AI will change the way everyone works, and businesses that do not adapt and integrate AI into their workflows will be left behind. This leaves law firms in a difficult position, especially when it comes to using AI to create content or work product.

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Lawyers should be busy practicing law, not writing blogs. Of course, one option is to outsource your legal content marketing efforts to the experts – But if you are going to try to use AI to improve your content marketing efforts, here are some Dos and Don’ts to ensure that your content marketing is compliant with professional ethics and does not inadvertently hurt your rankings in the SERPs.

Do: Use AI to Make Content Creation More Efficient

There is no doubt that generative AI can help you get more content out faster. That said, you can’t blindly rely on AI to do everything. Some of the ways in which you can leverage AI to help with your content creation include:

  • Outlining
  • Providing lists (g., “provide a list of car accident injuries”)
  • Creating Calls to Action
  • Overcoming writer’s block

All in all, AI can get you started, but, as I discuss below, a human touch is essential.

Don’t: Post AI-Generated Content without Reviewing for Accuracy and Significantly Editing It

The last thing you should do with AI content is post it on your website without conducting a thorough review of its output. It is a well-known fact that AI can “hallucinate,” and it’s safe to say that you do not want to end up with a misstatement of law or fact on your website. Doing so can look unprofessional and even get you in trouble with your state licensing authority.

For instance, the statute of limitations in Colorado for personal injury is two years. Let’s take a look at what ChatGPT has to say about that:

Quote from AI

Clearly, it’s not a good idea to rely on ChatGPT’s output for legal accuracy. As a result, it’s critical to thoroughly fact-check anything it provides.

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There is also an issue regarding ownership of the content you generate with AI. According to recent guidance provided by the U.S. Copyright Office, content created by generative AI is not copyrightable unless it is one of “basically human authorship.” In other words, if all you do is provide a prompt and make a few edits, you do not own the content that the AI generates.

Do: Use AI to Get Content Ideas

In many cases, the hardest part of creating content is figuring out what to write about – especially if you are creating content on a regular basis. Topic ideation is an area where AI can save you hours of time coming up with blog post ideas. In fact, it can even suggest new practice area pages to add to your website. Best of all, if you don’t like what it provides, you can ask it to tweak the list to your liking.

When it comes to getting blog topic ideas, the more information, the better. For example, you should tell it to create consumer-facing content – if that’s what you’re going for, of course – and direct it to focus on your specific areas of law. For example, a good prompt may be:

Provide 10 blog titles for a personal injury blog, focusing on issues that are important to accident victims.

Don’t: Expect AI to Create Thought Leadership Content

Large Language Models – the technology that underlies generate AI – can be thought of as an extremely advanced form of predictive text. As a result, while it is creating original content, it is not coming up with original ideas. Anything it generates is based on what it has “read” on the internet.

If you are trying to create thought leadership content – which you should, if you want to demonstrate experience, expertise, authority, and trust (E-E-A-T) to your readers and Google – don’t rely on ChatGPT or other forms of generative AI. At this point, creating.

Remember that It Takes Time and Effort to Use AI, Too

Before you look to generative AI as a panacea of easy content creation, remember that it takes time and effort to learn how to use it.

In a regulated profession like law, where every blog or social media post is subject to the rules of the state bar. For this reason, lawyers and law firm marketing agencies shouldn’t turn over the content marketing reigns to AI.

Learning how to prompt AI to provide the content you’d like is a skill in itself and one that requires a deep understanding of how these models work. In addition, fact-checking the output and ensuring that it is compliant with bar advertising rules can be an onerous task – to the extent that, in some cases, it may be faster to just write your content from scratch.

Generative AI Has Its Place in Creating Legal Content Marketing

Tools like ChatGPT can make the process of creating faster and easier – but they have to be used correctly. At the end of the day, generative AI can be a valuable tool for creating legal content marketing. It can help lawyers and law firms streamline their content creation process, generate new ideas, and save time. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not a substitute for human expertise and creativity.

Using generative AI effectively requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and judgment. By investing the time and effort required to learn how to use it properly, lawyers and law firms can harness the power of AI to create high-quality, compliant content that resonates with their target audience.

David Arato

David is a 2009 graduate of the St. Louis University School of Law. He got his start in legal marketing at a now-defunct legal marketing agency as a content writer. It was during this experience David recognized the issues firms and agencies have sourcing quality legal content at scale and founded Lexicon Legal Content to solve these problems. Since 2012, Lexicon has been providing firms and marketing agencies with accurate, optimized, and ethics-compliant content across a variety of practice areas and jurisdictions.

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