ChatGPT and the Effect on Personal Injury Law Firms

by Theresa Andrews | January 6, 2023

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that was released in November 2022 by OpenAI. This is a fancy way of saying it’s a machine trained to respond accurately and appropriately to conversational prompts. It is currently released as a testing preview, meaning users can try it out for free and provide feedback for future updates.

This is not the first of its kind; chatbots have been around for years providing initial customer service answers, locating information on a website, or directing users to places they want to go on a map. Think Alexa and Siri. The difference with ChatGPT is that it is not simply gathering information from the world wide web. It has been trained using Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF). Humans playing roles of the bot and the user with loads of data made ChatGPT the first bot with not only accurate information, but also behavior that simulates a conscience.

In a recent article on Reuters, ChatGPT was asked how to do something illegal. The response focused on why a person should not commit illegal acts. Ask it how to bully someone and get several paragraphs about why bullying is not okay and hurts others. Earlier versions provided the information it was asked for regardless of intent to harm.

How does this affect personal injury lawyers?

If ChatGPT is prompted with a legal question, it will respond, “It is not ethical for me to provide legal advice as I am not a qualified legal professional.” But that doesn’t mean it’s not providing legal information (along with this statement) if asked for it. Some initial testing shows that the answers are accurate, informative, and well-written. You can continue conversations with follow-up questions for more details as needed. It is capable of writing sound legal arguments and summarizing gathered information.

Are your clients ready to have a conversation with ChatGPT rather than a person? Most likely, no. Potential clients of personal injury attorneys, as we know, are in a vulnerable place in their lives. The emotional and financial impact of getting hurt, losing a loved one by medical malpractice, or any other wrongful death scenario puts more value on personal trust and confidence.

 

Could ChatGPT help personal injury lawyers with their marketing?

In some instances, it can provide a tool for gathering information. However, it does caution that some answers are not accurate – it is the first prompt when you sign in to use it. Given the guidelines on law firm marketing governed by the Bar Association in each state, it is critical that marketers have the most up-to-date and accurate information.

With the claims that ChatGPT can write proficient essays, cj Advertising had to see if it could write an accurate blog. So, we asked.

It’s not bad. However, key elements needed for any blog are obviously missing – headers, keywords, calls to action, and (most importantly) your brand voice and tone. The words and sentence structure in this blog are also very familiar, so undoubtedly it would result in an SEO penalty for duplicate content. Search Engine Journal’s latest article on this reminds us that Google has an algorithm to detect AI generated content, so it is still considered a violation of its guidelines to use it.

But if someone who just had a car accident asked the chatbot a similar question to this, it could lead to an organic search for “auto accident attorney near me.”

 

ChatGPT as a lead source

Regardless of your view on AI, it will have its place in law practice in the coming years. Internally, it has the potential to save thousands of hours of manpower researching, writing necessary documents, transcribing, or assisting depositions. It could also become the “WebMD” of the legal profession. Tell it what happened, ask for legal options, and take those to an attorney.

 

Answers such as these could influence people to reach out to an attorney when they normally wouldn’t have thought they had a chance. In the same perspective, it also shows the need for a real person answering the phone when they call. This AI-powered phenomenon doesn’t know all the details, has no context as to real life happenings, and provides a simple answer to a very complex system when it comes to burden of proof.

 

The value of human connection

Expansive research has been done, especially as the world went through the Covid pandemic, that has proven how necessary human connection is in leading healthy lives. Personal injury attorneys and marketing companies have many tools in their arsenal to get the job done daily. ChatGPT is simply one of those tools. It should not replace human connection and context. That is the value that the your potential clients are looking for when choosing a firm to fight for them.

 

If you would like to know more about OpenAI and how ChatGPT works, check out their release video. And, yes, it’s narrated by a ChatGPT voice.