One year ago, ChatGPT, a powerful language model developed by OpenAI, took the world by storm to become the fastest growing consumer tech product in history. Today, ChatGPT and GPT — the large language model (LLM) behind ChatGPT’s almost all-knowing chatbot interface — are powering an intelligence revolution that’s sweeping through the legal ops industry. Let’s explore five ways legal professionals can leverage ChatGPT for various tasks, from drafting contracts to brainstorming more engaging blog posts.
Before delving into ChatGPT prompts you can use right now to automate and streamline your legal workflows, it’s important to understand at least a little about how LLMs and chatbots work.
An LLM is a type of artificial intelligence that can understand, summarize, generate and predict new content. LLMs are a type of generative AI that generates text, including English (and other written languages), computer code, and even complex industry-specific writing — like legalese. OpenAI’s GPT-4 is the latest version of the model that powers thousands of use cases and apps across a variety of industries, including some Ironclad functionality. And, the aforementioned ChatGPT chatbot is powered by GPT.
Speaking of which, a chatbot is an application that simulates human conversation. ChatGPT is one of many chatbots powered by AI. Chatbots can also be built without AI, instead using other programming techniques. An AI-powered chatbot like ChatGPT isn’t programmed, but rather prompted. The user prompts ChatGPT, and ChatGPT responds in kind, turn by turn like a very well-ordered conversation.
Effective prompting is art and science, and while OpenAI is adding new features to extend ChatGPT’s power and personalization capabilities, successful use of any chatbot starts with good prompting. Treating your interaction with ChatGPT as a dynamic conversation can unlock its full potential, including as the superstar legal ops assistant you always wish you had at your beck and call.
Guidelines for Effective Prompting
1. Be Specific
Clearly define your requirements. The more specific your prompt, the more tailored and relevant the response will be.
2. Experiment and Iterate
Don’t hesitate to experiment with different phrasings or details in your prompts. Iterate and refine until you get what you’re looking for. Remember that with GenAI chatbots like ChatGPT, “what you’re looking for” is more often an outline or leaping off point than final draft or ready-to-go work product of any sort.
3. Engage in a Conversation
Treat your interaction with ChatGPT as a conversation. Provide context, ask follow-up questions, and refine your prompts based on the model’s responses. While there’s no evidence that being nice or polite to ChatGPT yields “better” results, most bots at least act like they, too, think it never hurts to say please and thank you.
4. Check and Refine
Review all generated content critically, and never publish, share, or otherwise act on any responses without reading everything through first. ChatGPT is powerful, but you always need a human in the loop. It’s important to validate AI generated information and make necessary adjustments to align with your expertise. In other words, edit any AI’s output like you would that of any other source — with your own critical eye above all else.
Before getting to the prompts, one last word — and it’s an important one — about safety and security: Never use real data, client or internal, in your interactions with ChatGPT (or any chatbot). Tempting as it is to upload or cut-and-paste contracts, emails, and other data as-is and let ChatGPT do its thing, ChatGPT is a consumer grade application. Take the time to redact all sensitive data from anything you’re feeding into an AI model, and check your company policies on data and LLM usage, before you get started.
If you feel more comfortable with generative AI that works safely within the confines of enterprise-grade security, look for a CLM that incorporates LLMs — and strong data protection guardrails — right into its tech stack. That way, you can work with your own contract data without exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.
Example Prompts for Legal Pros
Get started with these five examples of how to use ChatGPT as your always-ready legal assistant.
Start a new chat and enter any of the example prompts below. Tweak them to fit your needs first, or just them as is. You can — and should — ask for edits and new ideas as you converse with ChatGPT.
ProTip: Use the New Chat button to start a new conversation for each example prompt you want to try. Each new conversation erases all context for ChatGPT, so it’s like entering your prompt on a blank slate. You can save and manage chats, refining and expanding them over time, or setting them up like templates to reuse and return to again and again.
1. Generating Contract Templates
One of the standout features of ChatGPT is its ability to streamline the often time-consuming task of drafting contracts. Give ChatGPT a concise prompt, and you can generate contract templates tailored to your specific needs. Ask the chatbot to iterate on specific portions until they’re perfect, or just grab the parts you like and write the rest yourself.
Example Prompt: “Create a standard employment contract template compliant with current labor laws, emphasizing non-disclosure clauses.”
2. Negotiation Talking Points
Navigating the complexities of negotiations can be challenging. ChatGPT is your ally at the table, helping you craft talking points for specific contractual issues. Prompt the bot with the relevant details, and let the AI help you generate coherent and persuasive talking points to strengthen your negotiation strategy.
Example Prompt: “Provide key talking points for negotiating indemnification terms in a software development agreement.”
3. Legal Analysis and Presentation Projects
Beat writer’s block and channel new creativity by brainstorming legal analysis and presentation projects with ChatGPT. Whether summarizing privacy laws for a slide deck or analyzing intricate securities regulations, GPT can help with concise and clear insights to build your in-depth arguments upon.
Example Prompt: “Summarize recent changes in data privacy laws for a slide deck overview. Focus on implications for businesses operating internationally.”
4. Blog Post Writing
Content is key when it comes to establishing thought leadership in the legal domain. ChatGPT is the ultimate brainstorming partner for generating engaging blog posts. Prompt the bot to outline a specific type of content on a particular legal topic, and with a bit of back and forth you’ll have a content blueprint customized to suit your unique perspectives and insights — or those of the execs you ghostwrite for.
Example Prompt: “Generate three versions of outlines for a blog post discussing the impact of recent court decisions on intellectual property rights in the tech industry.”
5. Outline for a Speaking Engagement
Preparing for a speaking engagement can be time-consuming, but never fear! ChatGPT can simplify the process. Just ask the bot to generate outlines for your presentations, and direct it to cover all crucial points of information while maintaining a logical flow. Use the chatbot as your brainstorming partner until you land on an outline you like. Now you can focus more on refining your delivery and preparing to address audience questions.
Example Prompt: “Create an outline for a 15-minute presentation on emerging trends in securities regulation, covering key compliance challenges and potential solutions.”
The Beginning of a Beautiful, and Artificial, Relationship
ChatGPT is a versatile and powerful tool that can really help in many aspects of legal work. From simplifying the drafting of contracts to providing insights for complex legal analyses, LLM-powered chatbots like ChatGPT empower legal professionals to work more efficiently and creatively.
The art of prompting is the key to unlocking the full potential of ChatGPT in legal operations. By treating the interactions as conversations and experimenting with prompts, legal professionals can harness the power of generative AI to streamline tasks, enhance creativity, and stay ahead in the ever-evolving legal landscape. Remember, prompting AI chatbots is part art and part science. And it’s also a fast-moving field hatching new capabilities all the time. So experiment, think logically, and have fun!
Ironclad is not a law firm, and this post does not constitute or contain legal advice. To evaluate the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability of the ideas and guidance reflected here, or the applicability of these materials to your business, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Use of and access to any of the resources contained within Ironclad’s site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the user and Ironclad.
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