How to use ChatGPT for lawyers

ChatGPT is a new kind of legal assistant for lawyers when it comes to streamlining their day-to-day tasks, such as drafting legal documents, conducting legal research, or summarizing proceedings. 

To fully take advantage of ChatGPT, you must be familiar with certain tactics, such as how to write effective ChatGPT prompts or what amount of text is best for generating desired responses.

This article provides tips to these and other inquiries, and describes five ways how lawyers can use ChatGPT in their legal practice.

ChatGPT is your savior when it comes to generating basic legal documents, such as contracts, agreements, and notices. 

Create document templates

Indicate the type of document you need and the AI model will generate a natural language output.

Your prompt may be phrased as follows:

“Create a template for a non-disclosure agreement in accordance with the laws of Virginia.”

If you want to create a template from your existing document, copy and paste it into the chat and use the following prompt:

“Create a template from the document above with editable fields.”

AI chatbots work best as a proofreader when you provide it with small portions of text.

Divide your text into pieces and enter in a prompt to proofread each section.

Get language suggestions

If you have your own template, ask ChatGPT to review it for clarity and structure.

Write a prompt to help you rephrase sentences, suggest alternative headings, and reorganize sections.

ChatGPT is not just handy for generating legal documents — it is also capable of serious analysis, identifying logical errors and presenting key takeaways.

If you need to analyze and extract key legal information from an agreement, input the following prompt:

“Analyze the following legal document: [text]. Identify the parties involved, the main purpose of the document, and extract key terms from the text.”

Apart from legal analysis of docs, ChatGPT does summaries of briefs, discovery files, contracts, and other types of legal documentation.

When writing a prompt, keep your request precise — specify the length of a summary, preferred style choice, or paragraph count.

Here are examples of prompts you can use:

  • Please summarize the following research in 200 words [text].
  • Can you summarize the main points of this study in bullet points in 3 paragraphs? [study].
  • Create a 2 to 3 sentence summary of this brief [text].

Using ChatGPT for analysis or summary has a limitation of 4096 tokens, which is equivalent to 11 text pages. Keep that in mind when writing a prompt to summarize a lengthy document.

Since ChatGPT is trained on a large asset of public data, it can easily access legal materials, such as court opinions, precedents, and case law. 

If a legal professional is looking for a particular sector of legal cases, writing a specific prompt may very well solve the issue (instead of scrolling Google for hours. 

For example,

“Do legal research on [legal issue or topic]. Provide a summary of regulations and make a list of key terms used in a law.”

The ability of ChatGPT to provide a summary of legal documents, citations, and links to the original data helps build stronger legal arguments and better prepare for a meeting with clients. 

However, always fact-check and validate information generated by ChatGPT. Since the tool produces content based on the data it’s been trained on, some information can be inaccurate or even false.

Therefore, use the AI model as a starting point for researching legal cases and references to safeguard your legal practice.

While ChatGPT is more accurate than its predecessor, its knowledge is still limited to data up until 2021. 

Use ChatGPT to respond to clients’ emails

ChatGPT can generate a response to a client email from scratch or create one using your notes.

To begin, provide context by copying and pasting an email from your client. If the email is long, divide it into sections and ask the language model to summarize it using bullet points. 

Write a detailed prompt like this one:

“I need to respond to an email from a client asking about cooperation details [insert email]. Can you help me write a response?” 

After ChatGPT generates a response, be sure to fact-check and adjust the output with details.

Fine-tune the tone of your response in order to make the right impression on your client. Your prompt may sound like

“Adjust an email response with a more professional and polite tone of voice.”

Pay attention to the length of your email — it is best to stay brief and to the point.

If you receive similar requests and inquiries from clients every day, ask ChatGPT to generate an email template. For example,

Create an email template for the following services our firm offers: [list services].”

Because ChatGPT is trained on a dataset of texts from various languages, it captures contextual meanings and idiomatic expressions unique to each language.

This quality makes ChatGPT a reliable tool for translating legal data in comparison to Google Translate, which conducts literal word-to-word translations in most cases.

These guidelines will help you to get an accurate translation for legal content:

  • Clearly specify the source and target languages in your prompt.
  • Provide contextual details about the translation — it will help the tool to adjust to legal terminology.
  • Write in the type of text you’re translating — e.g. an employee agreement, non-disclosure agreement, or memorandum of understanding.
  • Indicate a target audience or industry you are translating your doc for to avoid technical terminology or inappropriate results.
  • Always proofread and verify translations for accuracy.

Here is a prompt you can use:

“Translate an employee agreement from English to French. The agreement is for a French IT company.”

Alongside ChatGPT, there are other tools capable of streamlining law firms’ duties.

PandaDoc, for instance, provides the Panda AI tool, which you can use to generate legal documents.

Powered by OpenAI, this tool enables you to create legal content based on your prompts, receive language suggestions, and ensure that your text is grammatically correct.

Furthermore, you can use a variety of starter PandaDoc templates, including those designed specifically for legal documents.

Use features like e-Signature for convenience or audit trail to stay on top of who viewed or edited your doc.