More Reasons to Exercise Caution When Considering Using Generative AI Tools to Market Your Law Firm

Before you entrust all of your law firm marketing needs to tools like ChatGPT, it’s best to take some time to understand the limitations and potential issues that could arise as a result.

If it seems like the term “generative artificial intelligence” (or generative AI, for short) is suddenly everywhere, you are far from alone. The last two years have seen the meteoric rise of generative AI tools that have introduced countless possibilities and considerations across every sector. When OpenAI made ChatGPT available to the public, experts from every industry responded with think pieces and opinions about how these generative content tools could reshape and radically transform any field, from healthcare to education to marketing. As we’ve had several months to explore the capabilities (and limitations) of these generative AI tools, now is a good time to reflect on whether they are truly as threatening as some initially feared or whether they may offer a few advantages in certain situations. After an attorney in New York was criticized for using ChatGPT to compose legal briefs (which ended up drawing from made-up cases and included several other errors), legal professionals are voicing their concerns about relying too heavily on generative AI tools. However, some law firms may wonder whether using tools like ChatGPT to create content for their websites and social media posts may be a worthwhile investment, especially if such tools can save them valuable time and money. Let’s take a look at some of the potential upsides of generative AI in digital marketing, as well as some essential reasons to proceed with caution—at least for now.

What Are Generative AI Tools?

First, it’s helpful to understand what generative AI tools are and what they can do. Artificial intelligence involves computer systems that can “perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, decision making, and perception. AI systems are designed to analyze and interpret complex data, identify patterns and trends, and make predictions based on that data.” Essentially, generative AI tools are trained to scan a seemingly infinite number of sources (typically those found on the internet) and provide answers to questions and requests within a matter of minutes. For example, someone could ask ChatGPT to provide a vegetarian-friendly recipe using pinto beans, and ChatGPT would search the internet, pull any relevant information, and compose a response within seconds. It’s important to recognize that generative AI has been around for several decades (i.e., editing tools like Grammarly, Microsoft Word’s autocomplete function, translation tools, predictive texting tools, etc.). However, the release of ChatGPT presents more complex and far-ranging capabilities and implications.

Recognizing the Limitations of Generative AI in Digital Marketing

When ChatGPT became available, the digital marketing landscape experienced a considerable amount of turbulence and instability. If these cheap tools can create original marketing content, why pay more for a human to accomplish this task (and take considerably longer to complete it)? Before you entrust all of your marketing needs to tools like ChatGPT, it’s best to take some time to understand the limitations and potential issues that could arise as a result.

Factual Inaccuracies or Nonsensical Content

One of the most significant drawbacks of generative AI tools is that they may compose the text that contains factual inaccuracies or draws from less-than-credible sources. Even OpenAI has added the following warning to its ChatGPT website: “ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers. Fixing this issue is challenging, as (1) during RL training, there’s currently no source of truth; (2) training the model to be more cautious causes it to decline questions that it can answer correctly; and (3) supervised training misleads the model because the ideal answer depends on what the model knows, rather than what the human demonstrator knows.” Attorneys and law firms that rely on these tools to generate content for their websites should, at a minimum, review the AI-created content for mistakes, errors, and factual inaccuracies.

Stilted and Unnatural-Sounding Content

Another drawback of generative AI content creation is that the results can come across as stiff, awkward, or simply “off.” These models tend to overuse certain phrases, and the syntax can sometimes be rambling, confusing, or grammatically incorrect. Many site visitors cannot point to an exact word or phrase that is making the content feel awkward or unnatural; instead, the vague word choices, repetitive syntax, or other stilted phrasings can add up to create a reading experience that lacks the flow and cadence of a human-written webpage. Potential clients looking for legal services favor websites that were written carefully and thoughtfully by humans over more generic-sounding websites created by generative AI tools.

Confidentiality and Cybersecurity Risks

Whenever someone uses generative AI tools like ChatGPT, there is a risk of cyber-attacks or data breaches. Giving these tools access to sensitive information (which is typically stored on law firm servicers or in cloud-based systems) can leave private data more vulnerable to security breaches and leaks. Additionally, the information you submit to a generative AI tool usually goes to a third-party server controlled by the platform. Posting any sensitive details or entering them into the query box puts confidential information at risk. Be sure to comply with your state and professional ethical guidelines, especially when using these tools.

Clients Appreciate the Human Touch

There’s no reason to avoid AI tools at all costs; instead, take some time to identify what benefits they bring (and make sure the advantages outweigh the potential risks). For example, you can implement automation tools into your law firm’s website that allow your clients to schedule an appointment at their convenience. You can also use ChatGPT or similar tools to help you come up with blog topics or ideas for engaging social media posts. However, when it comes to writing the actual content, stick with human-generated posts. There is still an essential human quality to content written by actual people that AI tools cannot capture. For now, trust that the words you write make a stronger impact on and resonate with potential clients than any vague content thrown together by artificial intelligence.

As you explore your options for creating an impactful and effective digital marketing strategy for your law firm, it’s helpful to work with a knowledgeable digital marketing team that can develop a comprehensive and fully customized approach. Give LegalRev a call today at (800) 893-2590 to discuss your marketing goals.

October 10, 2023