Anecdotally, ChatGPT is a non-starter for law firms and legal marketing agencies. That’s based on the discussions I had with lawyers and marketers at the Legal Marketing Association 2023 conference in Hollywood, FL.

The moment ChatGPT 3 was released in late November, I knew it would be a big deal in the industry. I immediately started playing around with it and, honestly, was a little scared. This is absolutely the best large language model that’s ever been released to the public. I wrote a piece about ChatGPT that’s been updated a few times. Conrad Saam, John Reid, and I had a discussion about what we thought we knew about ChatGPT in December. Much of what we said then wasn’t correct, but I think we were pretty spot on in some cases. Check out the video if you have some time.

Our Conversations at LMA 2023

This is the first year that Blue Seven Content has attended a major industry conference. Going in, we fully expected that there would be conversations about ChatGPT. We honestly thought the questions would revolve around why companies or law firms should use our team as opposed to plopping their request into a system that’s inexpensive and can work non-stop.

Let’s face it – human writers are going to cost more, especially if you want original, researched, and optimized content. We know that, and we have to be able to talk to people about why we (or any legal content writer) are better than AI. If we can’t properly explain it, much less actually do it, the business is doomed to fail.

But we were ready – the questions came, usually in some variation of:

“How have you responded to ChatGPT?”

“Have you lost any clients due to ChatGPT?”

“Do you use ChatGPT?”

“How do you know writers aren’t using ChatGPT?”

“Do you fact-check all of your work?”

I won’t delve into in-depth answers for all of this other than to say we’ve responded as a company, we certainly encourage the use of any tools that can help generate (not write) ideas, and yes, we fact-check our work.

We’ve recently updated our slogan to include “Attorney driven, human-curated.” Our goal is to stress that this business is partially owned by a practicing attorney (with many other JDs on staff) and written and then edited by qualified writing professionals. Our process is pretty extensive, beginning with writer training and continuing through the writing and editing phases. Yes, we still make mistakes, but we always guarantee that we’ll fix our mistakes promptly and for free.

Anecdotal Conversations With Legal Professionals at LMA

As I describe the conversations we had with lawyers and legal marketing professionals at the LMA convention, just know that anything written here is anecdotal. I didn’t record the conversations, and I don’t have the name of everyone that I talked to. But what I’m going to relay here is what all five of our team members heard throughout the three-day conference – not a single person at this event was enthusiastic about the use of ChatGPT for their website content.

The first conversation I (Allen) had about ChatGPT was on day one. It was with a legal marketing agency content director, and he asked me how we’ve handled ChatGPT. I went into my semi-prepared statement, but he stopped me halfway through. He said, “Yeah, that’s what we think as well, and I can tell we’re on the same wavelength.”

One attorney approached us and said that their firm had seriously played around with crafting blogs for their website using ChatGPT. By the end of December 2022, they realized that wasn’t a good idea. Their pain points revolved around accuracy and plagiarism. To erase those pain points, either an attorney or skilled paralegal had to spend an extreme amount of time fixing the pages. Overall, this firm found that ChatGPT wasn’t up to the level it needed to be to replace even the most basic blog writer.

There was a session held at LMA23 pertaining to ChatGPT, and I was able to catch some of the conversations coming out of the session (wasn’t able to attend). There was curiosity, likely due to the fact that nobody has stopped talking about AI since November. However, the general consensus was “approach with caution,” particularly when using ChatGPT to help with case work. Nobody quite knows who owns the inputs into the LLM system, and if legal staff are putting client information into the prompt, that could be a major privacy issue.

One person commented something that I’ve been saying, and something that makes relying on ChatGPT dangerous – it has excellent spelling and grammar. It “looks” right, so many people just assume it is right. It’s not always right.

We Were Prepared for the ChatGPT Conversation

Blue Seven Content has tried to stay ahead of the ChatGPT and overall AI curve. Our business is built solely around providing written content for law firms (and other industries), so this was a potential negative game-changer. But we’ve also built a company that’s focused on quality, human-written content. We have a team of writers with serious professional backgrounds. Some are lawyers, and all of them are professional writers.

Even so, we tested ourselves against ChatGPT outputs. The thing about ChatGPT, and I’ve said it before, is that ChatGPT presents incorrect information as if it’s a fact, and it does it confidently. That’s a problem, especially if you don’t have someone who 100% knows the law/information OR have someone who can fact-check every single line.

Writing a quality page for a law firm using ChatGPT would involve so much fact-checking that it almost makes no sense to use AI in the first place. It takes just as much time.

Since ChatGPT 3 (and later ChatGPT 4) have been released, there’s been an upheaval in the writing industry. Take a quick trip to the freelance writer forum on Reddit, and you’ll see post after post about work drying up for many writers. But the writers losing work are the ones who probably shouldn’t be writing website content in the first place. AI can most certainly do a better job with low-level SEO content that requires little fact-checking than a human.

But that’s not what we do at Blue Seven.

ChatGPT offers a lot, but it’s not ready for the big time.

Are there times when we’re asked to craft a page that only takes minimal brain power? Sure. But even then, we try to make sure the page is of a quality that makes people say, “I bet Blue Seven wrote that.”

Our company has doubled in size since ChatGPT came out, and that’s not due to luck. We’ve found what works, and we’re always taking steps to improve. We have a tight-knit group of writers who all get to communicate directly with one another whenever they want. This creates an environment that encourages everyone’s success, not just the success of a CEO or owner.

What’s Next for ChatGPT, AI, and the Legal Writing Industry?

The biggest issue is that law firms and various other industries can’t betray the trust of clients, and they certainly can’t broadcast false or plagiarized content. Until AI can spit out content that is 100% correct 100% of the time, there needs to be human involvement.

Now, do I think ChatGPT or another AI will always be off-limits for law firms and legal marketing agencies?

No. In fact, use it as a tool. It’s fine as a tool.

I also think that the level of human involvement may decrease as these large language models improve. But that’s questionable, and the timeline for AI improvement is unknown. The release of such an advanced LLM scared folks, and it seems that a pause in further development is happening while the aftermath is examined. Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI, has said that they do not plan to train their systems for ChatGPT 5 for a while.

In my opinion, we’re on the tail end of the initial “AI hype,” and we’re figuring out what comes next. We’re all processing what this means for marketing, academia, and the professional realm.

Blue Seven Content is going to stay on top of AI trends, particularly as they relate to writing content for law firms. We WILL NOT be using ChatGPT to craft our pages. ChatGPT and law firms don’t mix well right now. Clients deserve to know that we have a human writer and editor behind every page. 

I invite you to check back on our website for future updates!

Written by Allen Watson – Blue Seven Content CEO & Founder

Leave a Reply