It’s 2023, and recent technological breakthroughs mean that artificial intelligence (AI) is suddenly all the rage. In fact, you’re probably here today because you’ve heard about some of the incredible things you can do with tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, Midjourney, Jasper, Bing AI, or one of the other big players. And, of course, you’re probably curious about how those tools might fit into what your law firm is doing to market itself.
While AI isn’t exactly a new idea in marketing, the recent advancements in AI technology have rapidly become such a game-changer that some people are calling it a “Gutenberg-level event”—and we have to agree that the potential is there.
The things these AI tools can do is incredible, and the practical applications are nearly endless!
With these tools suddenly becoming so much more accessible, so much easier to use, and much more powerful in their abilities, it’s safe to say that we’re at the dawn of a new era in law firm marketing.
But how should law firms use AI? What can AI do? And—for the hesitant among you—should anyone be worried about machine-learning robots replacing marketers, attorneys, and customer-service staff at every law firm around the world? Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. AI technology is still developing, and the landscape changes daily. But, if you want to get ahead of the curve, there’s a lot we can dig into.
So, below, let’s talk about 5 major ways law firms are using AI right now to improve their marketing, generate more clients, and streamline their day-to-day tasks.
1. AI in Law Firm Content Writing
AI copywriting tools are making some of biggest waves right now, with OpenAI’s ChatGPT being one of the most recognizable. With these kinds of tools, you type in a prompt—try something like, “write a blog post about what to do after a car accident”—and the AI uses natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to produce your results.
You can even type in a follow-up prompt, like “write 5 social media posts based on the above,” and the AI will generate a week’s worth of social media posts based on the blog it generated for you.
And, even if you prefer to write your own content, AI is still a pretty powerful tool in the creation process. For example, try a prompt like, “give me 10 ideas for an article about probate law.” And—bam—you have a whole list of topics to add to your content plan.
Okay, all that took five minutes, and you have a blog, social media posts, and some ideas for next month. Your content is done, right? Well…
While AI tools like ChatGPT can produce some pretty astonishing results, we’re not yet at the point that they can output perfect website content or blog posts on their own. Law firms still need to check, edit, and verify before they post. At best, some of the results can feel a little “generic.” At worst, they can offer made-up information or outright dangerous advice.
AI-generated content is a huge topic right now, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. Check out our in-depth FAQ to learn more about how to use AI copywriting tools effectively.
And what kind of impact does AI-generated content have on search rankings? Well, Google has expressed some reservations about AI-generated content in the past (even though the company is currently working on its own AI-powered searchbot called Bard). However, the official Google recommendations for creating rank-worthy content remain the same. Google doesn’t really care how you create it, as long as your content is relevant, meets quality standards, and shows your experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
So, in short, AI copywriting tools may not be perfect, but they can shave off some of the time it takes to create the perfect content for your law firm. When used to draft content or brainstorm ideas, they can offer a big boost to efficiency, without having to give up the kind of quality that actually gets leads and traffic to your site.
2. AI and Image Creation
All you have to do is type in a prompt that describes what you want to see (or give the AI an existing image to start with), and the AI generates a set of new images based what you’ve typed in. You want an image of a dog playing harmonica in an oil-painting style? You got it. You want a photorealistic image of a fender bender with police on the scene? You got that, too.
As fun as it is to play with, though, how helpful is AI image generation for a law firm?
Well, we’d say its usefulness is fairly limited at this point. Law firms stand out from their competitors online based on their ability to connect with potential clients. And that means that high-quality photos of your actual staff, office, and city are going to remain the standard. Plus, current iterations of these kinds of tools often produce images that are a bit odd or contain strange artifacts that need to be cleaned up with software like Photoshop. You can get some unique, engaging images, but it can be a bit more work than just purchasing a stock photo or taking your own. There are also still big questions about how copyright works when these AI tools are trained with image libraries.
So, similar to written content, they’re great idea generators and springboards for creativity, but the output still needs a little of the “human touch” to make the grade.
However, while purely AI-generated images probably won’t replace your website photos anytime soon, there are still some exciting applications of AI for images. You just have to look at its abilities to analyze, process, and understand images.
For example, what if you could set up an AI tool that analyzes all your website images and gives you ADA-compliant alt tags as a result? That’s something that can easily take hours of human labor, but AI could do it in a flash. Sure, you’d still have to verify and double-check everything for accuracy—but the potential time saved is immense.
3. AI in Law Firm Video
Video is a huge part of modern marketing, and AI is here to make it easier to create high-quality videos that connect with your perfect clients and do more with the videos you create. AI video tools are still very much in their infancy, but there are already a few options out there that let you feed in a written script, choose an AI spokesmodel, and generate a video. Some of them are sophisticated enough that you can even choose the “tone” of the video and the model’s accent!
However, just like we’ve said about images and written content above, the real value for law firms isn’t necessarily in the ability to create AI-generated videos from scratch. Instead, it’s really about the ways AI can streamline and improve the video creation process.
Here are some common examples:
- Video tagging and classification. AI can be used to analyze and classify videos based on their content. This can help in automating the process of video tagging and categorization.
- Video editing and post-production. AI can be used to automate the process of video editing and post-production. For example, AI algorithms can be trained to identify and remove unwanted elements from a video, such as noise or shaky footage. There are even some early models that can do things like naturally smooth over your “uhs” and “umms” or slightly adjust your eyes in the final video so that you’re looking right at the camera instead of off to the side!
- Video summarization and speech-to-text transcripts. AI can be used to create video summaries and transcripts, which can be useful in situations where viewers prefer written content or just don’t have the time to watch a video. You can post the video to your site and almost immediately have a written transcript to post alongside it!
This is an area that we’re definitely watching closely. We’re excited by the AI video capabilities already available, and there’s the potential to do some truly incredible things with it in the future!
4. AI in Data Analysis and Search
Google may have some concerns about AI-generated content, but the company has fully embraced AI in developing their ranking algorithms. Google currently uses RankBrain—a “machine learning” or “AI” algorithm—to understand keywords in search, measure how users interact with search results, and gauge their satisfaction with what they found. With its machine-learning capabilities, the algorithm essentially adjusts itself based on actual user behaviors, like clicks, time spent on page, bounce rate, and more. And it gives Google a much better idea of what its users are really searching for, as well as what they mean when they type in a search.
And you can also expect to see more AI-assisted analytics in the next-generation version of Google Analytics, which is set to release later this year.
But the benefit of AI isn’t limited to just website, marketing, and search data. Law firms collect vast amounts of data, including case files, legal documents, client information, and court records. Analyzing this data manually can be time-consuming and prone to human error. But with the help of AI, law firms can quickly and accurately analyze data to identify patterns, trends, and insights that can help them make better decisions.
Here are two interesting examples:
- AI-powered predictive analytics uses algorithms to analyze historical data and make predictions about future outcomes. So, law firms can use predictive analytics to predict the potential outcomes of cases. This can help lawyers identify potential risks and opportunities, develop better strategies for their clients, and make better decisions about how to proceed.
- Law firms can use the natural language processing (NLP) capabilities of AI to analyze legal documents and extract important information, such as names, dates, and key facts. This can save lawyers a significant amount of time and allow them to focus more time on more complex legal tasks.
So, while it’s not strictly limited to marketing, it’s definitely a big benefit. We’re already seeing law firms exponentially increase efficiency this way!
5. AI in Customer Service
AI can have a big, positive impact on customer service, especially at busy firms that are short on staff.
For example, lots of law firms have started using AI chatbots to improve their 24-7 customer service, reduce costs, and enhance their clients' overall experience on their websites. AI chatbots are computer programs that are able to simulate natural-sounding human conversations. They can be used to answer common questions, provide basic customer service, and assist clients in scheduling appointments. You basically train it with the right information, and it uses that information as it interacts with visitors to your website. So, it could screen out poor leads, handle repetitive tasks, answer questions, and eliminate the need for a manual response in many cases.
AI can also be used to analyze client feedback, which can give law firms important insight into how to improve their services and provide better client experiences.
Law Firm AI Tools Work Best When They Work Together
All the individual uses of AI we talked about above are awesome, but you can really take it to the next level when you use these tools together. Not sure how that works? Here are a few examples for you to think about:
- Use AI tools to transcribe or summarize an original video. Then feed the transcript into an AI copywriting tool to turn it into a blog post for your website, and also ask it to generate a few Twitter posts from the blog. For the effort you put into creating one video, you get an entire constellation of usable content!
- Generate an “explainer” video on a topic, and use an AI-powered virtual assistant with it that allows users to interact with the information, ask questions, and request more information. Your video is now more engaging with better conversions!
- Generate a FAQ post, and head over to Midjourney to generate the perfect image to go along with the content. Or generate a series of posts answering frequently asked questions, turn it into a downloadable book, and head over to DALL-E to generate your cover image!
- And to meander away from the topic of marketing for a moment—AI content tools can also be trained on legal-specific libraries, allowing attorneys to quickly generate rough drafts of contracts, demand letters, employment agreements, and other legal documents. It can also assist in legal research. You ask a question in conversational language, and it will pull together all the potentially relevant information it can find. With the right suite of AI tools, you can dramatically reduce the amount of labor involved in getting these kinds of tasks done!
Of course, that’s hardly an exhaustive list. We’ve really only scratched the surface of what AI can do! But that should give you an idea of the many, many areas where AI tools can be used in tandem to assist law firms and shave more time off your daily workload.
Remember to “Trust, But Verify”—But Embrace It
The main thing law firms need to understand about AI is that you always have to “trust, but verify.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a draft of a contract for a client, a logo for the 4K you’re sponsoring, or a Facebook post to promote your new book. If AI generates it, you still have to put eyes on it, make sure there aren’t any errors, and be ready to edit heavily before you put it out there.
Additionally, the real key to getting the most out of AI is learning how to interact with it. Creating the right prompts to get the output you want is really an art and science of its own—and the quality of your prompts dictates the quality of the output.
So, yes, AI is absolutely amazing, and we expect to see even more astonishing applications as the technology develops. However, it’s unlikely to totally replace attorneys, law firm staff, content writers, or videographers anytime soon. It’s a “force multiplier” that amplifies output and makes each employee more powerful—making us all better at what we do! And it is rapidly changing how we interact with each other, how we do research, and how we communicate our messages to the world.
Law firms that don’t embrace AI technology will get bypassed and left behind. So, don’t let it happen to you.
Curious about how AI can streamline your marketing? Looking for technology and automation solutions that can get more done in your day? Book an appointment to take an in-depth look at what you’re doing now, where you can be more efficient, and where smarter technology can make a big difference for your firm.