Hey ChatGPT, recommend me a law firm specialized in...

I had an in-depth conversation with ChatGPT. I was interested in whether the tool could give me a meaningful recommendation for a law firm with an expertise in a particular field. And: based on which criteria, ChatGPT selects the suggested law firms. The result shows: Artificial intelligence will also place new demands on (digital) legal marketing.

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Hey ChatGPT, recommend me a law firm specialized in...

March 2023: When we have questions, we turn to Google. Within seconds, the search engine spits out a selection of websites filtered by relevance that match our search query. Brilliant, valuable and deeply implemented in all our lives.

The meteoric rise of artificial intelligence is calling this process into question for the first time. For a long time, it was unthinkable that another tool could actually compete with Google. We're not there yet, but it at least seems possible that we'll change our search behavior.

Note: The following are not qualitative assessments of artificial intelligence capabilities. They refer to an exchange with the chat model provided free of charge by open.ai (ChatGPT-3, version 14.03.2023). The article provides food for thought on the future search behavior of target groups and any resulting requirements for legal marketing teams.

What does this have to do with legal marketing?

Since all target groups use Google, it is clear that companies try to optimize their content so that it lands high up in Google. In digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a central building block. This works by optimizing technical, content and structural parameters on one's own website. In addition, one tries to gain as many backlinks as possible to one's own content from external pages.

The backlink: A key to SEO happiness.

The fight for more visibility via SEO is consequently based on the current search behavior of users with Google. Let's assume that the search behavior changes and the target groups decide to ask ChatGPT or another tool artificial intelligence in the future. The assumption is obvious: In this case, we also have to adapt our marketing strategies.

So I wanted to know:

  • How does ChatGPT react when I ask for a recommendation for a law firm in trademark law in Zurich.
  • And what criteria does it use to judge which law firms to recommend with.

Law firms for trademark law in Zurich

ChatGPT recommends these law firms

The answer: None. ChatGPT does not dare to make this recommendation. This publicly available demo version is already ruled out as a source for a testimonial.

Excursus: There are, of course, language models of open.ai that feel confident enough to give a recommendation. However, we will not go into that here.

Here is the whole answer of the currently available software:

ChatGPT in law firm marketing Asked about a law firm recommendation, the tool replies that it cannot make a recommendation, but does indicate how to search for law firms.

Ok, my mistake... A second try:

ChatGPT finds these law firms

"Which law firms in Zurich with a specialization in trademark law can you find ?" For this query, the tool is already more open and gives me three law firms to choose from: Kellerhals Carrard, Vischer and NKF.

ChatGPT names three law firms in Zurich that specialize in trademark law.

Three major law firms. That's quite a main stream – we probably would have gotten that far with a Google search. But the first thing that stands out is that the list here is significantly shorter than the large number of search results on Google. Why did ChatGPT choose these law firms and not others? More about that below.

Not a big law firm? ChatGPT also finds boutiques

Before we get into this "why", here's another approach: I may not want to seek advice from a big firm.

So I asked ChatGPT if it could find us boutique law firms in Zurich that specialize in trademark law. The tool had to think (calculate) a bit longer, only to announce "Yes, there are several boutique law firms in Zurich that specialize in trademark law". Show-off.

ChatGPT names five boutique law firms in Zurich that specialize in trademark law.

The firm doesn't matter? ChatGPT names these lawyers

Finally, for the sake of completeness, we ask for specific lawyers. ChatGPT again finds "many lawyers" and lists the following five gentlemen (the tool apparently does not yet have a diversity strategy):

Chat GPT names five attorneys who specialize in trademark law and work in Zurich

But how did ChatGPT select these law firms?

The marketing goal of your law firm is to increase visibility. Translated, this means you are trying to increase the likelihood that ChatGPT will mention your law firm in this list. To actively work towards this, we need to understand what criteria ChatGPT has used to select these law firms.

Seeing no other way than to address this issue directly with the tool, ChatGPT and I discussed further.

The following comments are based on the inquiry with the results of the big law firms.

Step 1: Coincidence?

I first ask ChatGPT if the selection of big law firms is a random selection from all law firms in Zurich specializing in trademark law. The tool answers in the negative, stating that the selection is based on its knowledge of "law firms that are known to specialize in intellectual property and trademark law in Zurich."

Step 2: Criteria?

So the selection is not random. I am therefore interested in the selection criteria. The tool claims to have considered the following five criteria:

  1. Reputation
  2. Expertise
  3. Size (resources)
  4. Client Feedback
  5. Online Presence

This reads like a checklist that potential clients (in the flesh) also check before hiring a law firm in trademark law (or any other specialty).

Artificial intelligence differs here once again from the classic search engine. The Google algorithm also takes certain factors into account. However, an assessment of the size or the available resources, for example, hardly flows into the Google ranking of a law firm.

Chat GPT states that it used the above criteria to evaluate the law firms.

Consequently, a law firm that wants to be named must score well on these five criteria. However, to be able to influence these parameters, we need more information.

Step 3: Sources?

The latest response indicates which factors were assessed, but not which sources ChatGPT consulted for their assessment. Of course, I asked.

We start with reputation and learn from ChatGPT that the following sources were considered:

  • Legal Directories – ChatGPT even gives examples: Chambers and Partners, Legal 500, Best Lawyers
  • Client Reviews – again, there are examples: Avvo, Yelp, Google Reviews
  • News Articles – even when asked, the tool does not provide specific examples here.

ChatGPT also kindly informs us that only freely available information could be used. Nevertheless, we get a result suggestion here that takes all these sources into account. Thus, the displayed results are not based on an assessment like at Google, which relies very heavily on factors on the own website.

NB: This does not prove the quality of the evaluation of these sources!

Chat GPT states that it has used the above sources to assess the reputation of law firms.

ChatGPT cites the following sources to assess the expertise:

  • Law Firm Website
  • Legal Directories – we already know them.
  • Professional Associations – here the tool gives examples: International Trademark Association (INTA), Swiss Association for Intellectual Property (SSIP). Chapeau!
  • Case Law and Court Filings – when asked, artificial intelligence on this point recommends consulting portals such as LexisNexis, Westlaw, and PACER.
Chat GPT states that it has used the above sources to assess the expertise of the law firms.

Why not Bär & Karrer?

In the end, I turned the whole thing around. As I had already been given three big law firms, I wanted to know why the others were not listed. So, representing the other large law firms, I asked ChatGPT why Bär & Karrer did not feature in its original answer.

Here is the answer – which I hope will be taken note of without concern at Brandschenkenstrasse:

ChatGPT did not recommend Bär & Karrer because other law firms scored better, at best, on the above criteria.

Asked again

We remember: ChatGPT claimed that the results were not a coincidence. So I asked the initial question again: "Can you find law firms in Zurich specialized in trademark law?

Again, the artificial intelligence was helpful and reported back the following law firms:

  1. Wenger & Vieli
  2. Isler & Pedrazzoni
  3. BianchiSchwald
  4. Rentsch Partner
  5. Vischer

I'll just take note of that at this point.


Here's what I take away from this conversation:

  • Should artificial intelligence take hold in our search behavior, this will have an impact on marketing requirements. The dimensions will become more versatile. In order to gain digital visibility, we must take into account and influence additional parameters.
  • Perhaps digital legal marketing will soon be dominated not by "Search Enginge Optimization (SEO)" but by "Artificial Intelligence Optimization (AIO)".
  • SEO criteria play an important role today, tomorrow and also in the field of artificial intelligence. Therefore, it is definitely not worth neglecting SEO work now.
  • ChatGPT in the offered free version does not give me a smart recommendation today. I can find law firms but deriving a rating from that is not possible.
  • The convenience of the search is already noticeable today. Unlike Google, I don't have to figure out from the SERPs which page I want to click on. I directly receive several suggestions with all contact details.
  • The exchange with artificial intelligence needs to be practiced. Various questions do not lead to the desired answer. Misunderstandings seem inevitable. Both sides probably still have to learn something new here.

Will the search for a good law firm become easier? Quite conceivably. Friends of the Singularity can already start preparing and beginning to align their marketing strategies with these new realities. If you believe that artificial intelligence is turning the world upside down, now is the time to get ahead of the game.

The next update at ChatGPT is coming. So maybe we will have to chat again soon. Beep boop...

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