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.
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.
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 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:
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:
Ok, my mistake... A second try:
"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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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."
So the selection is not random. I am therefore interested in the selection criteria. The tool claims to have considered the following five criteria:
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.
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.
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:
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!
ChatGPT cites the following sources to assess the expertise:
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:
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:
I'll just take note of that at this point.
Here's what I take away from this conversation:
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...