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Navigating AI: A Guide for Lawyers on ChatGPT Prompt Writing

As artificial intelligence gains traction, lawyers ought to understand how to make use of this evolving technology.  One easy way to begin experimenting with AI is to use ChatGPT[1] (do not rely on it for legal citations, though!). 


What is a prompt?

To utilize ChatGPT, a user must input a prompt.  A prompt is the task or question provided to ChatGPT on the basis of which the service will generate a response. Just as with other platforms, the better the prompt is, the better the response will be. 


Listed below is a guide as to how to draft an effective ChatGPT prompt. 

Assign ChatGPT a Persona: Give ChatGPT a persona. For instance, tell ChatGPT to act as a LinkedIn post writer.


Identify the Intended Audience: Specify the intended recipients of the response – be it a client, colleague, or judicial body. Defining the audience assists in customizing the language and tone.


State the Task with an Action Word: Initiate the prompt with a clear and actionable statement. Use strong verbs to guide ChatGPT's focus, such as "Analyze," "Summarize," or "Advise on."


Specify What to Include and Exclude: Provide explicit instructions regarding the content of the response. Clearly outline what information is relevant and what should be excluded.


List Format and Length: State the preferred format for the response, whether it's a table, bullet point list, memorandum, email, or other. Additionally, specify the desired length of the output.


Choose a Tone and Writing Style: Specify a tone and writing style, such as formal or conversations, in the prompt.


Use Ordinary Words: Opt for clarity over complexity. Utilize ordinary language to ensure that the prompt is easily understood by ChatGPT. Avoid unnecessary legal jargon unless essential for the task.


Sample ChatGPT Prompt:

Craft a concise, rhyming poem that encapsulates the historical significance of the United States Supreme Court. Write the poem as if you are a Nobel Laureate poet.  Infuse admiration for key milestones and notable justices. Utilize a structured form, such as a sonnet, and aim for a length of 12-16 lines. Maintain a balanced and appreciative tone, excluding complex legal terms.


ChatGPT Response:

In the heart of justice, the Supreme Court stands tall,

a legal saga, where wisdom echoes in the legal hall.

 

From Marbury's gaze to Roe's historic decree,

a poetic dance, shaping our democracy.

 

Quills of dissent and concurrence's prose, in the Court's legacy, democracy continually grows. 

 

In four stanzas, a symphony of legal might,

a poetic tribute to the Court's enduring light.


[1] A free version of ChatGPT can be found at chat.openai.com. 

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