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What Are the Risks of Using AI to Write Law Firm Blog Articles or Website Content?

Risks of Using AI to Write Law Firm Blog Articles or Website Content

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) for content writing purposes has been a major topic of discussion since the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022. While advocates of the technology tout its efficiency, we see several concerns with its use as a content writing tool for law firms and other businesses.

Testing ChatGPT as a Website Content Writing Tool

To test ChatGPT’s utility as a website content writing tool, we asked it to write a 500-word article on what to do after a car accident in Florida. This is a pretty common article topic for personal injury law firms—as car accidents account for the largest percentage of personal injury cases and “What should I do after a car accident?” is a common search on Google. We’ve written this type of article for law firms all over the country, and it is a good cornerstone article for linking from both onsite and offsite content.

So, what happened?

To be fair, ChatGPT was fast. It produced a 500-word article in less than 10 seconds. But, even without being picky, the article it produced contained eight major issues that would make it unpublishable. While the issues are fixable, fixing them wouldn’t be much faster, if any, than writing an original article from scratch. Additionally, some of the issues are rather subtle (though extremely important, especially for law firms), and could easily be overlooked by an editor who didn’t know what to look for or who wasn’t thinking carefully about the implications of what ChatGPT produced.

Here are the major issues:

“Navigating the Aftermath: A Guide to Handling Car Accidents in Florida” – ChatGPT

This was the title that ChatGPT generated for our article—and it doesn’t reflect what the article is about. The article ChatGPT produced covers some of the basic steps to take in the hours and days following a car accident. This covers just a very small portion of what car accident victims need to know. Someone who clicked on this article looking for a true comprehensive guide would likely be disappointed with the article’s scope and depth—and disappointment is not the first impression you want your potential clients or customers to have. The article title borders on misleading; and, while clickbait might generate ad revenue, it isn’t a good strategy for generating business online.

“Ensure that everyone involved is okay and call 911 immediately if there are injuries.” – ChatGPT

In many states, including Florida, drivers must report car accidents even if they don’t result in injuries. Under Florida law, drivers must report all accidents that cause $500 or more in property damage—and, these days, this covers just about all accidents other than extremely minor fender-benders. While no business should publish inaccurate legal information online, law firms especially shouldn’t publish inaccurate legal information online. This type of error is dangerous—and should be enough on its own to give most businesses pause about using ChatGPT or any other AI content generator.

“If the vehicles are obstructing traffic, use hazard lights, cones, or flares to warn oncoming traffic and move to a safe location if possible.” – ChatGPT

This is just confusing; and, as a result, it doesn’t provide useful information for someone who is wondering what to do after a car accident. Should you set cones or flares and then try to move your car? No, you shouldn’t. It also borders on dangerous—advising readers to walk out in traffic to place cones or flares in front of approaching vehicles. Also, ideally, drivers should document the accident scene before moving their vehicles if it is safe to do so, and failure to mention this is a significant oversight.

Plus, who is the intended audience? It is highly unlikely that anyone who has just been involved in an accident in traffic is going to be searching for information about what they should do on their phone. This is useless content—a waste of space that is made worse by its inaccuracies.

“Florida law requires drivers to report accidents that result in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500. . . . In Florida, you must report accidents to law enforcement if they involve injuries, death, or property damage exceeding $500.” – ChatGPT

Here, ChatGPT contradicts itself—correcting the issue we mentioned above. Of course, a business’s or firm’s online content should not make mistakes and then correct them later on. This is just bad writing. Plus, someone who stopped reading halfway through would not have gotten to the correction.

To make matters worse, ChatGPT repeats itself in the span of five sentences. Repetitiveness was a theme in the article, with this being the most egregious example.

“Calling the police ensures an official accident report is filed, which can be crucial for insurance claims and legal purposes.” – ChatGPT

The first half of this sentence is untrue, and relying on it could get people into trouble. Calling the police after an accident does not ensure that an “official accident report” gets filed. Sometimes the police don’t show, and sometimes they—like everyone else—make mistakes. If a driver calls 911 and the police don’t respond to the accident for any reason, an accident report won’t be filed, and the driver will still need to file a report with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to comply with the law.

“Promptly report the accident to your insurance company, providing all necessary details. Cooperate fully during the claims process . . . .” – ChatGPT

This is more bad advice from ChatGPT. For accident victims, fully cooperating with the insurance companies can be dangerous. The insurance companies will ask for lots of information that accident victims aren’t required to share, and sharing access to an accident victim’s medical history, for example, can create a whole host of problems that accident victims can—and should—avoid.

Rather than cooperating fully, accident victims should be very careful to protect themselves, and they should ideally rely on their lawyer to deal with the insurance companies on their behalf. If an accident victim fully cooperates, a lawyer might not be able to help—and this would defeat the purpose of the article entirely.

“Florida follows a ‘no-fault’ insurance system, meaning your insurance company will cover your medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident.” – ChatGPT

While Florida is a “no fault” auto insurance state, this does not mean that “your insurance company will cover your medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident.” First, there are various circumstances in which no-fault auto insurance doesn’t apply. Second, no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance only covers policyholders’ medical expenses and lost wages up to their policy limit (less their deductible)—and this won’t nearly be enough in many cases. Additionally, the article fails to mention the possibility of seeking coverage outside of PIP—including coverage for other types of losses—and seeking coverage outside of PIP is the main way a lawyer can help after a car accident.

“In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is four years, so seeking legal advice promptly is crucial.” – ChatGPT

While Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations used to be four years, it isn’t anymore. Now, it is only two years. Telling someone they have four years to file a claim when they only have two is not a mistake that a personal injury lawyer can afford to make. Also, saying that acting “promptly” is crucial when you supposedly have four years to take action just doesn’t make sense. Yes, car accident victims should act promptly, but not because the statute of limitations is going to expire years in the future.

There Are Lots of Reasons Not to Use AI for Online Content Writing

Again, these are just the major issues in this one particular example. This doesn’t scratch the surface of the repetitiveness, grammatical errors, and various other issues that make the article unprofessional, in some cases unintelligible, and ultimately unpublishable. Yes, the issues could be fixed by a professional content writer, but why not have a professional content writer come up with something original in the first place?

This brings us to another point: As we mentioned, we’ve written lots of articles on this topic over the years. Some of what ChatGPT produced is eerily similar to what we’ve written in the past. Copyright violations are a very real concern with AI-generated content—and this is not a concern that law firms or any other businesses can afford to ignore.

ChatGPT Doesn’t Do Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Another major issue with ChatGPT’s article is that it is not close to being effective for organic SEO purposes. This is because ChatGPT doesn’t do organic SEO. From the title and headings (or lack thereof) to the lack of targeted keywords, even if this article were publishable, no one would find it unless they were already on the firm’s website.

When you add this into the mix, it becomes even clearer that trying to use ChatGPT to write articles for your business or firm isn’t worth it. While this may change in the future, right now, AI is nowhere near capable of serving as a substitute for professional content writing services. The amount of work needed to make ChatGPT’s content publishable—including the research that would need to be done to make sure it isn’t infringing—equals, if not exceeds, the amount of work that would go into researching and writing a quality article from scratch.

We Provide Professional Content Writing Services

We provide professional content writing and organic SEO services for law firms and other businesses in a broad range of industries. If you are interested in original, professionally written content for your organization’s website, we can help. Contact us to learn more.