Simple, effective legal AI prompting tip: Use Numbers

Simple, effective legal AI prompting tip: Use Numbers

Cecilia Ziniti

Apr 8, 2024

Here's a simple tip for effective AI prompting, including for legal tasks. Tell the AI a specific number of items to hit in its response. Fancy word: enumerate.


When you set a specific target, you prod the AI to hit it. 🎯

AIs like ChatGPT, Claude, and GC AI are designed to help you achieve your goals, and providing clear instructions enhances their ability to deliver. This is especially true for laws or issues where you know the right number of, say, a multi-factor test.

Here are some examples that show the difference that precise instructions can make. Notice how a clear, numbered prompt guides the AI more effectively and provides a more usable output for legal professionals. It also increases your odds of a good response without follow-"ups—"zero-shot prompting" in AI parlance.

Weak prompt: what's that privacy law?
Good prompt: Give me 6 bullets on the Texas Privacy Law. Include whether it allows for a private right of action.

Weak prompt: Summarize the attached letter.
Good prompt: Give me an 8-bullet overview of the attached letter from a US senator to our company, and after your summary, add a section on the next steps where you say you'll loop in HR.

Weak prompt: Analyze this mark by the trademark factors.
Good prompt: Please consider the following trademark (MARK) compared with this existing trademark (OTHERMARK) for each of the 8 factors under the Sleekcraft test.

Here it is visually —

Weak prompt:

Good, enumerated prompt, also using GC AI

PS: At GC AI, we've tuned the AI slightly less obedient. It asks questions when your instruction is vague. If something seems off, like you asked for a draft lease but didn't say if it was commercial or residential, GC AI will let you know rather than plow ahead. This helps lawyers, where precision and reliability matter more, even when you want to be concise. Even for GC AI though, the principle of specificity still helps.

PPS: Good prompting can increase precision from 65% to 92%. It matters.

Intrigued? Take my class or sign up for our GC AI beta.