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How to Write Effective Legal AI Prompts

March 14, 2024 (3 min read)
An old-fashioned typewriter on an aged wooden table with a colorful overlay

By Jake Nelson | Sr. Product Manager, LexisNexis

Now that lawyers have had time to experiment with generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) tools and see the breakthrough capabilities of this technology for themselves, they are settling in to think about some of the specific use cases. The most frequently cited applications of Gen AI include conducting legal research and legal drafting according to our 2023 International Legal Generative AI Report.  

But as we all learned in law school, the quality of the results from our legal research is directly tied to how we frame our search queries. The same is true with the emerging breed of Legal AI products, Gen AI tools built for the legal profession. 

What Are Legal AI Prompts? 

Legal AI prompts are queries that legal professionals craft in order to initiate Gen AI tasks. They are used to help you find and synthesize specific legal information, including relevant case law, statutes, regulations, practical guidance, and more, to deliver crucial insights, drafts, and summaries with incredible speed and precision.  

A well-written Legal AI prompt can significantly increase the accuracy of your legal research and analysis. AI algorithms are designed to continuously learn and adapt, so understanding how to write effective prompts is an important way to make sure the results you receive from the Legal AI tool are on-point, up-to-date and comprehensive. 

In addition, the better your Legal AI prompts are at the outset, the more efficient and productive your legal research will be in the end. AI tools can quickly analyze vast amounts of legal information and provide relevant results, but they are at their best when they are queried with prompts that are written based on a few key principles. 

How to Write Effective Legal AI Prompts 

There are three keys to creating and writing effective Legal AI prompts:

1. Clarity

a. Keep prompts clear and unambiguous. Most importantly, it is crucial for users to recognize and clearly articulate their desired output (e.g., cease and desist letter, explanation of a specific legal standard, case summary).

2. Context

a. Just like a colleague assigned a legal research or drafting task, case-specific context is required to deliver quality results. This includes jurisdiction, parties, key terms, or any other material fact that has the potential to impact content retrieved or generated. The clearer and less ambiguous the context provided, the better.

3. Refinement

a. Be prepared to refine prompts with follow-up prompts or in new conversations. This requires users to critically evaluate how well prompts are being understood and whether or not there is missing context or a lack of clarity in the prompt or corresponding output. Testing and refining your Legal AI prompts is an ongoing process that ensures continuous improvement.

The best Legal AI tools will make it easier for you to write effective prompts by creating an intuitive user interface that takes full advantage of the power of Gen AI technology. Asking a legal question in one of these products, such as Lexis+ AI, should feel more like engaging with a colleague than a traditional research process. For example, Lexis+ AI will frequently prompt users for clarifying information when necessary to return better and more helpful responses. 

Lexis+ AI: The Answer to AI-Assisted Legal Writing 

Lexis+ AI is our breakthrough GenAI platform that we believe will transform legal work by providing a suite of legal research, drafting, and summarization tools that delivers on the potential of Gen AI technology. 

Lexis+ AI pairs LexisNexis’s unparalleled collection of legal content with breakthrough GenAI technology in a way that could redefine the way that legal research is conducted and legal work product is created. Its answers are grounded in the world’s largest repository of accurate and exclusive legal content from LexisNexis with industry-leading data security and attention to privacy. 

To learn more, view a video demonstration or request a free trial of Lexis+ AI, please go to