Legal Help Questions, Search Queries, and AI Prompts

When people go online to seek help for their legal problems, how do they ask for help?

When they go to search engines like Google Search, what do they ask as a search query?

When they go to generative AI platforms like ChatGPT or Bard, what do they prompt?

The Legal Design Lab has been gathering common legal help search engine queries and AI chatbot prompts. We have been gathering them via surveys, fictional scenario exercises, and keyword research tools. On this page, we present sets of common legal help queries. Please be in touch with us if you’d like to use these in your projects.

Our Lab worked with Suffolk LIT Lab and the moderators of r/legaladvice to create a dataset of people’s legal problem stories, labeled with legal issue codes.

The legal problem stories are taken from the Reddit forum r/legaladvice, where people can ask anonymous questions about a situation they are going through that might have a legal dimension. They typically write 3-5 paragraphs about their situation, include their jurisdiction, and ask for help with a specific decision or legal analysis they are trying to do.

The moderators shared these anonymous legal problem stories with our teams. Then we had law students and lawyers label these problem stories with standardized legal issue codes (taken from our LIST taxonomy). We did the labeling through the game Learned Hands that we created specifically for this project.

Visit the Suffolk LIT Lab page to get access to the problem stories and the issue code labels for them.

Our team has gathered common search engine queries that people use when facing an eviction. In particular, these queries focus on the moments when a person has received a warning notice of a lawsuit, or the complaint and summons for an eviction lawsuit that has been filed against them.

These search queries come from surveys that we have run with members of the public, in which we have given them a fictional scenario of a possible eviction, and asked them what they would search on Google to find help. These queries also come from keyword research tools, like People Also Ask, in which we have gathered queries that Google auto-suggests to people based on past user behavior.

In Summer and Autumn 2023, our Lab team has been interviewing members of the public about how they use AI for legal problem-solving. We have given community members fictional legal problems about landlord-tenant issues, and then asked them to use an AI platform like Google Bard, ChatGPT, or Microsoft Bing Chat.

We have recorded what prompts they enter into the AI platform, to seek help for a possible eviction. Here are the prompts that community members have used to seek legal help.