Best Practices: Leveraging AI to Draft Demand Letters

In our recent analysis of demand letters from the past year, we've identified key elements that contribute to their success. Leveraging these insights, we can assist you in crafting demand letters that reflect your unique style and tone, all within a remarkably short time frame.
Written by
Christian DeTrude
Published on
July 18, 2024

In our recent analysis of demand letters from the past year, we've identified key elements that contribute to their success. Leveraging these insights, we can assist you in crafting demand letters that reflect your unique style and tone, all within a remarkably short time frame.

The Right Technology

Until recently technology was very limited in the ability to augment the work of skilled attorneys. Even today most technology still falls short in providing usable productivity enhancements to attorneys. Choosing the right tools for the job and knowing what to look for is critical to success.

Use technology designed for legal use. There are many impressive AI technologies on the market - though almost none are truly optimized for legal use cases. Using a platform designed and built for legal use cases (the more specific the better) will provide the best results and reliability.

Use technology that can learn from your documents. Whether you use a template, boilerplate, or rely on past completed letters to adapt to a new case, most attorneys leverage documents to draft their demand letters to ensure consistency, completeness, and legal soundness - your AI technology should too. Using a technology that will analyze your existing templates or completed letters and draft in the same format, tone, and style you will be able to achieve results that match your own letters in format, tone, style, and quality in about 10% of the time conventional manual drafting processes take.

Use technology that never retains or trains on your data. AI technology can learn from your documents and input to provide tailored responses, which is one of the greatest strengths of AI technology. However it also presents one of the greatest risks, especially when it comes to sensitive PII and confidential legal documents. Any AI technology you give any data or documents to should be able to learn from your data to enhance your results - without retaining or training the underlying large language models (LLMs) on your data to enhance the results for other users. Commercial tools widely available to chat with through your web browser often retain and train on all customer data, be sure to verify your data will not be retained or trained on before using AI for legal work.

Instant feedback is critical. When drafting a demand letter it’s common for the process to include edits, iterations, or redrafts of sections or the entire letter. Your AI technology should be able to provide you with the same capabilities, so that the letter can be instantly revised once drafted. Some tools that draft demand letters or other legal documents take hours or even days to allow for revisions and redrafts. This is not only inefficient and time consuming, but also raises questions about the quality of the underlying technology and the need for manual revisions by humans behind the scenes. Augmenting your firm with AI should eliminate lengthy turn around times and bring more work in house - not increase wait times and the amount of work outsourced.

Using Templates

Many law firms we've spoken with lack standardized templates for demand letters, which can lead to significant time spent deliberating over content and strategy. This often results in inefficiencies and delays. Other firms have templates, but they require significant time to re-read and adapt to each current case and if used by someone other than the original creator will lose the qualities present in the initial examples used to create the templates. By creating customized templates based on your most successful letters for various types of claims, you can streamline this process, enabling you to draft compelling demand letters in under 10 minutes - letters that maintain all of the qualities of your most successful demand letters, even the tone and style of the writing.

However, even with advanced AI tools at your disposal, it can sometimes be challenging to know exactly how to engage with AI to produce the desired outcome. To help demystify this process, we provide a sample template that can serve as a starting point for your demand letters. This template is designed to be easily adaptable to your specific needs and can significantly reduce the time and effort involved in drafting effective communications aimed at facilitating settlements. Please click here to access the template.

AI Prompting Best Practices

Prompting (simply put, the messages you send to your AI software) is where you take control of the drafting process and customize your results. Now that you’re using a technology that’s designed for legal use, learning from your documents without retaining or training on them, and allows you to instantly revise and edit with AI you’re ready to start crafting your prompts.

Use instructions. Providing your AI with a set of instructions with details relevant to your firm, the drafting attorney, and the case will provide you the best results. Between the instructions you set, and the documents you provide to your AI, your technology should have all the same details and information available to draft off of that a human would when drafting a demand letter.

Provide detail. AI is excellent at processing large amounts of written language. This is a great advantage when prompting AI to complete tasks for you. You can use detailed messages that include all the information necessary to draft a demand exactly the way you want. Everything about your demand letter from whether you would like a full comprehensive chronology of the facts or a detailed summary that highlights the impacts of the facts to whether you want it to sound more friendly and agreeable or authoritative and imposing can be adjusted with just a few words in the prompts.

Save your prompts to use them again. Once you do have a prompt and template combination that provides you success - save it. You will likely want to employ it over and over again both to draft demands for similar cases, and perhaps to copy and adjust for other use cases or types of claims.

Iterate and draft by section. When you’re prompting your AI to draft for you, be sure to iterate with the AI technology. Ask for anything from subtle adjustments in the tone or content to redrafts of entire sections. In fact drafting section by section is a powerful way to help focus your AI on the key elements of your letter one at a time to get the most out of the technology in terms of detail and precision of the resulting drafts.

Demand Letter Drafting Prompt

Here is a comprehensive Prompt, or message, to the AI that you can use, along with a detailed template for you to start working off of:

“You will be drafting us a demand letter for this case. Draw on all your available legal knowledge to draft the most impactful letter for this specific case and client as you possibly can. When drafting a demand letter you will start with a statement of the facts highlighting the critical facts of the case you believe support the claims. Next follows a brief discussion of the applicable law, including reasoning as to how the law supports the claims. The letter concludes with a discussion of damages, and mention of amounts likely to be recovered if the matter is not settled and a hearing is held. Be sure to fill in any details like names, addresses, etc wherever possible with the information available in the casefile. 

“Below is a template for you to use, which includes more context and instructions for how each section should look. 

[template to be inserted here]

This prompt and the above linked demand letter template serves as a powerful starting point, and can be modified to fit your firm’s needs, and the specific case at hand. Don’t forget to review results and iterate with your AI tools, and with your legal team, to create the best possible content to represent your client’s interests. 

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