From gaming to the workplace, the Metaverse is making waves everywhere. Law firms are among the new adopters, with many entering the metaverse to purchase property and establish law firms. These companies handle common legal situations in the virtual world, including metaverse marriages and intellectual property issues.
The legal industry is historically traditional, conservative and risk averse. In fact, many law firms are hesitant to embrace technology solutions, let alone go into business in a virtual space.
What is the appeal of the Metaverse for law firms and should other firms get on board?
What is the Metaverse?
With major news like Facebook’s rebranding as Meta, the popularity of Fortnite and its immersive virtual world, and digital replicas of real-life locations like Decentraland’s art galleries, the Metaverse is becoming the hottest new thing. fashionable.
The term “Metaverse” has been around for a few years and was coined by author Neal Stephenson in his novel Snowfall (1992). According to the novel, the Metaverse is a global digital universe that parallels the real world. This may however differ from the actual metaverse.
Essentially, the Metaverse is a three-dimensional version of the Internet and computing. People can enjoy a digital life alongside their real life in the physical world. All metaverse users will have an avatar and will be able to interact with each other through avatars.
A similar iteration in the real world is the game second life, which uses simulations to allow users to experience virtual reality through the avatar of their choice. Metaverse will take this to the next level, however, with opportunities to plan parties, buy land, buy and sell assets, and get married.
Finally, the Metaverse is interactive, immersive and hyper-realistic, and includes digital assets on blockchain. Therein lies the appeal for businesses, such as law firms.
Here’s why law firms come early:
New marketing opportunities for law firms
As more brands enter the Metaverse, including big names like Coca-Cola and Nike, the virtual universe expands. Like the early days of the consumer Internet, the Metaverse provides an opportunity that businesses can take advantage of as early adopters, including law firms.
Clients will be in the metaverse, giving law firms a chance to increase their visibility and reach clients in new ways. The entire legal industry is shifting towards more modern marketing solutions, such as social media, and early metaverse companies have the potential to gain a competitive edge.
Better customer access
Like other industries, the legal industry has struggled to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic with the challenges of meeting clients and networking without in-person experiences. More and more law firms have turned to remote or hybrid working and served their clients virtually using software like Zoom or Google Meet.
The metaverse provides another way to access and interact with customers. In fact, the Metaverse may even be better for certain client situations, such as clients who cannot visit physical law firms due to time constraints, security issues, or disabilities.
Privacy and confidentiality are crucial for the legal sector.
Each Metaverse user gets a unique avatar – which may or may not resemble them in appearance, gender, age, or other identifiers – offering more anonymity. For example, a client seeking help with domestic violence, workplace harassment, or other sensitive issues can request an attorney anonymously before revealing identifying information.
In addition to serious issues that can put a client at risk, some clients may prefer anonymity from the start for simpler reasons, such as discrimination concerns. With an avatar, all prejudices disappear, allowing the client to express themselves more freely.
The Metaverse is its own virtual world within the real world, and it comes with its own virtual legal issues. Where there are businesses, relationships, properties, and other situations that would be handled legally in the real world, they are also handled legally in the metaverse – and the avatars who enter into these contracts need to be represented.
Law firms that operate in the metaverse know how it works, especially compared to more traditional firms. Users seeking help with Metaverse issues may prefer to work with a Metaverse company.
Some examples of these situations include prenuptial agreements, Metaverse marriage certificates, Metaverse divorces, property disputes, and trademark disputes regarding non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Even if a business chooses not to operate entirely within the metaverse, understanding how it works can be beneficial in meeting the needs of those particular customers.
How Metaverse Law Firms Can Scale
If the Metaverse spills over into the legal industry, much of the technology and legal technology that is gaining traction in real-world law could be leveraged in the Metaverse. This can include virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for crime scenarios and court sessions or virtual meetings for sensitive matters such as contract negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, and litigation.
The law also tends to be a step backwards from technology. All technology evolves rapidly and the law reacts to it. There are legal implications in the Metaverse – some known and some not yet explored. Notable concerns include fraudulent transactions, compromised data, invasion of privacy, unregulated spaces, etc., which can present issues.
Although there is little research on the Metaverse and law firms, curious people may have the opportunity to participate in shaping the changing landscape that could prove beneficial to the way they interact and retain a certain group of customers.
The Future of Law Firms and the Metaverse
Experts have lots of ideas about what the Metaverse is and what it could be, but no one really knows what it will fully become – yet. As more and more users and businesses enter the Metaverse and integrate it into their real and virtual worlds, the Metaverse will evolve and grow. This will lead to increased legal and regulatory issues, and metaverse clients will greatly benefit from law firms that already have a solid foundation.