Marvel has the Multiverse – a collection of alternate realities where superheroes interact and exist independently but are sometimes cognizant of their counterparts in other realities. Oddly enough, our world has the Metaverse, which is not fiction. It refers to the world that exists in digital format. Find out how the Metaverse impacts your law firm by reading today’s post.
What is The Metaverse?
Some experts define the Metaverse as a 3D version of the internet. Metaverse users interact within a computer-generated space. It’s not limited to one online location; it includes numerous virtual spaces. Many users have avatars that help them interact with others online. It’s like a virtual reality game and continuously evolves.
How Did The Metaverse Come to Be?
The term, Metaverse, is new to most of us. However, it originated in a 1992 novel entitled Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. The Metaverse in his novel was a virtual place that existed parallel to our world.
It’s not surprising that the gaming industry took this idea and ran with it. Games like Fortnite created virtual spaces shared by many users. Gamers compete with users worldwide and interact within a fictional game setting where they build bases, attack other avatars, earn virtual money, and buy virtual items.
The Metaverse has spread around our digital world, encouraging users to partake in its 3D parallel world. According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, Facebook has even changed its name to Meta with the intent to enter the Metaverse. Although it appears to be a new concept, the Metaverse of today includes:
- Social networks like Facebook and Instagram, virtual workspaces like Microsoft Teams, and live entertainment
- Real estate
- Technology infrastructure
- User-generated contact
As the Metaverse’s popularity grows, legal issues may erupt. It is only natural that lawyers will be needed to help negotiate legalities in the Metaverse.
The Metaverse And The Future
It is estimated that the metaverse market will surpass $800 billion by 2024. More than 10% of this is supposed to come from non-fungible tokens (NFT).
What Are NFTs?
An NFT is a distinctive digital item a user can own. NFTs can be online avatars, avatar outfits, branded materials, or plots of virtual land.
Currently, the value of NFTs and the Metaverse is only in theory but may eventually change based on how this virtual world continues to value the people using it. The Metaverse is not an individual location, so there may be more than one type of currency. Individual virtual worlds have their cryptocurrency, such as NFTs, but it is possible that the future may bring one universal cryptocurrency.
Law Firms And The Metaverse
Since the Metaverse is so new, it will continue to develop and change. Distinct kinds of legal issues and implications have not been uncovered yet. The Metaverse will likely create various legal challenges in the future. This creates a new legal landscape for law firms and lawyers.
Those who anticipate the questions and challenges that may arise will be able to take advantage of this new digital market. Here are some ways a law firm can capitalize on the virtual realities of the Metaverse:
Law firms with clients in the technology field or engaging in the Metaverse may want to use the Metaverse for advertising their practice. Early users of the Metaverse are maximizing marketing opportunities by buying digital space now when properties may be less expensive than they will be in the future.
Many law firms struggled without being able to meet in person during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many firms saw a decrease in revenue in 2020. Most of the world was introduced to online or virtual meetings via Zoom or Google Meet, but the Metaverse could provide another unique way to meet with clients.
Some people may prefer a metaverse meeting if they are looking for one-time legal advice or have a sensitive, private matter to discuss, and they want to be anonymous. Going forward, Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) could be a potential way for lawyers to communicate with new and existing clients.
Virtual Office Spaces
Many businesses have purchased property in the Metaverse and set up virtual offices. This move may allow law firms to leverage their presence in the Metaverse and offer their legal services on that unique platform.
Virtual Legal Issues
Metaverse-based businesses may involve complex legal issues. A law firm versed in the metaverse community may be able to advise clients about complex metaverse legalities. Issues may include:
- Family Law – Oddly enough, people marry and divorce in the Metaverse; they also buy property and acquire NFTs. Like in the real world, legal services may be needed to end a marriage, resolve property disputes, and assist with virtual asset audits.
- Intellectual Property – Law firms may be needed to help resolve disputes regarding intellectual property, such as trademark or copyright conflicts and licensing issues.
- Privacy – As with any new novelty, privacy issues will arise. Issues such as compromised data, invasion of privacy, and unregulated spaces may need to be resolved with litigation. Additionally, law firms that have experience in the Metaverse may be able to help resolve cybersecurity conflicts.
- NFTs – A lawyer with metaverse experience may be able to investigate claims of fraud in the metaverse world. Lawyers can also help with legally protecting NFTs and other cryptocurrencies. They can also provide advice regarding the complexities of cryptocurrency and help diminish the risk for digital assets.
- Contracts – Contract disputes arising in the Metaverse will need experienced lawyers to sort them out. Law firms may help design contracts, metaverse business purchases, and licensing agreements.
- Regulatory Issues – A lawyer can help with regulatory investigations by handling communications with regulators. A lawyer will be able to monitor the status of changes in the regulatory framework involving the Metaverse.
- Dispute Resolution – It may make sense to manage legal issues in the Metaverse via alternative dispute forums. Traditional courts may not have the resources or references to handle the unique complexities of a metaverse conflict.
Digital Marketing Next Steps
The Metaverse, a futuristic realm, might create a new market for law firms. It might be time to dive in and learn about this innovative virtual marketplace. Take the time this week to learn more about the Metaverse and if it might be a good option for your law firm.
Annette Choti, Esq. graduated from law school 20 years ago, and is the Founder of Law Quill, a legal digital marketing agency focused on small and solo law firms. Annette wrote the bestselling book Click Magnet: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide For Law Firms, and hosts the podcast Legal Marketing Lounge. She is a sought-after keynote and CLE speaker throughout the United States and Canada. Annette used to do theatre and professional comedy, which is not so different from the legal field if we are all being honest. Annette can be found on LinkedIn or at at firstname.lastname@example.org.