Marvel has a multiverse. This is a collection of alternate realities in which superheroes interact and exist independently, but may be aware of their other reality counterparts. Oddly enough, our world has a non-fictional metaverse. It refers to the world as it exists in digital form. Read today’s post to find out how the Metaverse impacts law firms.
What is the Metaverse?
Some experts define the Metaverse as the 3D version of the Internet. Metaverse users interact within a computer-generated space. Not limited to one online location. Contains a large number of virtual spaces. Many users have avatars that help them interact with others online. It’s like a virtual reality game, constantly evolving.
How was the Metaverse born?
The term metaverse is new to most people. However, it originated in the 1992 novel Snowcrash by Neil Stevenson. The Metaverse of his novel was a virtual place that existed parallel to our world.
It’s no surprise that the gaming industry has taken this idea and implemented it. Games like Fortnite have created virtual spaces shared by many users. Gamers interact within a fictional game setting competing with users from all over the world, building bases, attacking other avatars, earning virtual money, and purchasing virtual items.
The Metaverse spans our digital world and encourages users to participate in its 3D parallel worlds. According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook changed its name to Meta with the intention of entering the Metaverse. While it seems like a new concept, today’s metaverse includes:
- Social networks like Facebook and Instagram, virtual workspaces like Microsoft Teams, live entertainment
- real estate
- technology infrastructure
- User generated contact
As the metaverse grows in popularity, legal issues may arise. It stands to reason that you’ll need a lawyer to negotiate legality in the Metaverse.
Metaverse and the future
The metaverse market is estimated to exceed $800 billion by 2024. Over 10% of this is assumed to be due to non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
What are NFTs?
NFTs are unique digital items that users can own. NFTs may be online avatars, avatar outfits, branded materials, or virtual land plots.
The value of NFTs and the Metaverse is currently only theoretical, but may eventually change based on how this virtual world continues to value the people who use it. The metaverse is not a separate place, so multiple types of currencies may exist. Individual virtual worlds have cryptocurrencies such as NFTs, but the future may bring us one universal cryptocurrency.
Law Firms and the Metaverse
The metaverse is very new and will continue to evolve and change. The clear kind of legal issues and implications have not yet been clarified. The metaverse could cause various legal issues in the future. This creates a new legal landscape for law firms and lawyers.
Those who anticipate the questions and challenges that may arise can take advantage of this new digital marketplace.
Law firms with clients involved in the technology sector or the metaverse may use the metaverse to advertise their work. Early users of the metaverse are maximizing their marketing opportunities by buying digital spaces now, when properties can be cheaper than they will be in the future.
Many law firms have struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic without being able to meet in person. Many companies have seen revenue declines in 2020. Most of the world has introduced online or virtual meetings via Zoom or Google Meet, but the Metaverse can offer another unique way to meet with clients.
Some people prefer metaverse meetings if they are seeking one-off legal advice, or if they need to discuss sensitive and private matters and wish to remain 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 space
Many companies have purchased Metaverse assets and set up virtual offices. The move could allow law firms to leverage their presence in the Metaverse and offer legal services on their own platform.
hypothetical legal issues
Metaverse-based businesses can come with complex legal issues. Law firms familiar with the metaverse community may be able to advise clients on the legalities of the complex metaverse. Problems include:
- Family Law – Oddly enough, people get married and divorced in the metaverse. Also, buy real estate and get NFTs. Just like in the real world, legal services may be required to end a marriage, resolve a property dispute, or assist with an audit of virtual assets.
- Intellectual Property – Law firms may need to help resolve intellectual property disputes, such as trademark or copyright conflicts and licensing issues.
- Privacy – As with any new novelty, privacy issues arise. Issues such as compromised data, invasion of privacy, and unregulated space may need to be resolved through litigation. Additionally, law firms with experience in the Metaverse may be able to assist in resolving cybersecurity conflicts.
- NFT – Attorneys with Metaverse experience may be able to investigate fraud allegations in the Metaverse universe. Lawyers can also legally protect NFTs and other cryptocurrencies. We also offer advice on the intricacies of cryptocurrencies and help reduce the risk of digital assets.
- Contracts – Contract disputes arising in the Metaverse should be resolved by experienced attorneys. Law firms may assist with design contracts, metaverse business purchases, and licensing agreements.
- Regulatory Matters – Lawyers can assist in regulatory investigations by handling communications with regulators. Lawyers can monitor changes in the regulatory framework for the Metaverse.
- Dispute Resolution – It may make sense to manage Metaverse legal matters through a separate dispute forum. Traditional courts may not have the resources or references to handle the complexities inherent in metaverse conflicts.
The next step in digital marketing
A futuristic realm, the Metaverse could create a new market for law firms. It may be time to dive in and learn about this innovative virtual marketplace.
Annette Choti, Esq. Graduated from law school 20 years ago, low quilla legal digital marketing agency focused on small and personal law firms. Annette has written a best-selling book Click Magnet: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide for Law Firmsand host podcasts Legal Marketing LoungeShe is a popular keynote and CLE speaker throughout the United States and Canada.Annette used to do theater and professional comedy, but honestly, she’s not that different from the legal field.Annette can be found at LinkedIn or at Annette@lawquill.com.