Law Quill | #036 - The Metaverse And Your Law Firm

#036 – The Metaverse and Your Law Firm 

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Law Quill | #036 - The Metaverse And Your Law Firm

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The Legal Marketing Lounge

Metaverse And Your Law Firm

Hi, I’m Annette Choti, an attorney of 20 years that created LawQuill, a marketing agency for small and solo law firms. Join me to learn how to grow your law firm through digital marketing strategies, SEO, social media, and more. Let’s get that law firm of yours more online visibility, a larger digital footprint, tons of organic traffic and more clients. I’m so excited. You’re here, click that subscribe button and join me in the legal marketing lounge.

Hello, thank you for joining me today in the legal marketing lounge. Today’s episode is one that is going to be really different than anything I’ve done before. And we’re going to talk about some really unique concepts today, because we’re gonna talk about the Metaverse and what it means for you as a lawyer and for your law firm. But first off, if you haven’t subscribed yet to Legal Marketing lounge, please do that. And then you will always be notified first when we drop an episode. And the second thing is I want to thank our sponsor, which is Click Magnet, The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide for Law Firms. It’s a bestselling book that I happened to write and I just like to take a minute to give you a review of what someone said. This is from Chris Magenic of Lawson digital. She says Annette Choti takes the overwhelming concept of digital marketing and SEO and simplifies it into small, actionable and obtainable steps that any small or solo law firm can accomplish. Her witty and relatable approach makes this not just a must read, but a fun read as well. Thank you, Chris, for that great review. And if you’d like to pick up a copy, we have paperback on Amazon, and now it’s on Kindle. So you can grab that and read it as an e-book as well. So let’s get right into it. today.

What Is Metaverse?

We are going to be talking about the Metaverse and your law firm. The Metaverse, it sounds like some sort of weird alternate dimension, of that of a superhero felon, right? Well, not quite but almost because the Metaverse is similar to the multiverse in the sense that it does create a different dimension of sorts, where an alternative world exists, but in a digital format. So if you’re confused about the Metaverse, and how the Metaverse and law firms may affect each other, you are not alone. So grab a cup of coffee. And we’ll get through this together, I promise.

So the Metaverse is important, because it’s happening. It’s it’s coming, and the importance and the gravity and the impact that it’s going to have remained to be seen. Right? But this isn’t sort of just a social media platform that no one uses anymore like MySpace. Okay? The Metaverse is really something very important. People are dumping a lot of money and effort and time into its development. So they are banking on literally the fact that this is going to be a thing.

And what the Metaverse actually is, is a shared virtual space where users will interact with each other in the Metaverse with a computer generated environment. So they’re in a computer. So you’re in a computer generated environment, and you are visiting with or engaging in games or whatever it is with other users. It’s not limited to a single online location, though, because there are these multiple virtual environments, which provides a greater chance for you to sort of immerse yourself into the digital world. So the Metaverse is sort of like the world. And then there are a bunch of different countries in the world.

So when you go to the Metaverse, there are also all of these different separate places that you can go to that are not interconnected with each other. They are just their own separate little pockets. Some experts define the Metaverse as a 3D version of the internet. Others say that it’s a digital version that runs parallel to the physical world where users may spend their digital life. Users can have an app avatar, we all kind of know what that is. It’s something that represents you as a person, and then that avatar can interact with that digital world somehow. So looking at the current iteration of the Metaverse, the Metaverse may really more resemble virtual video games at this point.

But the truth is, is that it is expanding exponentially. So here’s a bit of a fun fact of history about the Metaverse. You may have just heard about the Metaverse, but author Neil Stevenson actually coined the term Metaverse in the 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, which, incidentally, I read in the 90s. And it’s a really good read. So that is where the term Metaverse came from. And he basically, the author described it as a digital world that existed parallel to the real world.

Now one of the first industries that has really embraced the concept of the Metaverse is the gaming industry. Video games such as fortnight, I’m sure you’ve heard of that allow users to go into a shared virtual space and then they build small bases and attack each other game each other and other gamers and whatever in this world. So you can even earn virtual currency to unlock you know, different prizes, awards, outfits, whatever’s going on in fortnight. I don’t know. I’m not a fortnight girl, but you get the drift. It’s basically an online virtual video game.

In more recent times, Facebook founder (Metaverse now founder) Mark Zuckerberg announced as we all know that the company is going to be changing its name to Meta and, you know, he unveiled the company’s plans to sort of invest a lot of time, effort, energy, money into the Metaverse very recently. So the Metaverse is just at the end of the day, an extension and an evolvement of the internet, just as online activity progressed from text based messages such as emails to now videos, live streams webinars. The Metaverse is really just the latest step in the chain where users can experience a digital world in 3D.

So right now the Metaverse consists of social networks and some hardware, virtual workspaces. There is some live entertainment there. There’s actually real estate that you can purchase in some of the Metaverses, there is education delivery, which means that there are ways to learn different subject matters in the Metaverse. There’s a technology and infrastructure, of course, and then there’s user generated content as well.

So basically, societies are forming now within the Metaverse.

 So What Is The Future Of The Metaverse?

The Metaverse market is expected to surpass 800 billion that’s, that’s with a B by 2024. So as of the recording of this, that’s like a year and a half from now, which is crazy. But more than 10% of this is expected to come from NF Ts. Those are non-fungible tokens. Now, that’s kind of a bit of a separate subject. But let’s dive a little bit into the real value, potentially of what the Metaverse is.

Let’s just start talking about currency. Because the Metaverse isn’t a single location. Remember, there are sort of all of these separate little countries within it. There may be different types of currency just like there are different types of currency within countries in the world. Now. Each virtual world currently has its own form of cryptocurrency, such as NFTs. Now in the future, there might be more of a universal cryptocurrency, but right now, it is the sort of individual NFTs.

What Are NFTs?

Now what are NFTs? An NFT is a unique digital good that you can own. So that can take the form of a picture, an avatar, some sort of branded material, an outfit even a plot of virtual land. I know it’s really hard, at least at my age, to sort of grasp all of this, but it is the same way that a piece of paper, which is $1 bill that you hand that to someone that you get something for that right that’s just paper, but it’s a special kind of paper.

So These are specially created digital assets that you can then trade. That’s the best way that that I at least understand it. So now what is the point of this? How does this impact you as a lawyer? How can this impact your law firm? All of the potential legal implications have not even begun to be discovered within the Metaverse simply because it’s so new. And it’s continuing to evolve.

Ways That Law Firms Might Be Able To Interact With The Metaverse

However, it is likely that the emergence of the Metaverse will create additional legal challenges and issues. So as a law firm, if you can start to try to anticipate these needs, and address them, you might be better positioned to take advantage of this legal landscape. I’m going to talk about a few ways that law firms might be able to interact with the Metaverse as a law firm.

Advertise to Clients in The Metaverse

So the first thing is, it’s possible that you’re going to be able to advertise there. So right, if SEO and keywording and getting on Google and AdWords and pay per click is not all enough for you, right? You’re like yeah, that’s great. I would like some additional challenges. So it may be possible at some point to advertise to specific clients within the Metaverse.

If you have clients who are talking about the Metaverse, or are in the technology sector. For example, if you’re an intellectual property attorney or a business attorney, it may be more likely that you will engage in the Metaverse before other types of attorneys. You might want to use the Metaverse to advertise your services. Some early adopters of the Metaverse are already taking advantage of marketing opportunities by purchasing digital space, while properties are really generally less expensive.

Meet With Clients in The Metaverse

The second thing that you might be able to do as a law firm is meet with clients in the Metaverse. So during the COVID 19 pandemic. We all know that many law firms suffered from not having physical access to clients and to the court. And, frankly, law firms were not alone. It was businesses in general.

In fact, the New York State Bar Association reported that 16% of firms reported fewer clients, and 35% reported decreases in revenue in 2020. So basically, lawyers who are unable to establish a separate office space faced greater difficulties, while some lawyers pivoted to offer client meetings over zoom.

As we all sort of have now, the Metaverse may actually provide another opportunity to enter to interact and to engage with clients. Some individuals may even prefer meetings in the Metaverse if they want to receive maybe one time legal advice. Or if they need to communicate about a sensitive subject, they want to remain anonymous. The opportunities and the circumstances for this are, are simply endless. So potential clients could use virtual reality, or something like that to meet with a lawyer.

Create an Actual Virtual Office

The next way you might be able to use the Metaverse in the future is to create an actual virtual office. So now not only are you advertising, and not only are you potentially meeting with clients, but you could actually create virtual, a virtual office, virtually having an office and real estate in a Metaverse.

In fact, some of them have already beat you to it because some law firms have already purchased land in the Metaverse in creative virtual offices there if you can believe it. So this may not be something that needs to be on the very top of your digital marketing to do list, but just know that your competition may already be there. And just like we all wish we were on YouTube at the beginning, or we all wish we were on LinkedIn or Facebook and in its infancy, you just might want to consider whether or not the Metaverse is something that fits with your law firm or your digital marketing goals.

At the end of the day, you can leverage your legal services within the Metaverse if you have a virtual office there.

Resolve Virtual Legal Needs

Another thing that you may be able to do in the Metaverse is to resolve virtual legal needs. So now I already talked about meeting potential clients or your actual clients regarding legal issues that they might have in the real world. But you might also be able to resolve virtual legal needs the Metaverse may involve really complex legal issues that Metaverse based businesses may want to resolve. And they could benefit from having legal services to address. So some of these legal issues might need to be addressed in the Metaverse itself.

Law firms could benefit by being in the Metaverse and properly advising clients because you already understand the Metaverse, you’re there. So those particular clients might trust you more simply because you are there and you understand the landscape, the atmosphere and the challenges that are there.

Legal Issues In The Metaverse

So what kinds of legal issues might develop as a result of the Metaverse? Let’s talk about some that you may not be considering. family law matters, believe it or not, people are getting married and divorced in the Metaverse already. So you could potentially assist with the dissolution of such virtual relationships.

Family Law

Now, we can talk about the ethics or the morality or all of that at some point, but the truth of the matter is that people are doing this, and you could be responsible for helping people resolve these family law matters. And also, frankly, property disputes related to the Metaverse as well, when people get divorced, virtually, my assumption is, is that they may have virtual property that they also need to actually divide at some point, such as NF T’s or cryptocurrency that I was discussing earlier. And you as a lawyer might be able to help assist them with some sort of virtual asset evaluations audits that go along with a virtual divorce or maybe even a virtual prenuptial agreement. Right.

Intellectual Property Disputes

How about intellectual property disputes? Now? This is the one that I think everybody thinks relates most with the Metaverse because there’s a juxtaposition there, right? There’s a connection that makes sense. Because NFT’s comprise a significant portion of the Metaverse at least now, there really may be more disputes regarding intellectual property, including trademark conflicts, licensing issues, all of those types of legal matters that really involve intellectual property. So I can definitely see this being a really great place for intellectual property attorneys. privacy matters. Because the Metaverse is really, really new. There will likely be issues of invasions of privacy, compromised data, unregulated spaces, sort of like a, I don’t know, a virtual Wild West may pop up. So lawyers may be able to help resolve these types of issues as well.

Cybersecurity 

And Metaverse lawyers might be able to advise on cybersecurity and related matters regarding property ownership, or real estate or NFT’s or cryptocurrency or what have you, and related matters within the Metaverse.

Now, I want to do a bit of a deeper dive on NFTs due to the anonymity that surrounds cryptocurrency because if you’re not really aware of how cryptocurrency works, it is very private and secure. And there is an anonymity that is associated with it. That’s very attractive to people. So that is the good side of it. But the other side of that Bitcoin ha-ha, see what I did.

The others. See, I just cracked myself up on here, right? I hope someone else is laughing right now. But the point is, is that while on one side it is there’s a good part of remaining anonymous. The other side is that it can be difficult to identify and prove fraudulent transactions. So a lawyer like you might be able to investigate these types of claims and help resolve disputes. Additionally, lawyers can help with registering and legally protecting NFTs and other types of cryptocurrencies. They can also advise clients on navigating legal intricacies of cryptocurrency or even mitigating risk for digital assets. And lawyers with their own presence in the Metaverse are probably going to be more entrusted with these types of cases because they just appear more credible in the environment.

Virtual Real Estate

If you are a lawyer that has virtual real estate in the Metaverse it just I think goes without saying that people within the Metaverse are going to trust you more, because it just seems like you know more about it.

Contract Law

What about contract law? Various types of contracts might need to be created. And then what does that mean? It means that contract disputes are probably going to happen. So contract disputes that are resolved in the Metaverse might need an attorney. In fact, lawyers actually might be needed at some point to create these virtual land contracts or business purchases or the selling of virtual real estate. And maybe even for events. If there’s going to be some sort of concert or some sort of event. There might need to be a contract surrounding that. Certainly intellectual property contracts. And then of course, also licensing agreements. So you can absolutely see how a business attorney would be able to gain a strong foothold within the Metaverse. There are regulatory matters, because wherever you go, there are regulatory matters. So lawyers can help with regulatory investigations and defense and handle communications with regulators because I’m sure at some point there will be some sort of regulation regarding the Metaverse and lawyers can carefully monitor the status of any changes in the regulatory framework involving the Metaverse which I am certain is going to be happening and probably be changing exponentially.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Next is alternative dispute resolution (ADR) because the law tends to lag behind technological changes, right. The law has a tendency to play catch up whenever anything new is happening in any area of the law, ADR alternative dispute resolution or alternative dispute forums might actually be better to resolve legal issues that might pop up in the metaverse. So instead of litigating such issues in traditional courts, maybe there’s going to be some sort of court Metaverse court that there’s a legal framework. And somehow these alternative dispute resolutions or maybe even litigation might be happening within the metaverse itself. And these matters. This is just a touch just scraping the surface of potential legal conflicts and issues that might arise. Within the next few years.

Criminal Law

People have even talked about the fact that there’s criminal activity in the metaverse and so you might need a criminal defense lawyer. Other people have argued that there are already instances where a personal injury attorney might be needed. So if you are a lawyer, and you probably are, if you’re listening to this podcast, there is really a potential for you to get a lot of traction in the metaverse now, because it’s early.

Possible Challenges With The Metaverse And Law Firms

Now let’s talk about possible challenges with the metaverse and law firms. So before you before you just stop this episode and run off and decide to create a law firm in the metaverse, it’s really important that you consider the possible challenges and drawbacks of deciding to take your whole Law Firm into the metaverse and start representing people there.

For example, you may not be licensed to practice law in the state where the digital user is physically located without running afoul of some sort of professional responsibility or ethics or just the law. You really need to consider if setting up a firm in the metaverse would be worth, frankly, the potential hassle and lost time of having to sift through communications from these virtual users to determine if you are even legally able to serve them.

Obviously, this works more acutely and more, you know, intently with lawyers that practice within a certain state. If you are an intellectual property attorney, then this might not affect you or impact you quite as much. The other thing is that the metaverse is in its early stages, as we all know, it doesn’t really have any regulatory oversight, but it might in the future. It probably will. And the people who are currently using the metaverse may really be early adopters, they just may not be your target clients, depending on the type of law firm that you have. So this is interesting stuff though, right? Because right before the internet became popular, everyone kind of thought that it was just a fad as well.

And I think a lot of law firms and lawyers eventually came kicking in screaming into this technological age. And frankly, if we’re being honest, a lot of law firms still hesitate and are not enthusiastic about a virtual or a digital presence. So the metaverse really does represent potential opportunity. But it also represents risk. That’s the truth. And if you are considering entering this emerging technological landscape, it’s really important that you consider a move carefully. And methodically. That’s sort of my personal disclaimer to you.

But at the same time, I don’t think you should ignore it. I don’t think you should pretend that it’s not there. Because at the end of the day, the people who are early adopters of technology like this are always the ones that benefit. I mean, even today, there are some blog articles that make it to the first page of Google, simply because they’ve been around for so long. That’s an article that someone wrote 10 years ago, and Google really prioritizes and rewards, people who have content that have been on the internet for a really long time. And the same could be said, potentially for the metaverse.

So if you decide to take the leap, obviously, you want to make sure that your Metaverse presence appears professional, and trustworthy. And you really want to take time to develop all of that. I will be honest with you. This is something that I myself am considering with Law Quill. But I haven’t found yet exactly how I fit into it. But my radar is up on the metaverse because I really don’t think it’s going away. Because like I said, a lot of people who have a lot of money are investing a substantial amount of time and resources into it. So I am curious, have you thought about the metaverse and your law firm? Have you thought about a way that there’s an intersection between your law firm and the type of law you practice and potentially the clients that you might have in the metaverse.

I would be really interested to know what you think you can reach out to me at annette@lawquill.com, you can reach out to me on LinkedIn, if you would like you can get a hold of me, frankly, on my website. And I’m really really interested and curious to see what you think and whether or not you think that the metaverse is going to be a big player within the legal industry anytime soon, within the next few years, or do you think it’s going to be another decade before it really takes hold? I’m really curious. So definitely get in touch with me. And of course, if you ever have any questions about digital marketing, or about your law firm growing your online footprint online, I would love the opportunity to visit with you for that as well. Again, I want to thank you guys for joining me today and thank you to our sponsor, Click Magnet, The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide For Law Firms. You can pick that up on Amazon, and if you haven’t subscribed,

Why? Why haven’t you subscribed? This stuff is fine. And I feel privileged being able to bring it to you on a weekly basis. So now I’m off to go create my avatar in the metaverse, I’ll be off that’s what I will be doing right now creating my avatar. And in the meantime, I will see you the next time in the Legal Marketing Lounge.