In 2021, we heard a lot about Metaverse. Maybe it’s a little early to assess whether Metaverse is here to stay or will be one of those trends that few people will care about in the next five years. That means that it’s a bit early to assess whether and when your law firm should dive headfirst into it. But it’s definitely something that needs to be on your radar (it’s certainly on ours).
New Jersey law firm Grungo Colarulo, for example, opened a metaverse branch, in a genius marketing move. While we are not suggesting that you invest time and resources to the same at this point of the Metaverse trend timeline, bear in mind that “The implications […] for the legal community and within the regulatory community as well as every other facet is enormous.”, as said by Joseph Raczynski of Thomson Reuters in this elucidative article.
We are in the age of the digital economy based on cryptocurrencies, data protection issues, intellectual property rights concerning non-fungible tokens (and, soon, concerning metaverse entertainment), and there will be more of it.
For now, let us talk about real stuff happening in the virtual world, that should have an impact if not in your law firm’s operations, in the services you offer:
1. Digital economy and cryptocurrencies
Blockchain technology will have a significant impact on law firms because it is currently being used for financial transactions, contracts, and securities documentation. This offers opportunities for lawyers and law firms not only to adopt these technologies to manage finances, but also (and obviously) to assist clients that have virtual operations.
2. Virtual spaces and data protection
Virtual spaces are increasingly becoming part of our everyday life. We are experiencing the internet on a screen, but it is more than that. It is a new space for interactions with people and businesses. These interactions happen in increasingly complex ways. We have to think of the impact of data protection and rights in online spaces, and also when it comes to law enforcement in virtual jurisdictions.
3. Virtual courtrooms
Virtual reality can be a place where lawyers meet clients and then continue to work in the courtroom with them remotely. The courtroom, in this instance, is a virtual courtroom where lawyers can offer their services without the need of stepping out of their office. This would be an example of how VR could work in the future legal industry. Maybe those courtrooms will exist in the Metaverse, now that there are law firms there? Who knows?
Non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, are new and fascinating digital assets that offer opportunities for creators and entrepreneurs to distribute their content. However, NFT marketplaces can’t tell the originality of one’s creation, it’s virtually (no pun intended) impossible to monitor ‘stolen’ digital artwork from being sold, and some platforms make it very difficult to flag an IP fraud. That’s where you and your law firm enter the game.
5. AI-driven lawyers
AI-driven lawyers are on the horizon. They are skilled in predicting what you need and they are able to fill in the gaps that you may have overlooked. They are also capable of providing legal counsel for things that have not happened yet, which is an opportunity to prepare for the unexpected. No, we’re not joking: this is happening and, while there’s no need to worry (AI-based legal services are not direct competitors), it is some technology that you might want to use in a not too distant future.
Get your law firm ready for the Metaverse
The opportunities for law firms are rapidly increasing as well, due to the rise in cyberrelated lawsuits or disputes about contracts arising from virtual transactions between entities situated in different jurisdictions.
We are still not suggesting that you invest resources in a virtual office, but there are many ways in which law firms can prepare for this ‘new normal’:
1) Have a clear vision of what your firm stands for and how you want your clients to view you. If your firm’s brand positioning is something between innovative, modern and techy, maybe you should incorporate one of these trends in a way that resonates well with the firm’s reality.
2) Stay up-to-date on best practices and innovations in this field. If it’s not that easy (lack of time and excess of paid client work, maybe?), we can do some content curation for you.
3) Make sure you have a team of lawyers who are skilled in technology issues.
Get ready for this new legal arena: Keeping up with trends is essential to not miss business opportunities, and we can help: get in touch.