Law firms in the metaverse: toward the era of interdigitation?
For these new activities in the virtual world, it is necessary to have competent and certified legal counsel to offer legal services at the preventive stage and not when it is too late and the damage is done. Having, therefore law firms in the metaverse world will be increasingly important and valuable to increase one’s client base in managing interactions between the real and virtual worlds.
At the end of 2021, we witnessed a nice little scene in American sauce. In the States, while waiting for the actual business, the race to win the title of the first law firm to open an office in the metaverse began. Competing for it were the firms Metaverse Law, Falcon Rappaport & Berkam and Grungo Colarulo.
However, what will really count in the coming months is not so much being “come one” as being able to figure out how to extract value from this new dimension of life. A survey by the online publication Above the Law last spring revealed that the greatest expectations right now are for developing virtual networking activities, as well as for opening digital offices and increasing efforts on the privacy front.
When asked, how long will it take for the metaverse-driven evolution of the legal services market to become appreciable, 43% of respondents said 1-3 years. But most intriguing is the fact that 58% of practitioners think this will be a game changing opportunity and one in two consider the need to open a virtual office a top priority.
METAVERSE AND LEGAL SERVICES
As well pointed out by the General Command of the Guardia di Finanza there is a “parallel” economic world in the Metaverse that creates immense opportunities but needs just as much caution in carrying out planning and business actions.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than your philosophy could ever dream of”. Who knows if today, William Shakespeare, would have imagined these lines thinking of the metaverse rather than the otherworldly. Surely, the proliferation of new worlds, digital and synthetic, would have inspired one of his plays or perhaps a comedy. The subject would have been imposed by the mass dimension of the phenomenon and the multiplication of universes that now excludes no one. Not even lawyers.
According to experts within the next 10 to 15 years the true METAVERSE will be realized, i.e., a network made no longer of sites but of 3D digital worlds into which an unlimited number of users can be immersed in real time, who can jump from one world to another with their avatar. In the absence of rules, at least 3 bad scenarios are foreshadowed:
- International contracting not adequately secured;
- Financial and tax crimes, especially for cryptocurrency users;
- Sexual solicitations.
Already there are cases found by journalists and researchers where sexual predators have abused this technology. Jess Sherwood of BBC News posed as a 13-year-old girl: neither her real identity nor her age are verified when the account is created. All she needs for her fake profile is her Facebook account. Within the app, the journalist visits rooms where users can meet other users’ avatars: there are ones that mimic places like a McDonald’s restaurant, but also strip clubs and rooms where avatars have a feature that allows them to take off their clothes and engage in erotic role-play with sex toys. From the BBC’s account, Sherwood witnesses grooming, racial slurs, and a rape threat. And if online harassment already expressing itself in the dissemination of intimate texts, photos and videos is ruining the lives of so many young people and teenagers, what will happen in the Metaverse? “One has to be terrified,” says Mattew Ball, one of the most authoritative experts on the subject, “of the forms that revenge porn could take. In short, a world that mimics the real one, but without the laws of the real world, and so, in theory, nothing will happen if a child is molested, drunk driving or a dog is kicked. In addition, technologies are being developed (haptic feedback) that will allow people to physically feel the object they touch in virtual reality.