The metaverse is an exciting new frontier for the world at large, and as with all things, the legal profession is getting dragged in, whether lawyers like it or not.
But what, exactly, is the metaverse and how will it affect the practice of law? In a recent Above the Law survey, more than 100 people from all areas of the profession — ranging from those in Biglaw to those working in-house to those running their own firms — gave us their thoughts on the metaverse. Some believe that it represents a game-changing business opportunity, while others are much more pessimistic.
First things first: We know that lawyers have a reputation for being slow to embrace new technology, so we decided to start with the basics.
Do you know what the metaverse is?
An overwhelming number of respondents (over 97%) reported that they do know what the metaverse is. This was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps the pandemic years have helped when it comes to adoption of new technologies.
How do you think the metaverse could change your practice?
Multiple selections were permitted for this question. Virtual networking conferences (69%), opening a virtual office (65%), and increased privacy work (60%) were identified as the top three areas where the metaverse could change respondents’ practices. Increased work in other areas specifications included getting clients from another universe (exciting!) and virtual transactions, while “other” responses included being unique and ahead of the curve and “not at all.” (Remember, when we said some were pessimistic about the metaverse, we weren’t kidding.)
How soon do you think these changes will begin to affect your practice?
The largest group of respondents (43%) reported that they believe practice changes could begin to take effect in 1-3 years. That’s fast for any profession, let alone the law.
How would you rate the opportunities the metaverse presents?
Over half of respondents (58%) indicated that they believe the metaverse presents game-changing business opportunities. Given the fact that Biglaw firms are now involved in big-money metaverse deals, we’d say that the majority of our respondents are really leaning in the right direction.
Are you planning to establish a metaverse presence in the near future?
On the whole, 75.68% of respondents reported that they are planning on establishing a metaverse presence in the near future, with 50% reporting that this is a priority for them. Just like in real life, the metaverse real estate market is booming, so we hope these lawyers are able to launch their e-practices soon.
Based on our survey results, lawyers seem to be excited about the opportunities that are presented by the mere concept of the metaverse. Just imagine what will happen when they actually start practicing law there. For those who are sour on the metaverse’s prospects, it’s high time to get with the times — after all, the future may be just a few clicks away.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
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