Law office of the future: Our journey into the metaverse | Dhawal Tank
Wednesday, August 24, 2022 @ 9:02 AM | By Dhawal Tank
Last Updated: Monday, January 16, 2023 @ 9:36 AM
This is a story of how our law firm came to set up an office in the metaverse and what we learned.
The metaverse is not about VR headsets. It isn’t about blockchain and crypto. It certainly isn’t about Minecraft and video games that kids play. It’s about all of this and none of this. It is a philosophy, a vision of the future, a stack of technologies, and an attitude.
What is the metaverse?
First of all, the metaverse is a philosophy and a vision.
We are all increasingly living our lives and seeing the world through our virtual identities. Our carefully curated LinkedIn bios and Twitter handles often have greater weight on the destiny of our careers than a formal CV. A well-made website allows people to come to us, learn more about us, and engage with us on their own terms.
We interact with our digital identities with others on the Internet to shape our lives. It shapes our careers, our work, our romantic lives, our educational prospects, and so much more. It is unlikely that this will change anytime soon. For better or worse, our digital identities shape our physical lives and vice versa.
The metaverse is an extension of this logic — and this time, with us in the driver’s seat. Our identities today are owned by the likes of Microsoft, Facebook, Google and more. All separated and disconnected from each other. All relying on creating addictive algorithms to drain our attention in exchange for their services. Perhaps this is the reason why we have grown so pessimistic about technology — our lack of control over our digital identities and presence has created a dystopian Internet ruled by the corporate few. The metaverse fixes this and extends the original promise of the Internet.
In the metaverse, we own our own identity. In the metaverse, we can hop across multiple worlds with our own identity and have different experiences. These virtual worlds can encompass our work, professional, romantic, familial, spiritual and educational lives as well. Anyone can even own a piece of virtual land and build something useful with it beyond just text and images.
Public blockchains will allow us to take our identities and all the data associated with it across virtual worlds. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will allow us to own digital assets across worlds and take it with us. This will create powerful network effects across the virtual worlds.
You can access this metaverse today itself, and you don’t need to be a VR headset-wielding cyberpunk. It’s in the early stages for now, but as technology catches up to this vision, we will see hockey stick like growth and adoption. Indeed, KPMG and Citi estimate nearly $13 trillion of business will be done on the metaverse by 2030.
This is the underlying philosophy and vision of the future behind the metaverse. It also brings us to why we launched an office in this new world.
The metaverse office
Renno & Co became one of the first law firms in Canada to set up an office in the metaverse (the first was Grinhaus Law Firm).
The heart of our firm has always been to give great legal advice to the builders of tomorrow. We work with visionary entrepreneurs, companies, makers, artists and funds that are building the future. Our clients live in this world. They believe in the vision of what the metaverse will bring over the coming decades. That is why we decided to build our office in this space.
It started with finding a world to build it in. We decided on Decentraland — a world that upholds a lot of the principles that we believe in. We leased our plot of land from Metaverse Group (owned by Tokens.com). Then, we got designers (aka digital architects) to design and put our office together. We launched our office on March 2, 2022.
You can come visit us yourself at the top floor of the Tokens.com Tower at 67, 33 in Decentraland.
Renno & Co’s virtual office in the metaverse.Nothing much happened at first. Then, things started to shift. We had complete strangers walk into our metaverse office, curious about what we do. We had prospective clients and existing clients walk in, eager to say hi and learn more. Others still came to us in more traditional ways, having heard about our metaverse office.
One thing was common between these clients: they deeply respected the fact that we spoke their language, inhabited the same world and believed in the same vision of an interconnected future as they do. The builders of tomorrow are dreamers and visionaries, and we want to stand next to them. This has elevated our relationship from just being “the lawyers” where they are watching the clock with each interaction, to taking on the mythical title of “trusted advisers.”
The metaverse office became more than just a virtual space, but an attitude.
This might seem hazy at first, but for us this means incredible client retention. It means speaking opportunities and inbound referrals. It means eating up the work of big law firms that don’t understand, believe, or live this vision. We never get tired of hearing someone tell us, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually love my lawyers for the first time in my life.”
Imitation or flattery?
Should your practice build a presence in the metaverse? Not unless you are ready to embrace the underlying philosophy and the vision of the future that it stands for.
The builders who are creating the future in this space can see through someone who understands this vision and those who don’t. You cannot fake it. It means changing your practice to embrace technology, to speak your clients’ language and to upgrade systems and processes. It means believing in your clients’ vision and philosophy, not just paying lip service to being “client centred.”
We have changed systems, tools, processes internally to create a firm that lives the ethos that our clients believe in. Our ultimate recommendation: to embrace the promise of the metaverse, look within to build the firm of the future first.
Dhawal Tank is a technologist and leads business development at Renno & Co. With a decade working across tech companies in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Toronto, he is helping build a modern law firm to give excellent legal advice to the builders of tomorrow. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Renno & Co is a law firm focused on giving excellent legal advice to the builders of tomorrow. With clients in blockchain, software, fintech, digital assets and other emerging technologies, our deep relationships and expertise allows us to give practical legal advice to help entrepreneurs, companies, funds, and makers realize their vision.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s firm, its clients, The Lawyer’s Daily, LexisNexis Canada, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
Image credit / tokens.com
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