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Law Firm Plans Real-Life Practice at Virtual ‘Second Life’ Office

Posted Nov 6, 2007 6:37 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Bridging the gap between a fictional 3D world on the Internet known as "Second Life" and real life, a United Kingdom law firm reportedly has opened an office there not simply to play at law practice or recruit clients but to perform real-life legal functions.

"Many of our clients have injuries which can make it difficult for them to meet us at our offices. Others are too busy. Second Life is a way of 'seeing' your legal representative and receiving advice without coming to our office," Craig Jones, the operations director at Birmingham's Simpson Millar tells the Birmingham Post.

A small but growing number of avant-garde law firms are establishing a presence in Second Life's online community. However, few apparently have attempted actually to practice law there. A Canadian law firm, Davis LLP, claimed earlier this year to be the first to open a Second Life law office, as discussed in a previous ABAJournal.com post, though other lawyers reportedly have already found the virtual world a potentially lucrative game to play, as discussed in a March 2007 ABA Journal feature story. And an ABA Journal cover story this month notes that such activities can present potential ethics pitfalls for American lawyers.

Nonetheless, where these law firms have already gone, others are virtually sure to follow.

"The legal profession is in desperate need of change and modernization to meet the challenges of growing competition," says Brian Allan, business development director for Simpson Millar. "Our presence in Second Life is a way of making ourselves even more accessible and approachable."

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