Client Business Development — A New Marketplace

Just at a time when firms are fiercely competing for highly desirable business clients, comes a whole new realm offering additional business development opportunities. Will you be on the radar screen for these prospects?

Who are the mysterious new prospects to whom I refer? I’m talking about those who increasingly participate in a rapidly expanding online virtual reality world. Participants in virtual reality design a unique online persona, called an Avatar, which becomes the online resident of the virtual world.

Second Life is probably the best known virtual world. It is a 3D online digital world imagined and created by its residents. In Second Life, through interactive computer simulation, participants act through their Avatars and can see, hear and work with simulated objects in a computer-generated environment.

Second Life boasts over 9 million participants from around the globe. Participants are governed by the Terms of Service for this virtual world, which specifically allow Second Life users to retain all intellectual property rights in the digital content they create or own in Second Life. While Second Life is a virtual world, participants conduct transactions in this space cumulatively involving more than $1 million per day. That’s a lot of virtual bucks.

In a very interesting article in Findlaw, Eric Sinrod, a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, discusses a real-world complaint which has been filed, and arises out of a dispute regarding behavior conducted in the virtual reality.

Interested in hanging out your law firm shingle in virtual terra firma? You can find a review of the various virtual worlds available, make your pick, and then establish your Avatar. Who knows, it may actually lead to real-world clients.

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