By Kevin O'Keefe

Law firm says ‘No Go’ on starting virtual office in Second Life

I questioned last year when a law firm would open a virtual office in Second Life, an online society with a 3D world, where users can build, explore, and participate in a real economy.

Well, it’s been considered by at least one firm. But after giving it a lot of consideration, the UK Law Firm of Freeth Cartwright decided against it.

The firm explained its reasoning “…to keep it real and avoid “virtual worlds”” for the time being in their IP Practice Group blog, Impact:

  • Second Life didn’t seem very usable. It took forever to do anything in the world. Travelling in bullet time gets tedious after about a minute…
  • … so Second Life broke that tedium by repeatedly crashing and throwing me out of the world after 2 minutes of use. Very annoying!
  • Even on my home PC, the graphics were shoddy and slow. I suspect you need a beefed-up super-fast PC with a hardcore graphics card to get Second Life to work properly. My lowly office PC would be in meltdown even trying to install Second Life, let alone run it.
  • Like most offices, our PCs are behind a firewall. Second Life won’t get access to the internet unless we did lots of fiddling about.
  • There didn’t seem to be any obvious business opportunities for a law firm. Linden Lab enforce IP rights within the world, taking one of our obvious roles away from us.
  • To have an online presence, we’d need to allocate someone to be on Second Life as our representative 9 til 5 Monday to Friday. Without any obvious way to cover the cost of that, it’s a very expensive luxury.

Freeth Cartwright hasn’t given up hope. “When virtual worlds improve and become more populous and viable as business environments, we’ll look again but for the next year at least we’re going to be keeping our feet on the ground in the real world.”

I still think Second Life has merit for a law firm looking to pick up some news coverage. Companies like Sony and Dell got good play out of opening presences in Second Life.

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Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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