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Job title of the future: metaverse lawyer

Madaline Zannes’s virtual offices come with breakout rooms, an art gallery… and a bar.

June 28, 2023
screenshot of an Zannes' avatar making a welcoming gesture toward a white cube with the sign, "ZANNES Law Firm"
Madaline Zannes at her metaverse officeCOURTESY OF MADALINE ZANNES

Lot #651 on Somnium Space belongs to Zannes Law, a Toronto-based law firm. In this seven-level metaverse office, principal lawyer Madaline Zannes conducts private consultations with clients, meets people wandering in with legal questions, hosts conferences, and gives guest lectures. Zannes says that her metaverse office allows for a more immersive, imaginative client experience. She hired a custom metaverse builder to create the space from scratch—with breakout rooms, presentation stages, offices to rent, an art gallery, and a rooftop bar. 

The Somnium Space office was Zannes’s first in the metaverse, but the firm now has multiple properties on other platforms, including a penthouse suite in Spatial’s version of New Caledonia.  

portrait of Zannes wearing a leather jacket
Madaline Zannes, IRL.

Qualifications needed: Technically, none; the metaverse isn’t an actual juris­diction. There’s no “metaverse law,” and it’s not an area that lawyers can be licensed in—at least not yet. But those with a law degree can use the technology to stand out. “What’s most important is having an open mind,” says Zannes. 

Current challenge: Law doesn’t move as quickly as technology does, and lawyers are limited to the jurisdictions where they’re licensed to practice. At the same time, Zannes says, there are “bad actors” who attempt to offer legal services in virtual spaces without any sort of certification. Some go as far as to keep their identity hidden from clients. 

To help address the problem, this year Zannes and her team created the international Metaverse Bar Association, which aims to provide a registry of verified licensed lawyers who work in Web3. 

Job perk: It’s a fun and more engaging way to meet clients remotely, as opposed to a flat, 2D Zoom interaction. “We can do our meeting while walking through the building. We can chat at our NFT gallery, at the rooftop bar, or in my office,” Zannes says. “There are more ways to find common ground and spend quality time together.” 

There’s an area in the main office called Quantum Leap where clients can review the portfolio of Zannes’s metaverse properties to explore. She even provides her clients with a private link so they can hang out in the metaverse and use the space whenever they want.  

Commercial prospects: Zannes says her “satellite offices” in the metaverse are great exposure for the firm. She also reaps monetary benefits from owning property in the metaverse by renting out the space, just as a landlord does IRL. 

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