Virtually legal


Simpson Millar LLP has become one of the first law firms in the UK to launch a new “virtual office” in Second Life – an online, sophisticated 3D virtual world. Second Life opened to the public in 2003 and is today ‘inhabited’ by millions of residents and a growing number of businesses worldwide. Craig Jones, operations director at Simpson Millar who led the project explains: “We decided to launch a virtual office in Second Life to expand the service we currently offer to our clients but also to explore its extensive training potential for our clients and employees throughout the UK. “Many of our clients have injuries which can make it difficult for them to meet us at our offices. Other people are simply too busy. Second Life is a way of ‘seeing’ your legal representative and receiving advice without having to come to our office.” About the potential uses of the new office, Craig added: “We are still working extensively to explore the vast potential of our virtual office but in essence there is the potential to do almost everything we currently do in the real world. “As an example, we are currently planning our first legal seminar. The idea is to offer training for both our clients and colleagues throughout the country from a seminar room in our virtual office. The savings in terms of impact on the environment, time and travel expenses are immense. “Unlike watching a training video, at these seminars people will be ‘sitting’ in a virtual room full of other people. It makes it feel like a normal seminar and people will hopefully be more motivated to interact and participate. They will be able to either ask questions through their PC microphone or type questions which the presenter can then answer verbally for all participants to hear.” “This is an exciting move for us with huge potential for both our employees and clients. The decision to set up an office in Second Life is a direct reflection of our core business values – to be a truly modern and forward thinking law firm. We are very much a 21st century law firm and take pride in constantly embracing cutting edge technology. ”The legal profession as a whole is in desperate need of change and modernisation to meet the challenges of growing competition. Our presence in Second Life is a way of making ourselves even more accessible and approachable to our clients.” Simpson Millar has plans to offer an extensive range of services out of its virtual office – some free of charge. Craig Jones is also hoping to establish solid working relationships with other law firms in Second Life with different expertise to offer an even more comprehensive service to clients.

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