They are “the next horizon” in law, says Lawtech 365’s CEO, Rudi Kesic.

More than 80 per cent of law firm managing partners expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on the legal industry, according to a report from Lawtech 365.

The Lawtech 365’s “Legal Vision 2030” report called the metaverse “the next horizon” in legaltech, where lawyers can provide legal advice without having to be physically in the same room as their clients.

Another application could be found in regtech for secure digital client ID authentication and onboarding, for example, a client being able to securely provide their ID and source of funds information to a lawyer without having to travel to their lawyer’s office.

“In lawtech, the biggest opportunity over the next 10 years will be to capitalise on the potential of the space in between the real and fully virtual worlds,” Rudi Kesic, CEO at Lawtech 365.

He added it’s helpful to think about augmented reality and its ability to layer digital information on top of lawyers’ real-world experience – or augmenting law students’ training with more effective hands-on learning.

Kesic said he was surprised to see that nearly all the managing partners in the survey said they believed continuous advances in technology are becoming more reliable than economic, political, or social trends in informing their law firm’s long-term strategies.

He pointed out that lawyers say cyber security, fraud and money laundering breaches are their primary concern – 64% of those surveyed – particularly financial fraud and other cyber-attacks.

“As the legal sector develops, it will introduce many more connected, intelligent legal services, creating new entry points connecting our physical and digital worlds,” he said.

“But there are significant challenges to connecting these technologies safely and at scale – data interoperability and cybersecurity.”

Significantly, risks to cybersecurity and data privacy will not be relegated to the digital world but will have serious consequences in the physical world, too. That means law firms need the right channel, source, policies, and governance in place to have trustworthy data.

Kesic explained many law firms have one or two pieces of the puzzle but are missing the other crucial pieces.

“Join in consortiums and legal industry standards groups to shape governance, data interoperability and cybersecurity standards,” he said. “From an interoperability perspective, this could mean participating in ecosystem-wide efforts to set standards for how law firms onboard and verify new clients, share information, connect and communicate.”

The convergence of technologies – such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) – is reshaping human experiences in new and innovative ways.

“Over the coming decade, these new experiences will transform the legal sector, from client onboarding to court hearings and creating new ways to communicate with clients,” he said.

Kesic is predicting that artificial intelligence will dominate most legal practices within the next decade, leading to the “structural collapse” of traditional law firm processes.

“Expert systems fuelled by sophisticated algorithms, natural language processing capabilities, and unhindered access to stores of data are poised to uproot many well-established law practices.”

As for the impact on law firms, and in the words of Rudi Kesic: “The economic model of law firms is heading for a structural revolution, some might say a structural collapse. We may have heard a lot about “New-Law”, but the impact of legal AI platforms will make such developments pale in comparison.”