In an exclusive interview with the Canadian news magazine Maclean’s, Grinhaus Law Firm founder Aaron Grinhaus shared invaluable information on setting up the first Canadian law firm to establish a virtual office in the metaverse.
The Toronto-based law firm made history in January 2022 with this move. Made entirely out of pixels, the office allows the firm to stay ahead of the curve in emerging technologies.
In the interview, Grinhaus said he had always been interested in blockchain and the law. He wrote the first-ever textbook on the subject in 2018 and became co-director of Osgoode Hall’s program in Web3, blockchain and metaverse law that same year.
The Canadian asserted that such innovation requires regulation and many legal questions arise for businesses looking to establish a presence in the metaverse.
Grinhaus created a virtual office for his firm after being asked by clients and colleagues about implementing this technology into their practices. Although Facebook’s Meta and Roblox are popular choices, the founder opted for Decentraland due to its decentralized nature, meaning it is co-owned and operated by its users.
The firm bought a parcel in the university district for five figures to maintain a professional and academic atmosphere. NFTs represent the “Land” in the metaverse. As owners of the parcel, the firm holds exclusive rights to it and is free to build anything.
Setting up virtual office
The Grinhaus built its virtual office with the help of employees who had experience in this area from scratch. It used a “Lego set” approach with various options for building materials such as walls, windows, stairs and handrails.
Welcoming our partners in (helping people avoid) crime @OutlierCanada (https://t.co/tx6ljLlRux) & https://t.co/CCbIO0T7Cb to our #Decentraland #Metaverse office!#Blockchain #cryptoregulation
Come visit us to discuss latest Web3 legal/regulatory trends AND SEE OUR COOL FOUNTAIN! pic.twitter.com/CYKhMjvSV1
— Aaron Grinhaus 🇨🇦 (@A_Grinhaus) February 18, 2022
While some options are free, others can be purchased as upgrades. The building — transparent at the front — has two floors and four rooms, a fountain and benches outside for client meetings.
The metaverse office has chairs, tables and virtual paintings as decor. The firm has recently renovated to accommodate new tenants and launched MetBA — a metaverse bar association to recognize qualified lawyers and offer professional development workshops and conferences.
Grinhaus uses Oculus headsets to log into the virtual office. It is also accessible on desktop or mobile via the Decentraland website. He said they don’t use the metaverse 24/7 but only to meet with current and potential clients.
Grinhaus emphasized the value of adapting to new technologies to boost productivity and collaboration at work. He pointed out that even while skepticism is natural, accepting new technology is important if society is to advance. The founder gave the example of lawyers who were initially reluctant to adopt email but eventually came to rely heavily on it.
Grinhaus claimed that the office had been attracting a small but growing number of clients, particularly those in the blockchain space. Clients approach the firm through the virtual platform or are drawn by its reputation.
These clients are interested in using NFT platforms, making cross-border transactions using Web3 technology and expanding their reach through metaverse marketing.
He underlined the importance of meeting in the metaverse to assure clients they know the field. He views the company’s investment in the metaverse as positive and is interested in seeing where it goes in the future.