Risk Update

Risk Reading — Metaverse Conflicts Risks (Virtual Vereins?), Law Firm Data Breach Class Action ($2m Payout) & Patent Handling Conflict Allegation

The Metaverse for the Risk-Averse: Legal Ethics in the Virtual World, Part I” —

  • “As lawyers rush to claim a stake in the Metaverse [sic], it’s vital to consider how the Rules of Professional Conduct will apply. Is it a virtual Wild West, with little or no jurisprudence to guide its players? Or is it the next iteration of the internet where competing avatars understand the legal and ethical norms of a thriving commercial wonderland?”
  • “Whether practicing in the real world or the Metaverse, acting in the best interest of the client requires that lawyers avoid a conflict of interest.”
  • “In a time of increasing globalization, firms have expanded on an international level. To achieve this growth and this global reach, several of the world’s largest law firms have organized themselves under the verein structure.”
  • “Within the Metaverse, the concept of establishing a verein structure may appear to be a foreign one as there are no national boundaries in the Metaverse. Whether such a structure will apply to the Metaverse turns on whether such global initiatives in the modern era of globalization will continue to center on the contours of borders as we know it.”
  • “While the Metaverse as envisioned will be an interconnected system that transcends national borders, a verein structure could be adapted to such an environment by either allowing a law firm to offer legal services in multiple virtual environments within the Metaverse or by recreating the real-world environment of well-defined countries and allowing those law firms to offer their services in those recreated real-world environments.”
  • “Whether and how avatars will ‘travel’ in the Metaverse is still to be determined. Nonetheless, if verein firms are established in the Metaverse, they will need to address conflicts and determine who are deemed current or former clients. This poses an additional concern given that it is unknown whether a user could have multiple avatars, thereby posing as a different client or whether a user is limited to one avatar that is an extension of their ‘personhood.'”

How Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt helped write A.I. laws in Washington without publicly disclosing investments in A.I. startups


  • “On January 31, 2021, Bricker learned that it was the target of a ransomware attack. Upon learning of the incident, Bricker immediately took measures to contain the incident and launched an investigation, with the assistance of third-party cybersecurity forensic experts. Bricker also notified federal law enforcement.”
  • “Findings from the investigation indicate that the party obtained some data from certain Bricker systems during this period, including personal and medical data that Bricker had in its possession for purposes of providing legal advice to TriHealth, Inc. and Adena Health System (the ‘Health Systems’).”
  • “You are a member of the Settlement Class if your personal, medical, or financial information was potentially exposed in the Incident.”
  • “Under the Settlement, Bricker will pay $1,950,000.00 into a non-reversionary Settlement Fund that will be used to provide the following benefits…”
  • “You must submit a claim in order to receive reimbursement for unreimbursed Out-of-Pocket Losses and/or loss of time paid at $20 per hour. You may claim Out-of-Pocket and Extraordinary Out-of- Pocket Losses, Undocumented Time, and Documented Time under the Settlement.”

Wife of Retired MLB Player Sues BakerHostetler, Patent Attorney Over Fiduciary Breach” —

  • “Fulton County plaintiffs Brittany Fletcher Beckham and Lutzy Inc. claim BakerHostetler counsel’s ‘mishandling’ of patent applications resulted in a conflict of interest that blocked the plaintiff from activating her app. Now the wife of retired Major Legal Baseball infielder Gordon Beckham is seeking uncapped punitive damages through a jury trial, per a complaint filed with the Fulton State Court.”
  • “According to the plaintiff complaint, Brittany Beckham retained BakerHostetler to file patent applications for her ‘Smart Closet’ following an introductory phone call with attorneys Jeffrey Rosedale and Greg Grissett in January 2015.”
  • “But Grissett’s representation of a home and textile client named Welspun Indian Limited would soon create an issue for Beckham, prompting her to sue. In the two months after Grissett filed Brittany Beckham’s provisional patent application, he also filed patent and nonprovisional applications for Welspun that contained language identical to the plaintiff’s application, the complaint alleged.”
  • “‘In our research, most of the patent ethics cases we have seen involved different lawyers in different offices writing competing applications,’ said plaintiff attorney Randy Edwards of Cochran & Edwards in Smyrna. ‘Here, we have the same lawyer, cutting and pasting from one patent application into the other within a few weeks of filing the first, while the first application is unpublished and confidential.'”
  • “The complaint alleged that if Brittany Beckham practiced her invention, ‘she may have problems with the Welspun ‘589 Patent.’ ‘The other patent blocks our client from practicing the invention that she hired Baker to protect,’ Edwards said.”