Perhaps the Wall Street Journal was right yesterday when it reported that “Virtual worlds may look like toys for the geekiest of geeks, but they have quietly slipped into the mainstream.”
Until today I’d made a point as Ishah Tripsa (the Second Life identity I use when I teach) to keep myself connected to philosophical and religious developments and places, virtual educational conferences held in world, and the like. Today, however, I finally broke down and let my first world legal life spill over into Ishah Tripsa’s by joining the SL Bar Association. Located in Second Life’s Justice Center (that's me standing in front of the building), the SL Bar Association has begun offering interesting continuing education discussion on topics related to virtual worlds—for example, how to enforce trademarks and intellectual property rights in world, internet fraud—and has even managed to convince the California Bar Association to give continuing legal credit for attending them. (Would that the New York Bar Association would do the same! While I do the bulk of my required CLE online these days, it’d be great to be able to do it in world.)
Since legal institutions seem to be one of the most conservative types of organizations (along with religious institutions and educational ones), I just couldn’t resist supporting a bar association that was taking a leap and dealing seriously enough with virtual worlds that it doesn't just talk about them but to move in and engage in them.