Second Life In-World Attorney ‘Monday Beam’ Hired for Land Dispute, Expects Settlement, Attorney Fees
February 19th, 2007 by Benjamin Duranske
The Second Life Herald reported today that in-world attorney ‘Monday Beam’ (pictured) has been hired by a group of disgruntled Second Life citizens who claim that they were summarily evicted from parcels of virtual land they purchased on a private island sim known as “The Tropicana.”
Private island sims are privately held and managed. They cost US$1,675 for initial set up and creation and US$295 a month for maintenance. “The Tropicana” island sim is owned by ‘Joshua Sao,’ and is not the better known “Tropicana” island sim.
The SLH reports that the evictions occurred on February 14, and that residents approached Linden Lab but were reminded “that island owners have absolute power in their tiny fiefdoms.”
VB contacted ‘Beam,’ who said that he has had several settlement conversations already with ‘Sao’ and expects “to present him with a final settlement offer today once the class closes.”
‘Beam’ says he “anticipates ‘Mr. Sao’ will pay what is owed to the plaintiffs [including] actual damages, plus consequential damages, and attorney’s fees.”
Currently, there are nine citizens who have raised claims, and ‘Beam’ says that there are “a few more pending today.”
In handling in-world disputes, ‘Beam’ says he “typically operates in three phases: in-world settlement with the defendant first, then Terms of Service abuse reports and written notification to Linden Lab if applicable, and finally real-world litigation, assuming that the financial damages are significant enough.”
‘Beam’ is charging a flat fee for this representation, though he “usually goes contingency on these matters.” ‘Beam’ did not discuss the particular financial arrangement he has with these clients, but says he “typically charges a nominal L$1000 [about US$4.00] retainer for an initial consultation, and an additional L$4000 [about US$15.00] to carry out an in-world claim, per litigant.”
By real-world benchmarks, ‘Beam’ notes that, he is “severely underpaid.” If a case becomes real-life litigation, however, Beam charges his real-life fees — currently US$400 per hour.
In the real world, ‘Beam’ is a solo practitioner. He says that he is “a trial lawyer by trade” who is “licensed to practice in Illinois and U.S. Federal courts.” He generally does not publicize his real-life identity in-world, though he does make full disclosure to clients for a fee of L$30,000 (at current exchange rates, a little over US$110.00).
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