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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.”

'Monday Beam'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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9 Responses to “Second Life In-World Attorney ‘Monday Beam’ Hired for Land Dispute, Expects Settlement, Attorney Fees”

  1. on 19 Feb 2007 at 5:35 pmUrizenus

    Great job Benjamin, very interesting update!

  2. on 19 Feb 2007 at 6:06 pmProkofy Neva

    This is interesting, but because a number of people may come to rely on him, I think it’s worth taking a closer look at “Monday Beam’s credentials.

    Mind you, I already pointed out on the Herald that a virtual lawyer licensed to practice at the bar of the Metaverse by wise avatars at the Ivory Tower of Prims or something could accomplish just as much using mediation and documentation skills as a RL lawyer.

    Still, Monday gets his cred from writing the following on his profile:

    “Monday Beam, ESQ. is a RL attorney, author, hobbyist-actor/filmmaker and futurist, interested in exploring the fledgling virtual communities present within SL. Areas of practice include Criminal Defense, Family Law, Estates, Wills and Trusts, Real Estate, Personal Injury and various Pro Bono causes. My office is also currently providing real life (RL) contracts for “in game” (SL) business situations. Feel free to stop by for a legal consultation from an atypical lawyer.”

    I thought it sounded a little…helter-skelter…but when I showed it to a RL attorney not involved in SL, he laughed, saying, oh, that sounds like a law school student, he’s putting down every field, you couldn’t possibly specialize in all those areas from criminal defense to wills and trusts.

    But…maybe in the state of Illinois you can.

    Seems to me Second Life opens up vast vistas for people to come in and play what that character in John Grisham’s novel described himself as “paralawyer”.

  3. on 19 Feb 2007 at 8:10 pmProkofy Neva

    Also, I have to raise the issue of the “Second Life Better Business Bureau”. Gosh, I wish I had a $100 for every time somebody makes a “BBB” in Second Life, which usually amounts to whitelisting themselves and their buddies, and blacklisting others they don’t like. When only one person is listed as “owner” of such a group, you see that it doesn’t have a publicly responsible and credible board. When you see no publicly listed members, you also do have to ask questions.

    The charter for the group is as follows:

    “The Second Life Better Business Bureau (SLBBB) is a community business standards non-profit organiztion dedicated to keeping residents apprised of all fraudulent and malicious activities which hinder the sense of honest, descent and trustworthy business operations in Second Life. It’s goals are to provide a resident database of fraudulent sellers, business owners, harassers and other misfits who tend to diminish the Second Life experience.”

    Who is to decide what is “honest, descent and trustworthy?

    It’s great to have some action taken against the elusive scammers and fraudsters of Second Life.

    But as we see the misuse of Ban-Link, where people wind up on a mass-ban list merely for their writings on blogs, or by accident, or for some minor infraction, we have to ask what the criteria is for investigating what is fraudulent; the means by which someone is put in a database; and the avenue for appeal to be removed, given the rampant opportunity for using the blacklisting method as a form of griefing and settling scores in SL.

  4. on 23 Feb 2007 at 4:30 pmMonday Beam, ESQ.

    I did say I was an “atypical” lawyer, didn’t I? :)

  5. on 01 Mar 2007 at 11:31 amAshcroft Burnham

    This is very interesting, and shows the increasing importance of law inside virtual worlds such as SecondLife.

  6. on 31 Mar 2007 at 7:26 amOliveEue Sholokhov

    Please allow me to say that The Second Life Business Bureau (SLBB) is making strides at helping people recover their losses. We guarantee no one the ability to recover their monies, HOWEVER, we can and will expose the blatant frauds. Some of our board members consist of BMW and Cisco Systems and if we were a fly by night group I do not believe they would attach their names to us.

  7. on 05 Aug 2007 at 12:08 pmLadyJane Allen

    Last year a friend went to one of the members of the BBB, a realtor, to purchase 6 sims. The realtor quickly took my friend’s money but refused to deliver. After 4 weeks of having to track down the realtor, my friend approcahed the BBB and they did nothing, not even one response to my friend’s cry for help.
    My friend hired an RL attorney. An exhastive internet search was made of the realtor until his RL identity was discovered, since SL would not help either. The attorney visited the sheriff’s department in the raltor’s hometown. Also many calls were made to the investment firm where this “realtor” worked in RL.
    After six weeks of constant badgering, the realtor finally emerged demanding my friend cease the harassing. They met and negotiated. My friend had been offered 5 class 5 sims for $6,000.00USD. What he gat was 3 sims, 2 class5 and 1 class 4. The realtor kept the change, over $3,000.00.
    The BBB would not step in against one of its own members. The SL and Linden staff claimed they could not intervene in private business. Basically, we are defenseless against virtual world ripoffs.
    Next time you want to buy a sim, go see Mr. Beam and bring him to the negotiating table. Even if you are dealing with the Lindens themselves.

  8. on 31 Mar 2010 at 7:22 pmJustin Breil

    Ok u guys can SUCK IT…..NO BODY BLAMES MONDAY…..NOBODY…why dont u guys freakin come there and face the stress of being a lawyer and managing all the stuff…LOOSERS….Monday is way better than all u guys….Get a life people..!!

  9. on 01 Aug 2010 at 9:14 amZach

    Monday is a joke.
    Look here and see the retraction he was able to get in one of his “big cases”. See it at:
    In a recent gust of meaningless wind, he sent a letter of warning, and intent to prosecute to a resident. In his letter, he inadvertantly divulged his clients RL identity, phone # and address, By sloppy references to the clients business and Linden Labs had to slap him on the wrist for “Disclosure”!

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