TechLaw.Fest, the region’s premier law and tech conference, returns for the fifth year in July, bringing together over 2,000 legal, tech and government leaders who will deliberate and explore legal issues surrounding the metaverse and their impact on the practice of law.
After being held online in the last two years, TechLaw.Fest 2022, to run from 20-22 July, will return to a hybrid setting but with a twist. On the first day, participants will experience the metaverse with the help of virtual reality (VR) headsets at a one-day exhibition at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. The metaverse, widely seen as the future of the Internet, is expected to usher in a new era of immersive, interactive virtual world that runs parallel to the real world.
A two-day virtual conference that follows the “digireal” exhibition will feature discussions from global thought leaders on the legal implications of moving into the virtual world and other features of Web 3.0 like blockchain and 5G. The impact of these technologies on the legal profession will also be examined.
Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Mr Edwin Tong SC, will deliver the keynote speech. Other speakers include Mr Arthur Sychov, Founder and CEO of popular VR world Somnium Space; Ms Madaline Zannes, one of the first lawyers to set up a law office in the metaverse; and Mr Arif Khan, CEO of Alethea AI, which uses artificial intelligence to build intelligent and interactive NFTs.
TechLaw.Fest is a signature event of the Singapore Academy of Law that examines issues related to the law of technology and the technology of law. MP International and the Ministry of Law, Singapore are co-organisers of this year’s exhibition and conference.
TechLaw.Fest’s deep dive into the metaverse is timely, as some research estimates that a quarter of people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse come 2026. 
Mr Rama Tiwari, Chief Executive of SAL, said: “The next iteration of the internet (Web 3.0) coupled with next generation interfaces using augmented and virtual reality will bring benefits and challenges. All new technologies give rise to novel legal issues. TechLaw.Fest offers a timely forum to experience, explore, discuss and exchange ideas on how to either mitigate risks or resolve these novel legal issues. We look forward to the experiences and insights that TechLaw.Fest will bring.”
DXC Technology is once again the Digital Transformation Partner of TechLaw.Fest 2022. Said Mr Bill Deckelman, its Executive Director and General Counsel, “The metaverse is an exciting evolution. Every new technology presents both risks and opportunities and in that respect, the metaverse is not different. The opportunities for collaboration and even improving a company’s sustainability posture with reduced travel and in-person meetings are immense. But so are the potential risks. The need for embedded security protections, enhanced identity and privacy measures need to be top of mind so that organisations can enter this new virtual world securely and safely.”
TechLaw.Fest 2022’s Global TechLaw Partner is Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The firm’s Partner-in-Charge of its Singapore Office, Ms Elaine Chao said: “Gibson Dunn is delighted to partner SAL in TechLaw.Fest once again. We are honoured to support an event that is itself constantly innovating, addressing critical emerging issues in law and technology, and providing insights into the ever-changing virtual world.”
KAS Singapore will be partnering TechLaw.Fest 2022 as its International Community Partner. Mr Stefan Samse, Director, Rule of Law Programme Asia at KAS, said: “The metaverse is blurring the distinctions between reality and fantasy. While this innovation is extremely advanced and future-oriented, it is raising questions about applying existing laws to the virtual world. KAS is extremely delighted to support TechLaw.Fest 2022 given the urgent need to drive this dialogue.”