Jacqueline Watts, Head of Commercial Law at A City Law Firm

Jacqueline Watts, Head of Commercial Law at A City Law Firm, a boutique firm of Solicitors in the City of London is a company commercial Solicitor specialising in innovative and pioneering technologies. Jacqueline deals with the cutting edge of legal landscapes, where traditional laws intersect with the digital frontier. Her career reflects the ever-evolving nature of the legal profession in an age of rapid technological advancement. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a dedication to staying ahead of the curve, Jacqueline navigates complex legal frameworks, providing invaluable counsel to clients navigating the intricacies of modern business.


With a rapidly evolving digital landscape, where artificial intelligence (AI), Web3, and the metaverse are not just buzzwords but part of society, the legal profession stands at a crossroads. As a technology lawyer with many years of experience navigating the complex intersections of law and technology, I have witnessed first-hand the enormous shifts brought about by digital innovation. The legal profession has been compelled to adapt and evolve in ways previously unimaginable to meet the demands of this new era.

The first step in adapting legal services for this new era is for lawyers to become technologically proficient. Genuinely understanding the intricacies of AI, blockchain technology, and virtual reality is no longer optional; it’s imperative. This goes beyond mere familiarity; lawyers must now be capable of navigating these technologies with ease and understanding.

Lawyers need to be able to identify where these underlying technologies, as well as their implementation and use, fit within current laws and underlying legal principles. They need to be able to identify the risks for their clients and how they can be properly protected. To do this they need to understand how the technologies work and why. They need, for example, to be able to identify why there may be issues with data privacy and intellectual property in AI or how an agreement is formed during a transaction on the blockchain. For instance, smart contracts—self-executing contracts with the terms directly written into code—are revolutionising the way agreements are made and enforced. To effectively advise clients in the Web3 space, lawyers must not only understand the legal implications but also the technical underpinnings of these contracts.

Legal Frameworks for the New Digital Age

As the digital and physical worlds become increasingly intertwined, the legal frameworks governing them must also evolve. Traditional laws, designed for a world where interactions were predominantly offline, often fall short in addressing some of the complexities of virtual spaces and pioneering technologies. Issues of intellectual property, privacy, and even jurisdiction take on new dimensions in the context of the metaverse. For example, when a dispute arises over a digital asset in a virtual world, determining the applicable jurisdiction itself can be complex.

Many regulators are taking steps to implement laws and regulations governing new technologies, but this issue goes beyond merely looking at traditional jurisdictions and laws and moves into questions concerning self-regulation and the use of technology itself to restrain and control behaviours and protect against harm.

Ethical Considerations and AI Governance

The rise of AI poses profound ethical and legal questions, from accountability for AI-generated content to the implications of autonomous decision-making systems. Lawyers must be at the forefront of these discussions, advising and advocating for regulations that ensure AI is developed and deployed responsibly. This includes addressing bias in AI algorithms, safeguarding data privacy, and establishing clear guidelines for intellectual property rights.

Furthermore, as AI becomes more integrated into legal research and practice, we must also examine the ethical implications of relying on these technologies in our own work, ensuring that they augment rather than replace the human judgment critical to legal analysis and considerations concerning human behaviour, disputes, and decision making.

Client Services and the Metaverse

The way lawyers interact with clients is also undergoing a transformation. The metaverse offers a platform for innovative client services, from virtual law offices and courtrooms to immersive legal education and training. This not only makes legal services more accessible but also allows for new forms of client-lawyer interaction that can enhance understanding and engagement. However, this shift also requires lawyers to be adept at managing digital identities and protecting client confidentiality in virtual spaces, where the boundaries of privacy are constantly being redefined.


The transition into the age of AI, Web3, and the metaverse is not merely a technological upgrade but a fundamental shift in how we interact in the world. For lawyers, this shift presents both challenges and opportunities. By embracing technological proficiency, pushing for suitable legal frameworks, championing ethical and responsible AI use, and innovatively reimagining client services, we can ensure that the legal profession not only survives but thrives in this new era.

As we navigate these uncharted waters, our guiding principle should be a commitment to upholding the core values of the legal profession and law—justice, integrity, and the protection of rights—while being open to the transformative potential of technology. The future of law is not just about adapting to change; it’s about leading it. With a blend of expertise, foresight, and adaptability, we can help redefine legal practice for the digital age, ensuring it remains a vital pillar of society, capable of properly addressing the needs and challenges of an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

As a technology lawyer, I am optimistic about our ability to harness these changes for the betterment of the clients we serve. The age of AI, Web3, and the metaverse is upon us, and it’s time for the legal profession to embrace the digital revolution, rise to the occasion, and transform our practices and our thinking, to meet the demands of this new frontier.

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