"Multiple research studies show that VR [Virtual Reality] can promote empathy ... a virtual reality simulation from the perspective of an elderly person showed reduced signs of ageism." - I-Heien Sherwood, "Tech and Sympathy," in Campaignlive, April 18, 2016. Here is the article.
Futuristic lawyers can predict big implications for leveraging virtual reality (VR) in their work. Of course, just as with the introduction of social networks, the courts, regulatory agencies, and legislatures will have to play catch-up.
For example, it could be a while before those will deal with the question of the use of VR in divorce mediation. During the mediation, both parties agree to experience what the other feels via VR. Two years later, one party files a lawsuit contending the lack of full disclosure about the power of VR. That party wants the terms and conditions of the divorce reviewed by the court.
But, even now, trial lawyers and their jury consultants can leverage VR when making picks from the pool. How would a middle-aged female married accountant born, raised and living in Florida experience the attempted murder of an estranged cheating wife by her husband born and raised in New York but allegedly doing the deed in FL? What kind of juror in FL would be able to enter the mind and heart of a wounded NY husband?
Also, right now, in transactional business, lawyers can gain an edge through VR. By constructing a profile of the other parties they can uncover blind and weak spots. Also, they can access what buttons to press to elicit the responses they want.
In addition, before creating strategy, lawyers can journey through the world view of the judge in the case for a bench trial.
For example, suppose VR had been available to Jones Day's lawyers including Mickey Pohl when defending client Sherwin William in "People of California v ARCO?" The judge in that bench trial had been James Kleinberg. Sherwin Williams had been among the three out of five defendants Kleinberg found guilty of creating a public nuisance. The trial was a class action one about the previous manufacture and sale of lead paint before it was banned in the late 1970s for residential use.
Through a simulation of Judge Kleinberg's mind and emotions, Pohl et al. might have had an ah-ha moment of how to play it.
On the other hand, their use of VR pre-trial might have required full disclosure in court. The judge might have asked, "Did you VR me?"
Meanwhile, in my field of communications there is intense debate how VR will affect storytelling and if that impact will soon become yesterday's hot experience. Brandname firms such as Wieden+Kennedy are using VR as a multi-purpose tool. For instance, W+K, reports Campaignlive:
" ...[in its] work for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society lets wheelchair-bound patients experience their favorite activities again, like dancing or surfing."
Likely, before a public relations agency assigns me a ghostwriting or speechwriting project, they will have me do VR time.