In what is considered the first event of its kind, Santa Clara University School of Law is holding an open house in the virtual world of Second Life on Jan. 22.

Visitors to Second Life, an Internet-based universe where real-life users assign themselves as cartoon characters and go to virtual, animated locations, will travel virtually to Santa Clara Island to see the school.

The event is designed to attract potential students and emphasize the law school’s close ties with the technology industry in the Silicon Valley area of California.

“We need to meet prospective law students where they are, and more and more, we find potential law students on various online arenas, including virtual worlds,” said Julia Yaffee, senior assistant dean of external relations, in a press release.

Hosting the two-hour event that begins at 6 p.m. West Coast time is Jeanette Leach, dean of admissions. She will attend as her own self-created avatar character, Penny Canucci. Second Life residents — who total 15 million — can tour the school and see a video of Dean Donald Polden as himself, not an avatar. Visitors also can ask admissions staff questions and get information about applying to the school.

Second Life was created in 2003 and enables its “residents,” as they are called, to socialize and buy and sell as avatars.