Lawyers are essential to preserving democracy, upholding the rule of law, and creating a more just society. The spooky Saga of Gunna serves as a cautionary tale to remind us to always remember that people matter most.
The medieval tale grew around Gunnuhver Hot Springs, an area of highly active steam vents, lava fields, and the largest boiling mud pool in Iceland. According to local legend, an old witch, Gunna, lived near the spring on land owned by a lawyer, Vilhjalmur Jonsson.
When Gunna failed to pay rent, Jonsson confiscated her most-prized possession: her beloved cooking pot. Enraged, Gunna starved herself to death.
Strange occurrences during Gunna’s funeral unnerved the community. The next day, they discovered Jonsson’s dead body, battered and broken — a sure sign of Gunna’s ghostly vengeance! Her restless spirit plagued the area until a clever priest banished her into the hot springs for eternity.
Never underestimate the power of a ghost’s attachment to their kitchenware!
People Need Lawyers To Protect Their Rights
Let’s take a step back and consider Gunna’s relevance today. Witch or not, Gunna wasn’t given a chance to be heard, like many people whose voices are excluded from public discourse today. She didn’t pay rent, but Gunna still had rights that needed to be protected.
The one person with the expertise to protect Gunna’s rights stole her property. Jonsson paid the ultimate price for his pot pilfering, a stark reminder that individuals who feel wronged by nefarious actors can have little to no legal recourse without a lawyer’s legal assistance.
Lawyers have a genuinely awesome responsibility to promote justice, champion human rights, and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. We’re bound to maintain the rule of law, often by setting up systems that lay the groundwork for more fair and equitable communities and businesses and implementing and enforcing solutions to protect the rights of all.
Yet, many people still cannot afford legal representation. Systemic inequalities, discrimination, and socioeconomic biases can impact a lawyer’s ability to effectively advocate for clients. Courts are overburdened, and client interests don’t always neatly align with broader considerations of justice and fairness.
Lawyers often must make difficult decisions in challenging circumstances. There tend to be no ideal solutions, and consequences can affect the lives of many.
But there is also much to celebrate as today, lawyers are embracing technology as a powerful instrument in their fight for a more just world.
Technology Is A Powerful Tool For Protecting People’s Rights
By increasingly leveraging automation, lawyers can serve more people more efficiently. Data-driven AI tools aid decision-making and bring transparency to legal processes, paving the path for the public to build trust in the legal system.
Technology helps lawyers target specific goals and issues with enhanced precision and accuracy. With clarity comes the opportunity to use resources more efficiently, collaborate more effectively, and drive positive change as we advance into a more informed and cooperative future. Lawyers who seize the opportunities technology offers can take the lead and continue to innovate to meet evolving client needs.
By advocating for justice and strong legal frameworks for society to flourish, lawyers can help make the world a better place. As arbiters of a more peaceful society, we can also help prevent ill will (and potential acts of retribution) against others. Remember Gunna’s story and protect people’s rights with all your might, for if you don’t, well, let’s just say you don’t want to face the wrath of a vengeful ghost armed with a cooking pot. Stay safe this Halloween, and do your best to avoid supernatural encounters with Gunna!
Olga V. Mack is the VP at LexisNexis and CEO of Parley Pro, a next-generation contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. Olga embraces legal innovation and had dedicated her career to improving and shaping the future of law. She is convinced that the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than before by embracing technology. Olga is also an award-winning general counsel, operations professional, startup advisor, public speaker, adjunct professor, and entrepreneur. She founded the Women Serve on Boards movement that advocates for women to participate on corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies. She authored Get on Board: Earning Your Ticket to a Corporate Board Seat, Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security, and Blockchain Value: Transforming Business Models, Society, and Communities. She is working on Visual IQ for Lawyers, her next book (ABA 2023). You can follow Olga on Twitter @olgavmack.