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Law Students Boycotting Firms Requiring Mandatory Arbitration

By George Khoury, Esq. on December 06, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Over the last year, some BigLaw firms have made headlines for dumping mandatory arbitration clauses from associate employment contracts, at least when it comes to claims involving sexual harassment.

And while arbitration clauses don't seem to be getting any weaker, top talent candidates are starting to think twice about whether they want to be subject to one, and one group of students at Harvard Law have banded together to tell employers just that. The Pipeline Parity Project is a student run group demanding that BigLaw and other firms get rid of mandatory arbitration clauses, and it has been rather successful thus far.

Rejecting Employers with Arbitration Clauses

While some employers might be thinking that it doesn't matter what one student group is doing, any employer that recruits law students during on-campus events might want to think twice. The Pipeline Parity Projects is calling for law schools to boycott employers that mandate arbitration.

In response to the #Dumpkirkland social media campaign, Kirkland and Ellis actually did end mandatory arbitration for summer and regular associates. The Pipeline Parity Project seeks to capitalize on that success and influence other schools and students to exert collective influence on the firms that require mandatory arbitration.

People in Glass Law Firms ...

The problems with gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the legal industry will not be cured by removing mandatory arbitration from associate employment contracts. But, not forcing aggrieved employees into a confidential arbitration process may actually prompt firms to handle complaints more aggressively, as well as be more proactive in creating an environment where less complaints will be filed (thanks to training and actually enforcing the lofty policies all firms -- and businesses for that matter -- seem to have, but few seem to live up to).

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