Law Firm Arbitration Clauses for Summer Associates

From this morning’s Inside Higher Education:

A group of top law schools on Monday released the results of a survey of workplace harassment policies at law firms recruiting on their campuses.

Those law schools asked the firms last month to respond to questions about mandatory arbitration agreements and other policies dealing with workplace harassment. Student organizers had pushed for the disclosure of those policies, and recent news reports had shown some major law firms required summer associates to sign mandatory arbitration or nondisclosure agreements.

The survey results showed several top law firms require arbitration for workplace disputes, although some noted that they do not require confidentiality and others exclude harassment or discrimination claims. Almost half of the 200 firms that received the survey chose not to respond.

The responses range, predictably, from “No,” to “Yes. After considering the alternatives, we concluded that handling employment disputes through arbitration is advantageous to both parties because of the speed with which such matters can be resolved, but we do not and have never required that the matter be kept confidential.” to “We do not offer any employment contracts, and we reserve the right to change our employment policies at any time.” In the odd world of big law firm hiring, I’ll be interested to see if the market (such as it is) reacts to the availability of these data.


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