Law Schools

Women at Ivy League law schools reject employers with mandatory arbitration agreements

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Following the #dumpkirkland campaign started by a group of Harvard Law School students who convinced Kirkland & Ellis to end mandatory arbitration agreements for associates and summer associates, female law associations at eight top schools have agreed to not accept funds from or promote any law firms that have the employment contracts.

The Recorder and Above the Law have the story here and here.

The Pipeline Parity Project, an organization that describes itself as a group of Harvard Law students focused on ending harassment and discrimination in the legal profession, coined the Kirkland hashtag.

In 2018, the group surveyed legal employers about employee mandatory arbitration agreements; results can be viewed here. The new boycott also will apply to law firms that don’t respond to future Pipeline Parity Project surveys.

“We know that many law students have already committed to spending next summer or year with these firms, and we understand that those choices are complex and personal. We hope that using our collective voices to oppose pernicious employment practices will ensure that future students do not have to weigh the harm of signing a mandatory arbitration agreement when deciding where to work,” the Dec. 3 statement reads.

Participating groups include Yale Law Women, the Harvard Women’s Law Association, the University of Chicago Law Women’s Caucus and Women of Stanford Law, among several others.

In November, Kirkland announced that it had dropped mandatory arbitration contracts for summer associates and associates, a few weeks after #dumpkirkland was introduced. According to the female law groups’ statement, the firm has not disclosed whether it still requires mandatory arbitration contracts for nonattorney staff.

Earlier in 2018, other large law firms ended employee mandatory arbitration contracts following a social media campaign led by law professors and students.

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