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Law Firms Force Employees to Arbitrate -- Is Blogging the Reason for It?

Earlier this year, I identified Above the Law editor David Lat's in-depth coverage of Aaron Charney's discrimination lawsuit against Sullivan and Cromwell based on sexual orientation as a post that rocked the blogosphere. Before blogs, law firms could keep these types of lawsuits private, but in the aftermath of Lat's spotlight coverage of the lawsuit, I predicted that law firms would be forced to "reconsider how to handle these disputes going forward."

Turns out that at least one law firm has done just that. As reported at Above the Law (original source) and Conde Nast's Portfolio, Kirkland & Ellis has sent a memo to its associates informing them that disputes that cannot be resolved internally must go to arbitration rather than court. Employees must agree to the policy by March 3. According to Portfolio:

The move appears to be a response to the publicity generated by the legal battle between Aaron Charney, a young associate at Sullivan & Cromwell, who sued the firm, contending that it discriminated against him based on his sexual orientation.  The Kirkland memo says that management believes "this program will provide a more efficient means to resolve disputes that cannot otherwise be resolved internally."

Mandatory arbitration agreements are becoming more common with employers as I posted back here in December. I wonder how the K&E associates who are called upon to defend those mandatory arbitration agreements for their clients feel now that the firm has applied those agreements to them? 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 22, 2008 at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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