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Female Law Students From Top Schools Unite in a Stand Against Mandatory Arbitration

On December 3, 2018, a group of women’s law associations banded together and issued a statement asserting that they will “no longer accept any funds from any law firm that requires employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements” or refuses to disclose when asked whether they require such agreements. The groups also assert that they will not promote those firms to their members in any way. According to the statement, the women’s groups are committing to include non-legal workers in their future inquiries about such clauses.
The statement was signed by women’s (including women’s affinity groups) from the country’s most elite schools: Yale, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, Cornell, New York University, and the University of Michigan.
The move comes shortly after law students at Harvard pushed back against Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s mandatory arbitration policy. Their pressure was successful to the extent that the firm dropped the clause for incoming lawyers. These elite students seek to interrupt big law’s ability to recruit female lawyers and summer associates, as they rely significantly on these student groups for hiring.