In March, the People’s Parity Project started a petition to the National Association of Law Placement, a group representing legal employers, to include information about forced arbitration in its Directory of Legal Employers.
NALP’s directory features comprehensive profiles of over a thousand different legal employers, which provide information about their recruiting practices, professional development opportunities, average hours, employee demographics, and other metrics. NALP describes its directory as the objective, go-to student resource for BigLaw research. But the directory was missing some key information, like whether a firm would require its employees to sign away their right to sue or speak up about workplace misconduct.
Eight months and 994 signatures later, NALP let us know that its Board of Directors agreed to add a series of questions about employers’ use of forced arbitration and non-disclosure agreements in its directory in 2020—which is not a minute too soon.
The following questions will be added to the directory starting next year:
Q1. Please describe your firm’s policies for summer associates, associates, and/or other non‐partner lawyers regarding employment disputes and workplace misconduct.
Q2. Please describe specifically your firm’s policies surrounding non‐disclosure agreements as they apply to summer associates, associates, and/or other non‐partner lawyers.
Q3. Please describe specifically your firm’s policies surrounding mandatory arbitration agreements as they apply to summer associates, associates, and/or other non‐partner lawyers.
“Making information about which firms use forced arbitration more accessible to all law students helps raise awareness of the problem, which gets us one step closer to our goal of ending forced arbitration, once and for all,” said Sarah Bayer, a student at Harvard Law School.
However, NALP did not agree to include questions about law firms’ policies for non-lawyer employees. “We wish NALP had heeded our advice to ask legal employers about their policies regarding non-lawyer employees as well, because we don’t think employees with JDs should have more rights than those without,” said Marwa Farag, a student at NYU Law.
In the meantime, law students who are seeking information about legal employers’ use of coercive contracts can use the Find Your Firm tool on the People’s Parity Project website.