11 December 2018

Kirkland & Ellis latest to drop Arbitration for non-attorney staff

Firm previously eliminated mandatory arbitration for associates, former associates, as a student-led group continues pushing for changes.

Kirkland & Ellis has dropped mandatory arbitration agreements for non-attorney staff members, several weeks after eliminating them in employment contracts for associates, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg Law.

Harvard boycott

The change comes as the Pipeline Parity Project at Harvard law school, a student-led initiative to end harassment and discrimination in the legal profession, campaigns nationwide to eliminate mandatory arbitration, which they believe hides workplace misconduct and unfairly favors employers. Kirkland previously eliminated arbitration agreements for associates after a group of Harvard Law students urged their peers to boycott the firm’s recruiting efforts. The policy change follows Sidley Austin’s announcement that it will be eliminating mandatory arbitration for both attorneys and non-attorney staff.

Firm committee

In a memo to all law firm personnel, leaders stated ‘following a recent review, the firm committee determined that the firm would no longer require arbitration of any employment disputes that may be brought by associates or summer associates.’ The then stated, ‘the firm committee has now also determined to extend that policy so that the firm will no longer require arbitration of any employment disputes that may be brought by any employee who is not an attorney.’ A representative for Kirkland declined to comment on the policy change.