• Employers can write agreements themselves, without attorney input
• Plaintiff attorneys may ask: ‘What’s in it for my client?’
Labor and employment law firm Ogletree Deakins unveiled a software tool May 21 to help employers generate arbitration agreements containing class action waivers.
“DIY Arbitration Agreements” was announced the same day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such waivers are enforceable.
Users answer a series of questions and the product generates an arbitration agreement tailored to their business needs, the firm said.
“We are anticipating with this decision, employment arbitration will be getting more attention,” Christopher C. Murray, co-chair of the management firm’s arbitration and alternative dispute resolution practice group, told Bloomberg Law May 21. “This is something we’ve been working on for a while.”
It will be available to users for a flat fee, but Murray wouldn’t disclose the cost.
The managing partner at Michelman & Robinson in Los Angeles urged caution about the software.
“I think you run the risk that there are certain questions that get flushed out in one-to-one conversations with an attorney” that an automated tool could miss, Dana Kravetz told Bloomberg Law May 21. He spoke hypothetically because he hasn’t seen Ogletree’s product.
Employers that want current employees to sign an agreement giving up their right to file a class action would have to give them something in return, Kravetz said. For new employees, there’s the issue of when the employer should tell them they must sign an arbitration agreement—at the application stage, at the offer stage, or on the first day of work.
“Plaintiffs’ attorneys are going to be very cognizant of how that agreement gets signed, and the consideration for it,” Kravetz said.