April 5, 2022

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm, Central Time

Outsourcing Justice: The Rise of Modern Arbitration Laws, the Challenges Surrounding Forced Arbitration Clauses, and the Implications for Consumers and Employees

Walsh Classroom at the Underwood Law Library

Join the ACS SMU Student Chapter and the Dallas-Ft. Worth ACS Lawyer Chapter for a conversation with Professor Imre Szalai, a nationally-known Federal Arbitration Act scholar. Forced arbitration clauses have become a ubiquitous legal tool. Such clauses have appeared in hundreds of millions of consumer and employment agreements in recent years. These clauses, often hidden in the fine print, have been used to deprive vulnerable parties of their day in court for virtually every type of claim, including civil rights claims, personal injury claims, wage claims, and consumer protection claims. Arbitration has become a hot issue in the United States in recent years, especially in the wake of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements. In a rare-showing of bipartisanship, Congress just enacted a landmark amendment banning forced arbitration for sexual harassment and sexual assault claims, and Congress is currently debating additional amendments. This term, the Supreme Court is hearing five separate cases involving arbitration, an unprecedented amount, and the Justices have been sharply divided on arbitration matters in the past. During this lunch talk, Professor Szalai will discuss the history of our modern arbitration laws, the impact of these laws on our civil justice system, why the use of arbitration can be a divisive topic, and next steps for working to limit the harmful impacts of forced arbitration.

Professor Szalai wrote a leading book about the enactment and development of modern arbitration laws, Outsourcing Justice: The Rise of Modern Arbitration Laws in America. This book examines the history of modern arbitration laws and the original intent behind these laws, and demonstrates how the U.S. Supreme Court has grossly misconstrued these laws.

Professor Szalai has also presented written testimony to Congress regarding arbitration law. In connection with litigation, he has written several amicus briefs and served as an expert regarding arbitration issues, and he has been interviewed and quoted in national media regarding arbitration. Professor Szalai also serves as an arbitrator in commercial cases. Professor Szalai maintains a blog about arbitration at www.arbitrationusa.com.