The push against arbitration clauses has been gathering steam over the past few years. It has now found momentum with law firms. (Paywall, but you can see enough to get the point.)
I understand the push back against arbitration clauses because many arbitral bodies are thought to be unfair (not great data on this – and there are some very good ones) and many people think it allows companies to hide their dirty laundry (which does happen).
I only wish the law students took a more nuanced position. Mandatory arbitration clauses can be a godsend to those who are afraid of facing public scrutiny about what happened – it is not always fun to face both the perpetrator and the public when bringing a case. The public (or a vocal part thereof) does not always treat the victim with much kindness or understanding.
Also, taking this out of the sexual assault/harassment realm. Bringing a public lawsuit may have consequences on who will hire you in the future. Even if the claim is completely legitimate. That’s the world we live in.
A more nuanced approach would leave it open to the victim/aggrieved party to decide whether they want to file a public lawsuit or private arbitration.
Perhaps the law firm agreements do this. But this is not what the law students are pushing for.