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Social Media Shouts '#MeToo' and BigLaw Listens

In case you missed it, social media is a force to be reckoned with in the law.

It's not just a medium for social connections, like Facebook. And it's more than a referral medium, like LinkedIn.

Social media has the power to change the law, like it just did at BigLaw. Munger, Tolles & Olson has abandoned mandatory arbitration agreements for its employees because social media said so.

No Mandatory Arbitration

Munger Tolles announced it will no longer require employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment. The law firm made the announcement on Twitter, naturally.

The now-extinct agreement required summer associates to submit to binding arbitration for claims relating to employment -- including sexual harassment claims. It also said "the fact and content" of any arbitration must be held "in the strictest confidence."

Havard law lecturer Ian Samuel leaked the agreement on Twitter over the weekend. The next day, the law firm fessed up.

"Munger, Tolles & Olson is committed to the highest standards of conduct," it tweeted. "In this case, we were wrong, and we are fixing it."

#MeToo Power

The firm, with 175 lawyers and a major footprint in California, quickly withdrew its offending contract. But it was too late to avoid the backlash.

Above the Law piled on even after the law firm announced its error. "This is absurd," the ezine said. "Time's up, BigLaw.

The #MeToo movement is changing legal culture, but the power is in the medium more than the message. From law firms to the president, Twitter has become a legal and political force.

It is changing the law across borders, too. For example, H&M, a global clothier which employs about 130,000 people, recently abandoned a lawsuit because of social media backlash.

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