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Course Details

Employment Arbitration Bootcamp (Winograd)

Spring 2024   LAW 657-001  

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Additional Information
Experiential Course


Skills Training
Oral Presentations
Team Projects
Drafting Legal Documents
Expository Writing
Other Professional Skills: Students will participate in interactive exercises discussing relevant cases and problems arising in employment arbitration proceedings. Written assignments will contribute to skill development. Students working in teams also will present a case in a mock arbitration hearing with professional arbitrators presiding.

100% Other (Grading is credit/fail.)

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets in person.

Meeting Times/Location
FS 1:00PM - 6:00PM
Tanenbaum Hall 345



This two-unit course, offered in five class sessions on a credit-no credit (pass-fail) basis, will study the law and practice governing mandatory employment arbitration proceedings affecting the statutory rights of millions of workers. The course will follow Penn Law’s “bootcamp” model with classes from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Friday-Saturday, February 9-10, Friday-Saturday, February 16-17, and Friday, February 23, 2024. At the last class session, students working in teams will present a case at a mock arbitration hearing before professional arbitrators. Enrollment is limited to 20 students in the J.D. and non-J.D. programs.

For nearly 50 years, few subjects in U.S. civil law have been as contested as mandatory arbitration, also described as forced or compulsory arbitration. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), enacted in 1925 and originally intended to govern commercial and business disputes, is at the heart of continuing legal conflict. Individuals at work and in a wide variety of other everyday settings are subject to FAA-enforced contract terms. These terms require, as a condition of the relationship, submission of all disputes to arbitration instead of recourse to a judicial proceeding.

No subject has been affected by the arbitration debate more than the employment relationship in the non-union workplace, in part because personal and business stakes are high, and in part because extra-judicial forces - business and advocacy groups - are well-organized and funded. The direction the law has taken has been affected by federal and state laws, arbitration rules promulgated by private organizations, and hundreds of appellate decisions and scholarly articles. In the Supreme Court’s 2021-22 term, it decided four employment arbitration cases under the FAA. A recent federal law bans mandatory arbitration of claims alleging sexual assault and harassment. In the public realm, law students successfully organized against mandatory plans for law firm employees, and journalists have drawn attention to arbitration for newscasters, sports figures, and those working in the gig economy who often are characterized as independent contractors.

The instructor has been an arbitrator and mediator of workplace and other civil disputes since 1988. For over 35 years, he has been on the adjunct faculty at Berkeley Law teaching labor law and arbitration. He also has taught on the adjunct law school faculty at the University of Michigan and at the University of Pennsylvania. The instructor has served as president of the National Academy of Arbitrators, was a senior editor of a treatise on employment law and dispute resolution, has written articles for professional journals in the field, and has contributed to amicus filings on arbitration cases in the Supreme Court. Previously, he was an an administrative law judge for the California Public Employment Relations Board and an attorney for the United Farm Workers Union.

The course will meet in T345.

Course Concentrations

Courts and the Judicial System Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of both substantive and procedural issues in the operation of our legal system; Perform legal analysis in the context of procedural issues and the judicial process; Communicate effectively on topics related to procedure and the judicial process; Demonstrate an understanding of how procedural issues and the judicial process affect all other area of our legal system.

Employment Law and Employee Benefits Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of employment law and employee benefits; Perform legal analysis in the context of employment law and employee benefits; Communicate effectively on topics related to employment law and employee benefits; Demonstrate an understanding of how employment law and employee benefits affect other areas of law.

Public Interest Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of public interest law; Perform legal analysis in the context of public interest law; Communicate effectively on topics related to public interest law; Demonstrate an understanding of how public interest law is connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.