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Professor Richard Frankel Wins 2022 Civil Justice Scholarship Award for ‘Corporate Hostility to Arbitration’

Professor Richard Frankel

January 13, 2022

In December 2021, Professor Richard Frankel won Pound Civil Justice Institute’s 2022 Civil Justice Scholarship Award. Frankel, who is Kline Law’s associate dean of experiential learning and director of the civil litigation and dispute resolution program, won the award for his article “Corporate Hostility to Arbitration,” which was published by Seton Hall Law Review in 2020.

Frankel’s article was one of two pieces of scholarship selected for the award from the 49 works that were nominated. The other winner is Brian Fitzpatrick for his book The Conservative Case for Class Actions.

“It’s a true honor to receive this award,” said Frankel. “Many consumers and employees are unaware that the contracts they sign require them to give up their right to go to court and submit to a private arbitration system that often favors big companies at the expense of the individual. I hope that courts will start to see that federal arbitration laws were never intended to condone abusive arbitration tactics.”

The founder and previous director of Kline Law’s Federal Litigation and Appeals Clinic, Frankel studies the intersection of civil rights, civil procedure and federal courts. In his article “Corporate Hostility to Arbitration,” Frankel explores mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts. He argues that corporations have aggressively used the courts to invalidate state efforts to regulate the most unfair aspects of arbitration, on the ground that those state laws demonstrate an illegitimate “hostility to arbitration.” At the same time, corporations express their own hostility to arbitration by selectively carving out specific claims from their arbitration clauses when it benefits their interests. Frankel then proposes reforming U.S. legal doctrine around arbitration clauses to one that allows greater regulation of unfair aspects of arbitration to better protect consumers and employees.

“Professor Frankel’s article uncovers a significant inconsistency in current arbitration jurisprudence,” said Alex Geisinger, Kline Law’s associate dean for faculty development and research. “As the Civil Justice Scholarship Award recognizes, it is this kind of clear-eyed insight that makes Professor Frankel’s work so important to the field, as well as to the achievement. I am truly excited to see his work so deservingly honored.”

In addition to the Seton Hall Law Review, Frankel’s articles on arbitration have also appeared in publications including the Cardozo Law Review de novo, Washington University Law Review, Texas Law Review See Also and the Journal of Dispute Resolution.