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Arbitration law journal symposium examines impacts of diversity, COVID-19

The Penn State Law Arbitration Law Review (ALR) hosted its annual symposium on April 20, 2022, featuring two guest speakers who discussed the dual, and sometimes interconnected, impacts of COVID-19 and the lack of diversity in the field of arbitration.
Angela Thompson and Jason Veny

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Law Arbitration Law Review (ALR) hosted its annual symposium on April 20, 2022, featuring two guest speakers who discussed the dual, and sometimes interconnected, impacts of COVID-19 and the lack of diversity in the field of arbitration.

The guest speakers were:

  • Angela Thompson, general counsel of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Prior to her time at CWA, she was an associate director in the legal department of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), where she focused on internal union governance, higher education, and private sector labor law issues. She has previously worked at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Service Employees International Union, U.S. Department of Labor, and union-side law firm Bredhoff & Kaiser; and
  • Jason Veny, partner at Murphy Anderson PLLC, where his practice is devoted to representing unions in arbitration, litigation, and contract negotiation, and in matters before the NLRB. Prior to joining Murphy Anderson, he served as in-house counsel at the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). He currently serves as the Vice Chair on the Labor and Employment Law Section Webinar Committee at the American Bar Association (ABA), is an active member of the Union Lawyers Alliance (ULA), and a former ABA Labor and Employment Law Section Fellow.

Thompson and Veny’s discussion included the negative impacts of forced arbitration in employment disputes, especially for women and people of color; how the “technology gap” and the rise of virtual arbitration hearings could disadvantage clients from lower socioeconomic levels; the need to diversify the pool of arbitration professionals and provide more opportunities for underrepresented lawyers to enter the field; and strategies to address all of these challenges.

“The Arbitration Law Review was honored to host Angela Thompson and Jason Veny to discuss the increasingly relevant topics of inequality in access to remote arbitration services and the negative impacts of mandatory and confidential arbitration for employees,” said Tim Mangan, a third-year law student at Penn State Law and ALR's editor-in-chief. “The speakers' presentations and the intelligent questions from the attendees led to a fascinating discussion on important inequality issues in arbitration.”

The Penn State Law Arbitration Law Review is a student-edited publication that covers domestic U.S. developments in arbitration and periodically addresses transborder developments. The journal publishes scholarly articles delivered at its annual symposium, student pieces on recent case law and legislative enactments, and book reviews.

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