The second installment of the blockbuster New York Times series on forced arbitration is here. The headline is "In Arbitration, a 'Privatization of the Justice System.'" Whereas the first installment was focused on the macro effects — how the Supreme Court's rulings have resulted in a massive suppression of claims by consumers and employees — this second installment focuses on the micro effects: What actually happens to people whose cases are among the few to make it to arbitration? Told through compelling personal stories, this reporting does as good a job as any journalism thus far in revealing the unfairness of forced arbitration. (The Alliance for Justice film Lost in the Fine print also deserves to be mentioned here, because it's unlikely that the Times series would have happened had it not been for the film and because the film too does an excellent job of making this seemingly technical legal issue come alive.)
Yesterday, I said that I hoped that the prominence of this series would have an impact on our collective consciousness on this issue. It appears to have already made a dent. At a Halloween party last night, I was surprised by how many non-lawyers mentioned that they had read the story and were shocked by it. I live in Washington, DC, though, and many of my friends are journalists and people interested in policy; so perhaps that shouldn't be too surprising. Even more remarkable is this fact: Arbitration was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday. Who would ever have predicted that? It's a promising start.