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Enforceability of a Mandatory Arbitration Clause

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2015 | Partnerships, Uncategorized

A Case Study: Gibbs v. Holland & Knight LLP

In our previous blog series on business divorce, we looked at arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that business owners can utilize.  In that series, we focused primarily on the benefits of arbitration, but oftentimes, there are situations where one party refuses to submit to arbitration and parties have to resort to litigation just to determine whether an arbitration clause in an agreement is enforceable.  In Gibbs v. Holland & Knight LLP,[1] a recent New York case, the court addressed whether an arbitration clause in a partnership agreement between a major law firm and a disgruntled partner was enforceable when the partner did not actually sign the agreement.  You may be wondering how one can be bound by something that he or she did not sign, but as it turned out, that is in fact what happened in that case.  Well, sort of.


We will discuss the details in our next post.


This posting is intended to be a planning tool to familiarize readers with some of the high-level issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your transaction planners including attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances.  This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.


Steps have been taken to verify the contents of this article prior to publication.  However, readers should not, and may not, rely on this article.  Please consult with counsel to verify all contents and do not rely solely on this article in planning your legal transactions.


About the Author

So-Eun Lee – So-Eun Lee is an associate attorney in the New York office of The R. Shawn McBride Law Office, P.L.L.C.  She concentrates her practice on business law.  So-Eun can be contacted at: (347) 921-0173 or [email protected].  Her profile is available on

Shawn McBride – R. Shawn McBride is the Managing Member of The R. Shawn McBride Law Office, P.L.L.C. which helps clients in legal issues related to starting companies, joint ventures, raising capital from and negotiating with investors and outside General Counsel functions. Shawn can be contacted at: 407-517-0064; [email protected], or

[1] See generally Gibbs v. Holland & Knight, LLP, 2015 N.Y. Slip. Op. 30705(U) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Apr. 28, 2015).