Corporate legal offices are celebrating a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that grants companies broad authority to settle disputes through arbitration, rather than costly class-action lawsuits.

The court's decision last month on AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion will have far-reaching implications not only for consumer class-action cases, but potentially for employment and shareholder securities class actions as well. “The decision was a big win for the business community in what may prove to be one of the most important class-action cases in a very long time,” says Vanderbilt University law Professor Brian Fitzpatrick.

The decision also means that the roughly 20 states must ...