March 4, 2024

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Top law firms warn colleges to take an ‘unequivocal stance’ against antisemitism and hint they won’t recruit students from those that fail to do so

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More than two dozen top US law firms sent a letter to more than 100 law school deans telling them to take an “unequivocal stance” against antisemitic harassment on their campuses.

The letter, which was signed by firms including Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Wachtell Lipton Rosen and Katz LLP, comes after some law students saw their job offers rescinded for comments made about Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,400 Israelis. Israel’s retaliatory bombing of Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, has fueled protests across the country.

Antisemitic incidents have soared since the war began, and the conflict has bitterly divided dozens of campuses, including Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. Presidents at Harvard, Penn and Columbia University have announced task forces on antisemitism. 

At Cornell University, a series of antisemitic incidents culminated in a junior engineering student being charged with making online death threats to Jewish students. A swastika was found drawn in Columbia’s International Affairs building, and videos have circulated of what appears to be Harvard students harassing a Jewish student during an anti-Israel protest.

“Anti-Semitic activities would not be tolerated at any of our firms. We also would not tolerate outside groups engaging in acts of harassment and threats of violence, as has also been occurring on many of your campuses,” the law firms’ letter said.

The letter was written this week by Joseph C. Shenker, senior chair of Sullivan & Cromwell, after he was contacted by Jewish law students from top universities. He circulated the draft to the other firms, each of which sent a copy to the law schools they work with on Wednesday night, Shenker said in an interview.

When asked if the firms would curtail recruiting from schools where they have seen concerning behavior, Shenker said, “People can draw their own conclusions. The…

Janet Lorin, Bloomberg

2023-11-02 20:30:33

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