Law Firms Issue Warning On Antisemitism At College

A group of leading U.S. law firms cautioned elite law schools to handle an increase in antisemitic harassment following Hamas’ terrorist Oct. 7 assault in Israel.

Reports show Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Cravath, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Debevoise & Plimpton, and Kirkland & Ellis all signed a letter expressing their views. Over a dozen other legal firms also signed the letter.

The letter stated that they are appalled by the stories of anti-Semitic harassment, attacks, and vandalism on college campuses, and they want to make it clear that no such behavior will be permitted at any of our companies. The letter also cautioned academic deans that discussions of the subject on campus might impact students’ chances of being hired.

The companies stated they recruited from each law school and expected the schools to help educate graduates to be contributing members of their companies’ communities upon joining. These communities have no tolerance for any type of harassment or bias, much less the sort that has been taking place on certain law school campuses, they noted.

The threats made against school deans are not empty.

One of the businesses that signed the letter, Davis Polk & Wardwell, revoked employment offers to three law students last month because they portrayed Israel as responsible for the terrorist assault on them on October 7.

Davis Polk informed a media outlet that it had rescinded employment offers to three recent graduates of Columbia and Harvard Law Schools because of their involvement in pro-Palestinian sentiments that ran counter to the firm’s core beliefs. The student leaders who signed these declarations were told they were not welcome.

The company informed media outlets that the values represented in some of the declarations published by law student groups in recent weeks directly contradict those of the firm.
The letter follows antisemitic outbursts that have resulted from university rallies against Israel by students and teachers.

According to reports, some donors have started withholding millions of dollars in funding from the universities as a response to what they see as inadequate condemnations by deans.