A pro-Palsetine protest at UCLA.

60 leading U.S. lawyers and firms call on law schools to condemn antisemitism

In a letter circulated by some of the top U.S. law firms to law schools, they write that they are “alarmed at reports of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and assaults on college campuses,” and indicate that such sentiments will not be accepted by future employers.

About 60 of the top U.S. law firms and lawyers have written a letter to the deans of the top-ranked American law schools raising the alarm over increasing antisemitism and harassment of Jewish students on university campuses since Hamas’ October 7 attack and Israel’s retaliatory war.
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הפגנה פרו פלסטינית ב אוניברסיטת UCLA
הפגנה פרו פלסטינית ב אוניברסיטת UCLA
A pro-Palsetine protest at UCLA.
(Credit: Frederic J. Brown/ AFP)
The letter was sent to 14 of the top-ranked law schools in the U.S. The signatories write that they are “alarmed at reports of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and assaults on college campuses, including rallies calling for the death of Jews and the elimination of the State of Israel.” They assert that “such 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.”
“As educators at institutions of higher learning, it is imperative that you provide your students with the tools and guidance to engage in the free exchange of ideas, even on emotionally charged issues, in a manner that affirms the values we all hold dear and rejects unreservedly that which is antithetical to those values. There is no room for anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism or any other form of violence, hatred or bigotry on your campuses, in our workplaces or our communities.”
“As employers who recruit from each of your law schools, we look to you to ensure your students who hope to join our firms after graduation are prepared to be an active part of workplace communities that have zero tolerance policies for any form of discrimination or harassment, much less the kind that has been taking place on some law school campuses. We trust you will take the same unequivocal stance against such activities as we do, and we look forward to a respectful dialogue with you to understand how you are addressing with urgency this serious situation at your law schools.”
A spokesperson for leading law firm Sullivan & Cromwell said on Thursday that senior chair Joseph Shenker spearheaded the letter to the law schools known in the legal industry as the "T-14," as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Other signatories include some of the biggest and most profitable law firms in the U.S., including Dechert LLP; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Latham & Watkins; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
University of California, Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky said on Thursday that he welcomes the firms’ statement condemning antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism but was unclear on next steps.
The law firms’ letter comes after at least two big firms, Winston & Strawn and Davis Polk & Wardwell, rescinded offers to incoming associates who had made or signed on to public statements supporting Palestine in the wake of Hamas’ deadly attacks in Israel.