Another Law Firm Rescinds Job Offers Over Israel Letters

Davis Polk slams law students whose groups signed statements condemning Israel
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2023 1:53 PM CDT
Another Law Firm Rescinds Job Offers Over Israel Letters
Stock photo of the Harvard campus.   (Getty Images/jorgeantonio)

An elite law firm has withdrawn job offers to three law students from Harvard and Columbia, saying those students were part of groups that signed public statements regarding the Israel-Hamas war. "These statements are simply contrary to our firm's values," so "rescinding these offers was appropriate in upholding our responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive work environment," reads an internal email from Neil Barr, chair and managing partner of Davis Polk, per NBC News. "The student leaders responsible for signing on to these statements are no longer welcome in our firm."

NBC notes that the students haven't been named, and that it's not clear what statements were involved, but Reuters reports the statements pointed the finger at Israel and supported Palestine. Per the New York Times, two of the students held leadership roles with Columbia groups that signed this letter. The third, meanwhile, was tied to Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups, whose letter blamed the "Israeli regime" for the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel that left more than 1,400 dead (the Gaza Strip's casualty count since Israel started responding to the attack: more than 3,000, as of Wednesday).

On Tuesday, Davis Polk said it was mulling whether to re-offer jobs to two of the students, as those students insisted they hadn't given their OK on the letters, which didn't have individual signatures. A firm spokesperson says a "large number" of other law students from the two Ivy Leagues, as well as from other schools, had reached out to the firm about their own job offers to emphasize they didn't agree with those statements or similar ones from groups they belonged to, per the Times. The paper notes that the "potential reversal highlights the complexities—for both employers and employees—of navigating what has quickly become one of the most emotionally divisive issues in recent decades."

story continues below

Company CEOs, other business leaders, and Wall Street investors, among others, have been pushing back at statements in support of Palestine, noting that those who'd signed them should be IDed, and that they wouldn't personally hire them. Davis Polk's move comes just days after Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn took back a job offer it had made to the president of New York University's Student Bar Association after she wrote in an SBA newsletter that "Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life." (She has since responded to her rescinded employment offer.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.