Oct 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Law firm rescinds job offers for students part of pro-Palestinian letter

An entrance gate on Harvard Yard is seen at the Harvard University campus in June in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

The prominent law firm Davis Polk is rescinding job offers for three law students at Harvard and Columbia over their potential connection to controversial pro-Palestinian letters criticizing Israel.

The big picture: The decision reflects the mounting professional reverberations for students who have expressed support for Palestinians following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

  • A Columbia Law School spokesperson confirmed to Axios that two students had offers rescinded from Davis Polk and that the revocations are under reconsideration.
  • Davis Polk did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment Wednesday.
  • A spokesperson for Harvard Law School declined Axios' request for comment.

Details: Davis Polk managing partner Neil Barr wrote in an internal email, which was shared publicly on LinkedIn, that the statements were "contrary to our firm's values."

  • "We thus concluded that rescinding these offers was appropriate in upholding our responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive work environment for all Davis Polk employees."
  • Barr said the firm remains "in dialogue with two of these students to ensure that any further color being offered to us by these students is considered," per the email.
  • NBC News confirmed the email was authentic with a firm representative. The New York Times also confirmed that the firm rescinded the three offers but was reconsidering for two of the students.

Two of the students had reportedly "fought their dismissals and said that they did not authorize the letters, which did not have any individual signatories," per the Times.

Of note: Another law firm, Winston & Strawn, had revoked the job offer of a New York University law student just last week, per Bloomberg.

  • The law student had reportedly written that "Israel bears full responsibility" in regard to Hamas' attack on Israel, via an online publication for a student bar association.

Zoom out: A truck circled Harvard's campus last week, displaying the names and faces of students allegedly affiliated with the groups who had signed a letter supporting Palestinians.

  • And multiple CEOs, led by Harvard alumnus and billionaire Bill Ackman, had urged the university to release the names of the people in the student organizations who signed the letter.

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