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#DoneWithDunn: Eco-law students launch boycott of US law firm Gibson Dunn for ‘shielding corporate polluters’

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Open letter expresses concern at outfit’s ‘record of furthering climate change’

Eco-law students have launched a boycott of US law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for “shielding corporate polluters from climate accountability”.

The pledge is made by members of Law Students for Climate Accountability (LSCA), a US-based group which produces an annual scorecard ranking law firms according to the extent to which they contribute to climate change. Their 2021 scorecard found that Gibson Dunn conducted “the second most anti-climate litigation of any law firm”.

In April, the group wrote an open letter to Gibson Dunn expressing concern over the firm’s “record of furthering climate change and environmental injustice”.

The letter, signed by 87 law student groups from dozens of law schools, including Ivy League institutions Harvard, Yale and Columbia, references the firm’s work representing oil company Chevron in a dispute over claims that it was responsible for toxic contamination in Ecuador. The company denies any wrongdoing.

They suggest “there is no ethical standard guiding [Gibson Dunn’s] work, with profit consistently overriding pressing issues of justice” and call on the firm to commit to an ethical standard for its fossil fuel work.

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In a statement on their website posted yesterday, the group, using the hashtag #DoneWithDunn, say that they are yet to receive a response to their letter.

“As the newest generation to enter the legal profession, we refuse to be a part of Gibson Dunn’s work undermining access to justice, particularly for Indigenous communities,” they said. “And we refuse to contribute to a firm that is doing so much to exacerbate a climate crisis that threatens every one of us with an unliveable future.”

They pledge to boycott the firm though it’s not entirely clear how they plan to do so. Will they stop applying to the firm for training opportunities?

Gibson Dunn is by no means the only law firm to represent the interests of oil companies, but the group alleges that “more than almost any other firm, Gibson Dunn has used its skills to oppose climate action and the demands of frontline communities”.

Gibson Dunn has been approached for comment.

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