US law firms issue warning on anti-Semitism

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By Rhys Duncan on


Many of the 41 offer training contracts in London

Over 40 of America’s largest law firms have directed a letter to the country’s top law schools, addressing recent anti-Semitic activity on university campuses.

The firms — who between them offer substantial numbers of training contracts in the UK — begin the letter by stating how, “everyone at our law firms is entitled to be treated with respect and be free of any conduct that targets their identity and is offensive, hostile, intimidating or inconsistent with their personal dignity and rights.”

“We have been alarmed”, they continue, “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. Such anti-Semitic activities would not be tolerated at any of our firms.”

The letter goes on to note the importance of a “free exchange of ideas, even on emotionally charged issues, in a manner that affirms the value we all hold dear and rejects unreservedly that which is antithetical to those values.” In achieving this, “it is imperative”, the firms say, that universities provide students “with the tools and guidance” required.

Speaking directly about the prospects of future graduates, the letter continues:

“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.”

The letter concludes by noting how the elite firms “trust [the Deans] will take the same unequivocal stance against such activities as we do”, and that they “look forward to a respectful dialogue with [the Deans] to understand how [they] are addressing with urgency this serious situation at [their] law schools.”

The number of signatories has risen since the letter was made public, and now includes the following 41 firms:

Akin Gump
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Cleary Gottlieb
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Davis Polk
Debevoise & Plimpton
Dechert LLP
Dentons US LLP
DLA Piper LLP (US)
Fried Frank
Gibson Dunn
Goodwin Procter LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Kirkland & Ellis
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Latham & Watkins
Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Mayer Brown LLP
McDermott Will & Emery
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockiu
O’Melveny & Mvers
Paul Hastings
Paul Weiss
Proskauer Rose
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan UK LLP
Ropes & Gray
Schulte Roth + Zabel
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Sidley Austin
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Skadden & Flom
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wachtell Lipton Rosen and Katz
Weil Gotshal & Manges
White & Case LLP
Willkie Farr & Gallagher


Concerned Jewish ally

Good on these firms. No workplace should have employees who espouse such vile opinions.

Jewish ally 2

Good on them! Hopefully the UK firms can offer some similar support to the Jewish community.


And let’s hope that support extends beyond the Jewish community and to anyone impacted by this horrendous war or anyone receiving abuse, hate, or discrimination because of their beliefs.

Future lawyer

It is highly commendable that law firms are finally speaking up on this topic, given the sharp rise in hate crimes committed against Jewish and Muslim people across the world as a result of what is happening in Israel/Palestine.

However, I just wonder how exactly ‘calling for the elimination of Israel’ will be defined. Politicians such as Suella Braverman seem to believe that simply arguing for Palestinian liberation against oppression (in chants like ‘from the river to the sea…’) necessarily implies an antisemitic belief that Israel should be eliminated as a state. But this deliberately ignores how the chant represents a call for liberation against Palestinian’s lack of right of return, the apartheid restrictions on Palestinian lives in the West Bank, and the atrocities of Gaza, and at no point mentions the abolition of Israel. It is a black and white reduction of the conflict that defines any criticism of Israel as antisemitic. I wonder, will there be law firms that embrace Suella Braverman’s definition of antisemitism, or the definitions of Republican politicians in the USA?

Peaceful resolution of this conflict will not be found in antisemitism, but neither will it be found in the suppression of criticism of Israel’s human rights violations. I fear that this open letter, while highly noble in intentions, could be exploited by some individuals in firms as a means of silencing criticism.

Based and truthpilled

From the river to the sea is a genocidal chant that calls for the extermination of Israel. It is simply impossible for there to be a land from the river to the sea without the annihilation of Israel. Stop simping for anti-semites.


Exactly- it’s like Final Solution. The words shorn of all context are innocuous, but with context you’re talking about erasing a country where over half the world’s Jews now live, and it’s pretty obvious (especially based on the events of last month) what would happen to them were that to occur.

Let's all be guided...

I think this comment nails it. The letter is good to stand firmly against both anti-semitism and islamophobia, although very concerningly I’ve also seen people referring to the calls for a ceasefire and calls to the end of civilian Palestinian deaths (which is easily above the 10,000 mark now) as anti-semitism. Criticism of the Israeli government (particularly their conduct during war) doesn’t equate to anti-semitism, just like criticism of Suella Braverman wouldn’t make one anti-British. People must be able to hold governments to account irrespective of whether a state is jewish, muslim, christian etc., otherwise a state becomes unimpeachable. The UN, Human Rights Watch, B’tselem, Amnesty International and several other organisations have all previously condemned Israel’s apartheid regime. That as a matter of fact isn’t anti-semitic, neither does it negate the tragic loss of Jewish life on October 7.

I know that one of the firms on that list cancelled its London office’s Black History Month event the day before (as a veto from the U.S. offices) as one of the external speakers posted a tweet on Twitter criticising the Israeli government’s disproportionate use of violence against Palestinian civilians, even though said speaker had clearly also tweeted condemning H*mas and mourning the loss of Jewish life. But no, she was cancelled for daring to show empathy towards the plight of the Palestinians.

We must not construe sympathy and mourning of Palestinian deaths and their general living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza as anti-semitism. It’s reductive and blind to the fact that the vast majority of the public (both in the UK and US) want an end to the violence on both sides and are pro-ceasefire.

Jewish Associate

Good on them, I’m sick and tired of the ‘Free Palestine’ lot justifying their anti-Semitic behaviour

Yellow Corn

It’s a pity more UK firms don’t follow suit. Surely the SRA will have something to say about this?

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