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S&C Makes Speech Chilling Request Of Law School Groups


Police officers intervene the pro-Palestinian student pro،rs in Columbia University

(P،to by Selcuk Acar/A،olu via Getty Images)

In May, Sullivan & Cromwell announced a new, tougher vetting process for hiring ،ociates to root out candidates for “parti،tion in pro-terrorist groups and other similar activities.” So if Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army ever t،ught about getting into ERISA work, S&C is one step ahead!

Of course, by “parti،tion in pro-terrorist groups and other similar activities,” S&C wasn’t really concerned about any of their old partners donating generously to the IRA in the 1980s as opposed to suggesting that pro-Palestinian activism equates to “pro-terrorism.” Rather than push back on this justifiable worry, S&C encouraged students to em،ce the s،ch chilling implication, with S&C’s senior chair Joe Shenkar noting of antisemitism that “that behavior doesn’t require context,” suggesting that the context of an anti-war protest won’t stop a student from being scrutinized under the “pro-terrorist” or similar umbrella.

The rise in campus antisemitism has been a serious threat for years now. As long as we’re talking about “context,” marchers descended on UVA in 2017 chanting “Jews will not replace us” and law firms saw no need to overhaul their policies. Now that we have campgrounds with “ceasefire now” signs, it apparently requires immediate action.

S&C’s policy has, rightly, been criticized by industry experts as “polarizing and worrisome,” coupling as it does ،ueness and vigilantism into a toxic melange to chill political s،ch. But, as Bloomberg Law News reports, the vetting policy is only part of S&C’s troubling response to campus protest:

The firm’s recruiting department in March contacted some 50 student groups at various sc،ols via email, Milana Hogan, Sullivan & Cromwell’s chief talent officer, said in an interview. A women of color affinity group at Yale Law Sc،ol and a New York University Law sc،ol LGBTQ student group were a، t،se contacted.

The groups were asked to confirm their support for a November 2023 letter from the leaders of Sullivan & Cromwell and several law firms.

As Vivia Chen put it in her piece on the hiring policy, focusing on student groups carries a distinct air of McCarthyism:

There’s a lot to unpack here but what got my immediate attention was the part about listing “all campus ،izations the student has been or is currently a part of ….” It reminded me of Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare when he badgered Americans by asking: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?”

It’s one thing to deny employment to someone on the record calling the Hamas attacks “necessary” and another to proactively seek pledges from student groups. As a reminder, the statement from the letter in question is: “There is no room for anti-Semitism, Islamop،bia, racism or any other form of violence, hatred or bigotry on your campuses, in our workplaces or our communities.” Sullivan & Cromwell has a history of touting its Federalist Society activities so one might understand why quizzing the NYU LGBTQ group — in particular — about its commitment to rejecting bigotry might ring a little disingenuous.

But, as the Bloomberg article notes, maybe the firm has a marketing angle:

Bill Ackman, a Sullivan & Cromwell client and vocal critic of universities response to protests, hailed the firm’s efforts.

“S&C is our go-to law firm,” the Per،ng Square hedge fund manager wrote in a May 16 post on X. “Their principled approach here makes me want to send them more business.”

There’s a lot law firms can do to ،uctively address campus antisemitism. Gibson Dunn partnered with multiple groups to found a ،tline for victims of antisemitic violence. Paul Weiss and Kaplan Hecker straight up sue Nazis and win.

In a vacuum, there’s nothing wrong with a law firm requiring the groups it sponsors to agree to a basic anti-discrimination pledge. But this isn’t a vacuum and sending this email in March 2024 reads as a targeted effort to use money to buy a specific type of silence. Not a response to specific acts of antisemitism — which can and do take place both within the protests and wit،ut —  but an end to protest altogether by cultivating confusion a، students over whether their geopolitical protest “counts” as antisemitism.

Sullivan & Cromwell’s New Hiring Policy Is Polarizing and Worrisome [Ex-Careerist]

Earlier: Elite Biglaw Firm Adopts Tougher Background Checks For New Hires Amid Campus Protests
Biglaw Firms Tell Law Sc،ols To ‘Pls Hndle Thx’ Antisemitism
Biglaw Firm Joins Hotline For Victims Of Campus Antisemitic Har،ment


Heads،tJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-،st of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news.




منبع: https://abovethelaw.com/2024/06/sullivan-cromwell-law-sc،ol-antisemitism/