Harvard Law students won't work for firm over Exxon ties

  • A law firm that represents an American multinational oil and gas corporation is facing backlash by Harvard law students
  • Protestors led a demonstration outside the reception with the hashtag “#DropExxon," insisting that they will not work for the firm until it does so.

Students at Harvard Law School held a protest against a campus recruitment effort by law firm Paul, Weiss who recently won a complete defense verdict on behalf of oil giant ExxonMobil.

Students aimed to send a message to the law firm that they would not work for the organization until it cuts ties with Exxon, due to climate concerns. The demonstration was live-streamed via Facebook on EcoWatch, an environmental watchdog news site.

“If these students truly believe that fossil fuels are ‘evil’ they can make themselves aware of all the ways in which they use fossil fuels and cease those activities or try to do them using the wildly inferior alternatives to fossil fuels."   


[VIDEO: Harvard Law School students shutting down recruitment reception for Paul Weiss]

Protesters held a sign with the hashtag “#DropExxon." 

"We told them that we will not work for them if they're working for ExxonMobil," one protester says in the video. 

“We have just a few years left to address the climate crisis. That means stopping corporate polluters from continuing to block climate action and evading accountability for their malfeasance,” said student Aaron Regunberg during the demonstration. “And what is the most critical tool these corporations use to get away with climate murder? It’s this right here.” 

[RELATED: VIDEO: Harvard vs. Yale game DELAYED after climate protesters storm field]

“These Harvard protestors want to enjoy all the incredible benefits of low-cost reliable energy from fossil fuels and also enjoy the phony status that comes from condemning fossil fuels,” Alex Epstein, founder and president of the Center for Industrial Progress told Campus Reform

“If these students truly believe that fossil fuels are ‘evil’ they can make themselves aware of all the ways in which they use fossil fuels and cease those activities or try to do them using the wildly inferior alternatives to fossil fuels. Instead, they are calling for measures that will make energy more expensive for billions of people who are not nearly as fortunate as they are. They are also supporting complete travesties of justice that deny free speech rights to companies like ExxonMobil whose product we ask for and willingly buy.”

Harvard students have also led a #NoTechforICE campaign against tech company Palantir, actively denying support for the software company and its recruiting efforts on campus due to its ties to immigration law enforcement.

[RELATED: Students at Harvard, Berkeley, etc.: We won't work for Palantir over ICE contracts]

“The fact that they are opposing Paul, Weiss is a complete travesty of justice that any first-year law student should recognize as unconstitutional and unamerican,” Epstein said. “These students are the enormous beneficiaries of Exxon Mobil and of all other fossil fuel companies because they willingly use their product. More importantly, they are the beneficiaries of all the free time we have to gain knowledge that’s only possible because of oil- and fossil fuel-powered agriculture where we can get machines to do the work for us instead of doing manual labor. The whole university system is completely dependent upon low-cost reliable energy.”

Harvard students recently drafted a plan for climate divestment, but the university has not complied.

However, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow shared his support for action against the “stark reality of climate change.”

“We may differ on means. But I believe we seek the same ends — a decarbonized future in which life on Earth can flourish for ages to come,” Bacow said. “Reaching that goal means recognizing climate change as a defining challenge of our time. I hope we can all find common cause in the wider search for innovative, collaborative, effective solutions. We owe the future nothing less.

Campus Reform reached out to Harvard Law for comment but did not receive comment in time for publication.

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Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin
Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin | California Senior Campus Correspondent

Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin is a California Senior Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. She is a senior at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studies Business Economics, Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Business Communication.

20 Articles by Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin