NYU Law students join #DropExxon campaign against law firm
- Law students at NYU Law School have joined a growing protest against law firm Paul, Weiss’s defense of oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil.
- Protesters are refusing to work for the law firm until they drop ExxonMobil as a client.
Thirty law students from New York University School of Law attended a recruitment event for international law firm Paul, Weiss earlier in February to protest the firm’s defense of ExxonMobil in a recent climate change lawsuit.
Holding a “#DropExxon” sign, these students join the tide of protest occurring on elite law school campuses. After a protest on January 15 at Harvard Law School to and one on February 6 at Yale Law School, students at NYU Law are following suit.
These law students state their purpose in their national pledge: “we won't work for you [Paul, Weiss] while you work for ExxonMobil.”
Specifically, they won’t do interviews for summer associate positions and won’t do any work for Paul, Weiss until Exxon is removed from its list of clients.
“We’re showing that these protests against Exxon and the company’s advocates aren’t just one-off events,” said Anne Tewksbury, an NYU law student who organized the Tuesday protest at the Manhattan restaurant Del Posto. “Top law students across the country are serious about holding firms that profit from climate destruction accountable for who they represent. We’re sending a clear message to Paul Weiss about our values as a generation."
According to NYU law student Emily Stewart in an interview Wednesday, “the protesters were planning to wait until a Paul, Weiss partner gave a recruitment speech to the assembled students to take action. But after waiting more than an hour without such a speech, they unfurled a #DropExxon banner and began to chant.”
“We are proud of the outstanding work we do for a wide range of commercial and pro bono clients in their most challenging and high-profile matters, including our recent defense of ExxonMobil in a securities fraud case in which the court found, after trial, that plaintiff’s claims were entirely without merit,” Paul, Weiss chairman Brad Karp in a statement on the matter. “Paul Weiss is committed to free speech and debate, just as we are committed to the principle that we represent our clients and safeguard the rule of law zealously and to the best of our abilities.”
“These NYU protestors want to enjoy all the incredible benefits of low-cost reliable energy from fossil fuels and also enjoy the status that comes from condemning fossil fuels and companies like ExxonMobil that produce them," Alex Epstein from the Center for Industrial Progress told Campus Reform.
“If these protestors 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," Epstein added.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ChrisSchlak