On Wednesday evening, greater than 100 first-year Harvard regulation college students gathered at a restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a reception hosted by the company regulation agency Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The opulent affair, replete with lobsters for snacking, an ice sculpture, and an open bar, was considered one of many common capabilities held by elite regulation companies to attract elite aspiring attorneys into the fold. However about 30 college students put their job prospects in danger once they interrupted the occasion with an indication.
As Paul, Weiss lawyer and associate Kannon Shanmugam acquired as much as ship a speech, a small group of scholars unfurled a banner that learn #DropExxon and minimize him off with a protest music. “Which facet are you on?” they sang. “Does it weigh on you in any respect?”
The lyrics alluded to Paul, Weiss’ protection of ExxonMobil in a number of ongoing lawsuits over the oil large’s function in local weather change. The agency not too long ago efficiently defended Exxon in a case introduced by the state of New York over the accusation that it misled traders concerning the prices of local weather change to its enterprise. Now, it’s defending the corporate once more in an analogous lawsuit in Massachusetts, simply miles from the Harvard campus.
After the music, a refrain of scholars joined lead organizer Aaron Regunberg in a name and response speech, asserting that they refuse to work for a agency that helps company polluters block local weather motion. So long as Paul, Weiss labored for Exxon, they wouldn’t work for Paul, Weiss.
“What’s the most crucial instrument these companies use to get away with local weather homicide? It’s this proper right here,” they chanted. “Exxon knew about local weather change 35 years in the past, but continued to wreck the planet and fund local weather denial that led us to this disaster. That’s what this agency is enabling, and the ways they’re utilizing are excessive and unethical.”
Regunberg instructed Grist that it’s extremely uncommon to see this type of confrontation within the authorized career, and that most of the college students who participated had by no means been concerned in a direct motion earlier than. “For the longest time, this is a matter that hasn’t even been questioned,” he stated. “We’ve proven that our technology of aspiring attorneys understands that enterprise as typical is a recipe for an unlivable future.”
Local weather activism within the Ivy League is heating up. A parallel motion of scholars demanding that their colleges divest from fossil gasoline firms made nationwide information in November when a whole lot of protestors stormed the sphere on the annual Harvard-Yale soccer area.
The regulation faculty organizers plan to proceed their marketing campaign to get Paul, Weiss to drop Exxon and hope to unfold the motion to different regulation colleges. College students from Boston College and Yale College regulation colleges have already expressed help. Regunberg stated one other objective is to begin a dialog with Harvard about the best way its tradition, curriculum, scholar debt creation, and profession service programming create a pipeline to company regulation companies. Many college students who come into the college hoping to pursue public curiosity regulation find yourself in company curiosity regulation, he stated. “That’s a systemic drawback, and a profound issue within the creation of a authorized system that in so some ways shields the rich and highly effective on the expense of all of us — or, within the case of ExxonMobil, on the expense of human civilization as we all know it.”
Harvard Legislation Faculty and Paul, Weiss had not responded to requests for remark on the time of publication.
This story was initially revealed by Grist with the headline Exxon’s regulation agency tried to recruit Harvard college students. As an alternative, they protested. on Jan 16, 2020.