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Law Firm Edelson PC to Stop Campus Recruiting From Harvard Law School Over Gay’s Congressional Testimony

Law firm Edelson PC said they would not participate in on-campus recruitment at Harvard Law School in a letter on Thursday.
Law firm Edelson PC said they would not participate in on-campus recruitment at Harvard Law School in a letter on Thursday. By Julian J. Giordano
By Adelaide E. Parker, Crimson Staff Writer

The law firm Edelson PC will no longer participate in on-campus recruiting at Harvard Law School in protest of University President Claudine Gay’s controversial congressional testimony, the firm’s CEO Jay Edelson announced Thursday.

Edelson PC — a top plaintiff law firm that primarily recruits employees and summer associates from Harvard, Stanford, and Yale law schools — has withdrawn from all HLS on-campus interviews, including HLS’s 2024 Spring Interview Program.

Gay has faced a wave of backlash over her remarks at a Dec. 5 congressional hearing about antisemitism on college campuses, during which she declined to unequivocally state whether calls for the genocide of Jewish people violate the University’s policies on bullying and harassment. Edelson’s letter followed similar criticisms of Gay’s testimony from politicians, alumni, and students on campus.

Gay later apologized for her remarks during the testimony in an interview with The Crimson.

Edelson told HLS his firm would stop recruiting on campus in a Dec. 14 letter to the Law School’s director of recruitment and operations, Jesse Ohrenberger.

“We, along with the rest of the nation, observed Dr. Claudine Gay’s testimony before Congress, wherein she refused to unequivocally state that advocating for genocide would breach the school’s code of conduct,” Edelson wrote. “In light of these events, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue our participation in on-campus interviews.”

This message follows another letter Edelson PC and 11 other leading plaintiff and civil rights firms sent to all U.S. law schools, where they urged the schools’ deans to protect students from antisemitism on campus and hold perpetrators of hate speech legally accountable.

Edelson said in an interview on Friday he was disappointed by Gay’s refusal to unequivocally condemn antisemetic hate speech.

“I understand the intellectual arguments that can be made about why, technically, contextualism matters,” said Edelson. “But she’s one of the leaders of this country, and she was asked something which everyone is listening to and wanted an answer on an emotional level.”

“She had a duty to respond on that same emotional level,” Edelson added.

Edelson said Gay’s statement demonstrates a disconnect between Harvard’s values and the values of his firm.

“Dr. Gay had one of the biggest megaphones in the country to talk about these issues and frankly, she blew it,” said Edelson. “She failed in a way that was really inconsistent with the understanding that we had about what Harvard’s values were over the years.”

A Harvard spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Edelson, however, said his firm’s discontent with Harvard does not extend to its students.

Though Edelson PC will no longer appear on campus or recruit at official HLS events, the firm is seeking alternative ways to recruit and hire Harvard students.

“We love our Harvard students,” said Edelson. “We’re not trying to make a statement in any way about them.”

Edelson said he hopes his firm decision not to recruit physically on HLS’s campus will allow them to find other, more comprehensive ways to engage with law students.

“It gives us an opportunity to try to be a little bit more creative and make the interview process work better for students and for firms,” said Edelson.

“We’re a non-traditional firm,” he added. “We think that on-campus interviewing is archaic.”

Still, he said Edelson PC would gladly return to campus if Gay sufficiently apologizes for her remarks in front of Congress.

“The best path forward is not by just canceling Dr. Gay and saying, ‘Oh, she needs to be replaced.’” said Edelson. “I actually think that the best way forward for Harvard and for the country is for there to be more discussion from Dr. Gay.”

Edelson said he hopes his firm’s actions will push Harvard to take a harsher stance against antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.

“We’re not coming at this from a conservative point of view,” he said. “This is talking to a friend, and we think that’s what’s really important.”

“If she were able to address this stuff head on, we'd be excited to come back on campus,” Edelson added.

—Staff writer Adelaide E. Parker can be reached at adelaide.parker@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @adelaide_prkr.

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