How will Gibson Dunn respond? Where will this boycott end? What happened to the 2011 John Barrowman cutout? We demand answers.
A group of US law students has called on students and junior lawyers to boycott Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for "shielding corporate polluters".
In a scathing letter published online, Law Students for Climate Accountability (LSCA) accused Gibson Dunn of advancing "the interests of corporations that cause immense harm to the climate and frontline communities, particularly Indigenous communities."
LSCA accused Gibson Dunn of having a significant environmental impact and "incursion on sacred Sioux land", in its work on the Dakota Access pipeline.
The student group also slammed Gibson Dunn for what it called "scorched-earth tactics". The students claimed the US firm "aggressively litigated to ensure that Chevron evades liability for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste". It alleged that the Oil Major's actions "did irreversible environmental damage and caused widespread cancer and birth defects among Indigenous and campesino communities in Ecuador."
LSCA has encouraged students and junior lawyers to sign the online letter and pledge to boycott Gibson Dunn by refusing "to contribute to a firm that is doing so much to exacerbate a climate crisis that threatens every one of us with an unlivable future".
The student group also sent a public letter to Gibson Dunn in April this year, which was signed by 87 law student groups, calling on the firm to "commit to an ethical standard for its fossil fuel work." LSCA said they were "yet to receive a response."
A Climate Change Scorecard has been created by the student group, providing a "scale of top law firms' role in the climate crisis." The group said it analyses litigation, transactional and lobbying work by firms. In the 2020 report Gibson Dunn was joined by 25 other firms in the poorest, rating "F", category.
It remains to be seen where the boycotting will end - if students turn their backs on every firm which works for clients with ethical shortcomings, it is possible they will be left with very few options.
Gibson Dunn did not respond to a request for comment.
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