On Wednesday night, more than 100 first-year Harvard law trainees collected at a dining establishment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a reception hosted by the business law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The extravagant affair, loaded with lobsters for snacking, an ice sculpture, and an open bar, was among numerous routine functions held by elite law companies to draw elite striving lawyers into the fold. However about 30 trainees put their task potential customers at threat when they disrupted the occasion with a presentation.

As Paul, Weiss lawyer and partner Kannon Shanmugam got up to talk, a little group of trainees unfurled a banner that checked out #DropExxon and cut him off with a demonstration tune. “Which side are you on?” they sang. “Does it weigh on you at all?”

The lyrics pointed to Paul, Weiss’ defense of ExxonMobil in a number of continuous claims over the oil giant’s function in environment modification. The firm just recently effectively safeguarded Exxon in a case brought by the state of New York over the allegation that it misguided financiers about the expenses of environment modification to its organisation. Now, it’s safeguarding the business once again in a comparable claim in Massachusetts, simply miles from the Harvard school.

After the tune, a chorus of trainees signed up with lead organizer Aaron Regunberg in a call and reaction speech, revealing that they refuse to work for a firm that assists business polluters obstruct environment action. As long as Paul, Weiss worked for Exxon, they wouldn’t work for Paul, Weiss.

“What is the most critical tool these corporations use to get away with climate murder? It’s this right here,” they shouted. “Exxon knew about climate change 35 years ago, yet continued to wreck the planet and fund climate denial that led us to this crisis. That’s what this firm is enabling, and the tactics they are using are extreme and unethical.”

Regunberg informed Livescience.Tech that it’s extremely uncommon to see this sort of fight in the legal occupation, which a number of the trainees who took part had actually never ever been associated with a direct action prior to. “For the longest time, this is an issue that hasn’t even been questioned,” he stated. “We’ve shown that our generation of aspiring lawyers understands that business as usual is a recipe for an unlivable future.”

Climate advocacy in the Ivy League is warming up. A parallel motion of trainees requiring that their schools divest from nonrenewable fuel source business made nationwide news in November when numerous protestors stormed the field at the yearly Harvard-Yale football field.

The law school organizers strategy to continue their project to get Paul, Weiss to drop Exxon and hope to spread out the motion to other law schools. Trainees from Boston University and Yale University law schools have actually currently revealed assistance. Regunberg stated another objective is to begin a discussion with Harvard about the method its culture, curriculum, trainee financial obligation development, and profession service programs develop a pipeline to business law companies. Numerous trainees who enter the school hoping to pursue public interest law wind up in business interest law, he stated. “That’s a systemic problem, and a profound factor in the creation of a legal system that in so many ways shields the wealthy and powerful at the expense of all of us — or, in the case of ExxonMobil, at the expense of human civilization as we know it.”

Harvard Law School and Paul, Weiss had actually not reacted to ask for remark at the time of publication.