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Foley & Lardner Rescinds Job Offer Amidst Controversial Comments on Israel-Hamas Conflict
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Foley & Lardner, a Milwaukee-founded law firm, recently retracted an employment offer extended to Jinan Chehade, a 2023 Georgetown Law School graduate. This decision came just before Chehade’s anticipated October start date, with the firm citing “public statements that were inconsistent with our core values” as the primary reason. While the firm did not specify the exact nature of Chehade’s comments, an earlier version of their statement mentioned that she made public statements “condoning the horrendous attacks by Hamas.”

Legal Action and Discrimination Claims

In response to the rescinded offer, Chehade filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on November 13. Her lawyer, Rima Kapitan, alleges illegal retaliation and discrimination based on nationality and religion. Kapitan also stated that Chehade plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago, the location of her intended job at Foley. The EEOC charge contends that senior members of the firm subjected Chehade to an interrogation regarding her social media posts, leading to the withdrawal of the employment offer.

Allegations and Counterarguments

According to Kapitan, Foley interpreted Chehade’s social media posts as supporting violence, although she claimed her advocacy focused on freedom for Palestinians. Kapitan argued that other attorneys at Foley supported Israel without facing similar consequences for their political beliefs.


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In an interview with Democracy Now, Chehade accused Foley of framing her Palestine advocacy as “supporting terrorism.” She also claimed to be singled out as “one of the only visibly Arab Muslim women associates in the law firm nationwide.” Chehade asserted in her EEOC charge that her social media posts aimed to provide context to the conflict, emphasizing the need to consider 75 years of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

Industry-wide Implications

Chehade’s case is not an isolated incident in the legal industry. Similar controversies have arisen at other law firms, such as Winston & Strawn, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Sidley Austin. The Israel-Palestine conflict has become a contentious issue, sparking debates about free speech, firings over controversial comments, and the broader question of where the line should be drawn.

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Larger Discourse and Reactions

Law schools and law firms are grappling with balancing free speech rights with the potential impact on workplace dynamics. Some law firm leaders recently sent a letter urging law school deans to address instances of antisemitism on college campuses. However, this initiative faced criticism from a coalition of Muslim-American lawyer groups, accusing the firms of providing “one-sided support for Israel” and contributing to a less inclusive and more hostile workplace.

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The Foley & Lardner case involving Jinan Chehade underscores the complexities surrounding free speech, discrimination, and workplace dynamics as law firms navigate the delicate balance between employees’ personal beliefs and the firm’s core values. As this debate continues, it raises crucial questions about the limits of free speech within the legal profession and how different viewpoints on sensitive geopolitical issues are handled in the workplace.

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