October 22, 2015

Dear Mr. Edelman,

According to a student group at Harvard Law School, Milbank LLP provided “generous support” for an October 20, 2015 event, “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack.” The event was hosted by HLS Justice for Palestine and featured speakers from two groups, Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

As part of our ongoing research and in advance of a report we are preparing on this event, we ask the following questions:

  1. Can you confirm that Milbank LLP initially sponsored this event? Which attorney and department in the firm were responsible for the sponsorship?
  2. If so, what was the amount of the sponsorship?
  3. Did the funds go to HLS Justice for Palestine, Palestine Legal, and/or CCR? What additional persons or entities received funding under this sponsorship?
  4. What is the nature of the relationship between Milbank LLP and these three organizations?  Has Milbank LLP sponsored other events involving these groups? Does Milbank provide legal assistance to these organizations?

Please provide a response by October 26, 2015, 5pm Eastern Time.


Yona Schiffmiller
Research Department, NGO Monitor

October 22, 2015

Dear Mr. Schiffmiller:

Thank you for your email.  Mr. Edelman has asked that I respond to you on his behalf.

In 2012, Milbank agreed to establish the Milbank Tweed Student Conference Fund to broadly support the activities of student-run organizations and journals at Harvard Law School.

The Office of the Dean of Students at Harvard Law School administers the Fund through an application process open to all student organizations and journals, and the Dean of Harvard Law School and the Dean of Students have sole discretion to determine how to allocate monies from the Fund.

Milbank does not have any input whatsoever into the selection of student organizations or journals to receive grants from the Fund.

For the current school year, Milbank understands that Harvard has awarded grants from the Fund to more than three dozen student organizations.

Although Milbank is pleased to support many student-run organizations and journals at Harvard Law School, the awarding of grants from the Fund by Harvard does not mean that Milbank endorses the viewpoints expressed by any particular organization or journal.

As it relates to the event entitled “The Palestinian Exception to Free Speech,” the sponsoring student organization, without consulting Milbank, included a reference on the group’s Facebook page that created a false impression that Milbank endorsed the views expressed by group.  At the request of Harvard Law School, the sponsoring student organization has removed that statement from its website.

Sincerely, Tom Arena