Susman Godfrey Scores Pro Bono Win on Behalf of New York University

April 2020

Lawyers from Susman Godfrey scored a win for pro bono client, New York University (NYU), on Tuesday when a judge from the Southern District of New York granted the firm’s motion to dismiss allegations against the university by the Faculty, Alumni and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences (FASORP) of enrollment discrimination.

In 2019, FASORP brought charges against the university, accusing the school of “engaging in illegal race and sex discrimination” by reserving 12 spots out of its approximately 50-member editorial staff for selection by the publication’s diversity committee. FASORP also alleged discrimination by NYU for considering whether or not outside submissions to the journal “have been written by ‘authors from underrepresented backgrounds in the legal profession.’”

This week, the Hon. Edgardo Ramos of SDNY sided with NYU in granting the motion to dismiss, ruling that FASORP doesn’t have a claim under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it hasn’t shown any members were harmed by the journal’s diversity policies.  Associate Tamar Lusztig led the briefing of the motion to dismiss.

“This is a significant win for NYU and its Law Review. We are proud to have proven that Law Review’s policies do not hurt its members, nor are they discriminatory against any group,” said one of the lead lawyers on the case, Arun Subramanian.

Subramanian was joined in leading the case by partners Steve Susman and Jacob Buchdahl. Associates Lusztig, William O’Connell, and Jillian Hewitt also made significant contributions to the matter.

The case is Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences v. New York University Law Review et al., case number 1:18-cv-09184, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. You can read more about it in Law360’s coverage here. (subscription required).