Art Law Society Paints a Vivid Picture for Practice

Jennifer Newman, 1L

Contributor

During their first semester of law school, the last thing most 1Ls would ever think of, amidst the anxiety of the Socratic method and the hours of nightly reading, would be to start a school club. But that is exactly what Irina Tarsis and Ilona Logvinova sought to create upon entering law school: the Art Law Society.

When asked about the goals of the Art Law Society, Tarsis explained, “We want to build a community of people interested or involved in art law and other related IP areas (cultural property, restitution, performing arts, immigration, and museum). We hope to create opportunities for Cardozo alums in the field of art law and students to mingle.” That community is already beginning to take shape. The student body interest has been overwhelming, with around 30 people showing up for events and 70 people on the roster.

At the end of February, the Art Law Society had its first panel event, Careers in Art Law. Panelists included Rebecca Murray, Counsel for the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Richard Altman, an attorney in private practice; Daniel Schnapp, a Cardozo alumnus and associate at Fox Rothschild LLP; Lucille Roussin, Adjunct Professor at Cardozo who is also in private practice; and Benjamin Brandow, attorney at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and the director of MediateArt.

The various panelists discussed art law in general as well as how they shaped their careers in the industry. “We heard ‘war stories,’ bloopers, and interesting anecdotes from their day-to-day on the job, and we were also privy to their more abstract observations to the field as a whole, and their bits of advice for [aspiring art lawyers],” said Logvinova. “We were incredibly happy with the turnout.”

Arvand Khosravi, a 2L who is interested in pursuing art law after graduation, said he learned a lot from the panelists about the realities of practicing in this field. “They all had one thing in common to say: that art law involves a lot of contract law, employment law, insurance law, etc. and may not be as glamorous as some people think.”

One of the club’s first events, co-sponsored by the Cardozo Dispute Resolution Society, was a brown bag lunch with Lucille Roussin to mark the 10th anniversary of the Washington Conference on Nazi-Confiscated Art Assets.

In addition to being a Cardozo alumna, Roussin is a professor at Cardozo who teaches a seminar on Remedies for War Time Confiscation and founded the Holocaust Restitution Claims Practicum. The lunch explored an overview of the principles and reflected upon the effectiveness of international cooperation between governments, museums, and other organizations involved in the restitution.

In looking to the future, Logvinova recognizes the inherent diversity in this area of law. “Our goal as the Art Law Society is to try to bring together the intriguing and versatile backgrounds, interests, and provoking ideas of Cardozo’s student body, and to try to learn about the field all together, through the unique alleyways and highlights that the field has to offer. Art Law is a very versatile field that [relates] to many other areas of the law, and we hope that we’ll develop new directions as more and more students continue to voice and articulate their particular interests.”

While no dates for future gatherings are set at the moment, many different events are in the works. Despite a small budget (like many Cardozo clubs face this year, given recent economic hardships), the club plans to present another brown bag lunch in early April, as well as an invitation to Patricia Kennedy Grimsted of Harvard University to discuss her recently published book Returned from Russia, which explores Russia’s unwillingness to return the World War II trophy collections.

Given the co-founders’ motivation and the increasing interest of the student body, we can expect many more successful events from this club in the future!