Museum Legal Department


This course provides focused instruction on the main legal and business issues facing museum professionals. In-house lawyers, museum directors, other museum and not-for-profit professionals, and external consultants participate each year and gain knowledge that will inform their decisions and strategies for years to come. The conference is often sold out, so register early to reserve your spot! The Office of the Legal Counsel of the Institute is responsible for providing legal advice to the Director of IMLS and her staff. In addition, the Office of the General Counsel is often called upon to assist Institute fellows in resolving various legal issues. In its 50th year, the conference will reflect on both how museum jurisprudence has developed and its future. Sessions include instruction on the year`s key legal issues, including: We also assist our clients in a range of transactional matters related to art, including advising and structuring agreements for the purchase and sale of artwork; site-specific artwork provisions; agreements with manufacturing artists; exhibition and loan contracts; advising institutions on the commercial exploitation of art-related intellectual property; and the structuring of agreements between museums or between museums and other organizations. In art disputes, clients turn to us for provenance advice and representation; Restitution; cultural heritage issues; copyright litigation; claims related to theft, loss and property damage to works of art; the treatment of loans of abandoned works of art to museums and other institutions; the sale of counterfeit or poorly accredited works; and regulatory investigations, including forfeiture issues. Our team of experienced art lawyers – including the former U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Special Prosecutor for the FBI`s Art Crime team – has handled some of the most significant art litigation in recent years. We feel comfortable in the art world and in the courtroom and pride ourselves on working closely with our clients on strategic decisions that take place at the intersection of these two worlds. Finally, we support our clients in the intergenerational planning of art.

Lawyers at the Wiggin Art and Museum Law Group act as trustees of estates involving large art collections; Represent artists, dealers and their heirs in estate planning matters regarding decisions related to the preservation and tax-efficient disposal of collections of modest or nine-digit values; and advising on the establishment of private foundations and museums inside and outside the United States. Every spring since 1973, OGC has sponsored a three-day course with the American Law Institute – Continuing Legal Education (ALI-CLE). The course is attended by museum administrators, administrators and lawyers. As a small but important office, the Office of the General Counsel offers articling students the opportunity to get directly involved in the wide range of legal and policy issues that come into the firm. We hope to create a challenging and interesting experience for an intern. Our “small law firm” environment allows an articling student to experience a wide range of administrative law issues common to all federal organizations, as well as issues unique to the Institute that arise from its mission to develop museums and libraries and meaningfully support these cultural resources. Sullivan`s Art and Museum Law Group brings together lawyers with extensive experience on matters involving museums, artists and other arts institutions. Our team combines skills and experience in these areas in general, with a basic knowledge of museums in particular, which allows us to understand the challenges and opportunities of museums, artists and collectors. Our professionals include a Best Lawyers` Boston Non-Profit / Charities Lawyer of the Year; a former curatorial professional responsible for exhibition work and adherence to the Association of Art Museum Directors provenance guidelines; and experienced IP litigators, among others. The exceptional program, prestigious faculty and unparalleled networking events are hallmarks of this signature conference – a must for museum professionals for 50 years! The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an independent federal agency that promotes, supports, and strengthens museums, libraries, and related organizations in the United States through grants, research, and policy development.