Museums, galleries, universities, and nonprofits turn to Willenken for a wide range of litigation and counseling services arising from the distinct needs and goals of mission-driven organizations.
The evolution of the global art market over the preceding decades has given rise to increasingly complex disputes over art transactions, many of which also have an international component. Many institutions, both public and private, have had to rethink their collecting practices while also embracing artists and works from around the world.
Our art, cultural, and educational institutions practice pairs our reputation for superior results with our passion for community and humanities. We understand the need to succeed and we use all our ingenuity to achieve winning results for our clients. We are equally attuned to the institution’s accountability to those it serves when it comes to high-stakes matters in the public eye.
Institutions in this space often face disparate challenges ranging from intellectual property to public accountability. Clients seek out our attorneys’ cross-disciplinary expertise in:
- Appellate and amicus briefs in precedent-setting cases
- Artists’ rights advice and litigation
- Copyright and fair use advice and litigation
- Cultural patrimony and provenance investigations and litigation
- Data privacy advice and litigation
- First Amendment litigation
- Governance, ethics, and board training
- “Outside, in-house” counsel and advice
- Public accountability investigations and litigation
- Technology transfer advice and litigation
- Trademark litigation
When disputes over art arise, clients retain our attorneys for counsel and representation in matters involving provenance; restitution; cultural property issues; copyright disputes; claims involving theft, loss, and physical damage of artworks; the treatment of abandoned art loans to museums and other institutions; sales of forged or improperly accredited work; and government investigations, including forfeiture issues.
Willenken attorneys currently serve as law school faculty for an art and the law course, and on the executive committee of California Lawyers for the Arts. They regularly write for art and cultural heritage law publications and present on legal issues in museum and gallery administration. Our immersion in the sectors we serve keeps us appraised of changes in art law and the direct effects on our clients.