Jennifer Morris

Attorney at Law
740.357.1140

Dr. Jennifer Morris leads our Art and Museum Law practice. She is an art historian and lawyer whose practice focuses on art, museum, and cultural heritage matters. In addition to advising clients on provenance, title, and ownership disputes, Jennifer assists collectors, museums, and other nonprofit organizations with due diligence, governance issues, and international trade controls. Jennifer also works with indigenous peoples to protect their cultural heritage. 

Art & Antiquities

Jennifer has counseled museums, auction houses, and private individuals on collections management, best practices, and ownership issues. She has litigation and alternative dispute resolution experience in matters concerning looted antiquities, Holocaust-era forced sales, and recovery of stolen cultural property. Jennifer also advises clients on modern thefts from museums and archaeological sites and import/export issues affecting cultural artifacts. 

Museums & Cultural Nonprofits 

Jennifer works with museums and other cultural nonprofit organizations in a variety of capacities, including museum policymaking, collections management, board and governance issues, and compliance with state and federal filing requirements. She has also advised nonprofit clients on international heritage preservation and restoration projects in war zones.

Indigenous Heritage

Jennifer also supports Cultural Heritage Partners’ indigenous heritage practice, working with American Indian tribes and other stakeholders to protect indigenous heritage sites and cultural objects.   

About Jennifer

After graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art, Art History, & Visual Studies from Duke University, where she received the Nancy Kaneb Art History Award and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Jennifer pursued Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Art & Archaeology at Princeton University. Her doctoral research focused on early modern German art, and she spent two years as the Samuel H. Kress Institutional Fellow at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich. She then completed her Juris Doctor degree at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary while working as a research fellow at the Muscarelle Museum of Art. Jennifer also serves as an adjunct professor of Art & Cultural Heritage Law at William & Mary.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys riding her two horses, Staros and Quetzalcoatl (“Quetzi”). She shows competitively on the hunter/jumper circuit and has won national championships in the amateur owner hunter division.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • For the world’s leading auction house, handle major litigation regarding ownership of a high-value antiquity.
  • For a major museum, advise on board governance issues and collections best practices; review provenance of objects in collection and advise on acquisitions; advise on foreign cultural heritage legislation and import/export issues with objects in museum’s collection, for future purchase, or on loan; assist with settlement negotiations involving museum client and foreign sovereigns for the repatriation of objects.
  • For current and former members of Congress, file as amici curiae before the Ninth Circuit supporting restitution of Nazi-looted artworks to claimant heir.
  • Assist nonprofit organization client in locating sculpture stolen during 1960s and negotiating its return from current possessor.
  • For a nonprofit cultural heritage organization, orchestrate cultural heritage restoration project in Syria and complying with Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions and reporting requirements. 
  • For an American Indian tribe, bring suits in federal and state courts against a state’s Attorney General for violations of the tribe’s civil rights and due process when the state withdrew prior recognition of the tribe–securing the full restoration of recognition and a financial settlement.
  • For a federally-recognized American Indian tribe, secure rights to meaningful consultation by federal agency and oppose plans with a municipal board to construct water pumping facilities on the historic capital city of the tribe–to prevent disturbing ancestral burials and cultural resources.
  • Represent federally-recognized American Indian tribe in contract dispute in state court, leading settlement negotiations that resulted in dismissal of case against the tribe.
  • Provide general counsel services to museums and other cultural institutions.
  • Advise on contracts governing removal of Confederate monuments, as well as the donation to and subsequent handling of those monuments at local museums.
  • Assist collector with transactional issues involved in marketing and sale of rare natural history specimens. 
  • Advise nonprofit organization on community engagement, board diversity, and structural parity in museum governance.
  • Serve as general counsel to startup NFT collection benefiting charitable organizations through online auctions. 
  • Prepare model conservation services agreement for professional organization.

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

  • Invited Lecture, “Classical Antiquity and the Law Today,” Classical Association of New England Summer Institution at Brown University, Providence, RI, 2022.
  • Panelist, “In Pursuit of Cultural Property: Ownership Disputes in Museums Today,” American Alliance of Museums Annual Conference, 2021. 
  • Panel moderator, “Native American Artifacts in Virginia’s Museums,” Virginia Association of Museums Annual Conference, Chantilly, VA, 2020. 
  • Invited lecture, “Barbarians at the Gate:  Looted Antiquities and the Law,” Robert O. Fink Memorial Lecture at Kenyon College, Gambier, OH, 2019.
  • Invited lecture, “Museum Ethics & Governance Issues:  Basics and Beyond,” Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, VA, 2019.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

MEMBERSHIPS

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • New Jersey Bar 
  • New York Bar
  • New York City Bar Association
  • South Carolina Bar
  • American Alliance of Museums