Mahsa Javid, Executive Director

Mahsa Javid is the Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.  She is also the Assistant Director of Development at the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum.She has been involved in development and special events for local arts organizations including Artisphere, and the City of Fairfax Band Association. 

Mahsa has an M.A. in arts management from George Mason University. She currently serves on the Global Friends Committee at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is fluent in English, Farsi, French and Spanish.

Marisa Grant, Fellow 

Marisa Grant received her J.D. with honors from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2013 and is licensed to practice law in North Carolina.  While in law school, Marisa was Editor-in-Chief of the North Carolina Central Law Review and received a Dean’s award for outstanding service, as well as an award for best citations.  She served as a research assistant and edited copy for a professor’s article that won the 2011 American Bankruptcy Law Journal’s Editors’ Prize.  During law school, Marisa interned for Legal Aid where she handled housing, unemployment, and estate cases.  She also interned at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits where she researched policy issues related to tax law. 

Marisa became interested in cultural heritage law after participating in the Tulane Law/University of Siena Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts.  She also took an Art Law course at Duke University School of Law.  

Marisa received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She spent her junior year abroad in Florence, Italy, where she studied art history.  Marisa has been a long time volunteer at the North Carolina Museum of Art where she helps with special events and serves as a museum ambassador. 

Anne Lewis, Fellow

Anne Lewis developed her interest in cultural heritage preservation as an Art History and International Relations major at Tufts University, and during her time studying abroad in Paris. After working in New York City at the Aperture Foundation, she enrolled at Tulane University Law School to pursue a career in the legal side of the art world. She completed the Tulane-Siena program and internship in Cambodia, where she worked on a legislative drafting project for the Ministry of Fine Arts and Culture. During law school she was a Senior Symposium Editor for the Tulane Journal of Intellectual Property and Technology, which published her article on the legality of 3D printing. This article was later selected as one of the best of the year by editors at Thomson Reuters West and was included in their annual Entertainment, Publishing, and the Arts Handbook. She also gained experience as a legal intern with Time Inc., and by volunteering for the Entertainment Law Legal Assistance Project in New Orleans. After graduating from Tulane, she moved to India to work on a French language litigation review project, and continued to travel and explore UNESCO heritage sites. She is excited to contribute to advocacy projects for the LCCHP and bring awareness to preservation efforts. Anne has since returned home to Illinois, where she is now licensed to practice, and works for a small firm in the Chicago area. 

Ariel Noffke, Fellow

Ariel N. Noffke received her JD from Tulane University Law School in 2014 and is licensed to practice law in New York. She is currently a PhD student in the University at Buffalo's Department of Anthropology, researching cultural heritage programming in German museums and how this programming affects recent refugees and the legal and political systems in which they maneuver. 

During law school, Ariel served as a Managing Editor on the Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law, an Executive Board member of the International Law Society, and as a Research Assistant for both copyediting and substantive research projects. In addition to serving as a Student Attorney for the Tulane Civil Litigation Clinic, Ariel has volunteered with the Entertainment Law Legal Assistance Project and interned with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for the State of Louisiana and Illinois Supreme Court. Between law school and starting her PhD, Ariel worked as a law clerk with a firm specializing in social security disability cases for child claimants.

Ariel's interest in cultural heritage began with an anthropology undergraduate degree from Tulane University and was furthered through coursework in Art Law, Intellectual Property, Public International Law, and Historic Preservation. Her PhD research will explore the ways that German cultural heritage programming expresses state immigration and citizenship policy and how this programming is viewed by refugees. Integrating heritage and immigration policy raises questions about how such heritage use can inform immigration law, cultural heritage law, and larger considerations of the role of heritage in human rights and diplomacy.  

Khamal Patterson, Fellow

Khamal received his J.D. from the Catholic University, Columbus School of Law in 2014. As a law student, Khamal was a research assistant and judicial intern. He conducted research for his former property professor's summer 2013 human rights colloquium in Rome. As a judicial intern in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in spring 2013, he assisted the clerk with orders, opinions, and voir dire questions. During his time in chambers, Khamal worked beyond his required hours because he enjoyed the challenge and mentorship so much. He received pro bono recognition for his work.

Khamal first became interested in cultural property as a student at Howard University after taking a course on the Russian Revolution and the decades that followed it. He learned how totalitarian regimes loot, deface, and devalue cultural property. He was given the opportunity to apply what he learned in his course through interning with the Holocaust Art Restitution Project last spring. His work ignited his commitment to the return and repatriation of stolen art and artifacts. He wrote a memo on the question of seizure under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. While researching the issues for this memo on NAGPRA and its limits, he also examined the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the Immunity from Seizure Act. Khamal also commented on the draft of the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act. Khamal currently contributes articles to Saving Antiquities for Everyone as an intern. He is also privileged to interview the men and women at the forefront of enforcing our nation's cultural laws as part of his interview series for Saving Antiquities for Everyone. Khamal hopes to work for the government and help interdict and return illicit antiquities. He also has a strong interest in cultural property and provenance litigation.

Rachel Pietron, Fellow 

Rachel is a metro-Detroit native who credits her high school humanities teacher with sparking her passion for art and culture. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in English literature and environmental policy. During college she spent a semester studying art and literature in Florence, Italy. 

After college her passion for storytelling and environmental conservation translated into an advocacy role with the legislative team of the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC. A desire to fine-tune her advocacy skills propelled her to Santa Clara University Law School. Here she was exposed to cultural property law and co-founded the Association for the Protection of Cultural Property. After law school she moved to Los Angeles and currently resides with her fiancé in Santa Monica. She hopes to one day work for UNESCO and strengthen laws that conserve both tangible and intangible cultural property. 

Former Staff

Leila Amineddoleh, Executive Director (2013-2015)

Leila Amineddoleh was the Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.  She is a partner at the law firm ofAmineddoleh & Associates LLC where she is an art, cultural heritage, and intellectual property litigator. She is involved in all aspects of due diligence and litigation, and has extensive experience in arts transactional work. She has represented major art collectors and dealers in disputes related to multi-million dollar contractual matters, art authentication disputes, international cultural heritage law violations, the recovery of stolen art, and complex fraud schemes. She also works with artists and entrepreneurs to protect their intellectual property and artistic rights. Leila also works in academia, teaching Art & Cultural Heritage Law at Fordham University School of Law and for the Rome Program at St. John’s University School of Law.  Leila's academic research focuses on art authenticity issues and cultural heritage preservation, and she has published extensively on topics relates to art and cultural heritage. 

Leila’s interest in the protection of art and cultural heritage stems from her upbringing as a classical musician.  Leila grew up in a home surrounded by art and antiquities, and has been playing classical piano since before she can remember.  Growing up in a suburb outside of New York City, she chose to attend New York University to remain in the center of the art world.  Leila’s love for the arts inspired her to attend Boston College Law School to pursue a legal career in order to protect artists and musicians.  However, once she began studying art law, Leila learned about the heartbreaking destruction of cultural heritage occurring around the world, and she decided to devote her career to the protection of these precious objects and places. 

In her spare time, she plays and performs classical piano.

Tess Davis, Executive Director (2010-2013)

In March 2010, Tess Davis became the first Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, bringing with her eight years of relevant work experience and degrees in both archaeology and law. Hailing from Macon, Georgia, Davis grew up surrounded by a rich cultural heritage, including Native American burial mounds, Civil War battlefields, and more nationally registered historic districts than any other city in the state. This upbringing gave her a great appreciation for art and history, which in turn inspired her to pursue a career in a field that combined the two, archaeology.

She earned a scholarship to study archaeology at Boston University,  where she became interested in the trafficking of art and antiquities, particularly in Southeast Asia. After graduating magna cum laude --- and working three years for the Archaeological Institute of America--- she moved to Cambodia to study the illicit trade in the region's cultural property. There, she became the Project Coordinator of Heritage Watch, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving Cambodia's cultural resources through research, education, and advocacy. At Heritage Watch, she conceptualized and implemented a number of exciting projects, including a two-month exhibition at Angkor Wat about the threats facing the site, a “Heritage Hotline” for the public to report looting or archaeological discoveries, and a children’s book on preservation entitled "If the Stones Could Speak." She also conducted extensive field research on the looting of Cambodia’s ancient sites and the resulting trade in its antiquities.

In the course of this work, she realized that the illicit trade in cultural property would continue to thrive until proper legislation was achieved and enforced, prompting her to return home to attend the University of Georgia School of Law. While undertaking a full academic course load, she demonstrated her commitment to cultural property protection by continuing to work in the field. After earning her Juris Doctor, as Assistant Director for Heritage Watch, she spearheaded the creation of a cultural property law database and international legal internship program in Cambodia. She has also worked in international development, monitoring the 2007 national elections in Papua New Guinea, developing the official database for that country’s case law, and interning for the Carter Center. 

Davis is a Researcher in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Heritage Watch and the Ocean Foundation and is Vice Chair of the American Society of International Law’s Cultural Heritage and the Arts Interest Group. She is admitted to the New York State Bar, Third Department, and a member of the New York State Bar Association.

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