Leila Amineddoleh, Executive Director
Leila Amineddoleh is the Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation. She is an art and intellectual property litigator, working on complex legal matters involving artists’ rights, authenticity disputes, international art fraud, theft, and cultural heritage matters. Leila also works in academia, teaching Art & Cultural Heritage Law at Fordham University School of Law and St. John’s University School of Law. Her academic research focuses on art authenticity issues and cultural heritage preservation.
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.
Leila currently works in Manhattan, and represents a wide variety of clients, including gallery owners, artists, musicians, art collectors, and non-profit arts organizations. 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.
Lily McManus, Fellow (2013)
Lily McManus joined LCCHP as a William & Mary Post-Graduate Public Service Fellow. She obtained her J.D. from William & Mary Law School in May 2012 and is admitted to practice law in Virginia.
While in law school, Lily served as Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, and was awarded the Dean’s Certificate in recognition of her leadership. Her student note, “The Anatomy of a Helping Hand: Women-Owned Small Businesses and Federal Contract Procurement,” was chosen for publication in the eighteenth issue of the Journal of Women and the Law. She spent her two law school summers conducting research for, respectively, her contracts professor and the National Center for State Courts; during her first year, she also assisted in legal research pertaining to an ownership dispute over the Lorton Meteorite, which now resides at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Lily gained more than three years of paralegal experience before law school as Senior Legal Assistant to the International Trade Practice Group of the law firm Arnold & Porter LLP. She obtained her B.A. in Classical & Medieval Studies from Bates College in 2005, having spent her junior year abroad in Florence, Italy, studying Italian language, history, and art. Upon the completion of her fellowship, Lily joined Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC, a law and consulting firm serving clients in the art, cultural heritage, museum and historic preservation communities.