This summer I have the pleasure of working at Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC, a firm specializing in legal matters relating to the cultural heritage sector.  I have learned more in the past two weeks about cultural heritage law than I can express in a short blog post, but I will begin my blogging with a brief introduction to myself, Cultural Heritage Partners (“CHP”), and a research project which I have the opportunity to undertake over the course of the summer. 

I have always been interested in art and cultural products more broadly. As an undergraduate, I majored in Art History and English.  By the time I applied to law school, I had identified art and cultural heritage law as fascinating fields, but I did not think that I would have the opportunity to work in them.  Now, I feel immensely privileged to do so this summer. 

CHP has a variety of practice areas including heritage preservation, art law, indigenous heritage, and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) advising. Appropriately, the firm’s Richmond office is located in a historic building in downtown Richmond. However, due to the fact that the CHP is based in New York and in D.C. as well as in Richmond, the firm is adept at online meetings and managing remote work. While I fully anticipated working remotely all summer due to the pandemic, I was lucky to receive the COVID vaccine before the internship began.  Thus, when I revealed to my supervisors that I was in Richmond, VA, they readily invited me to the CHP office.  I had the pleasure of meeting members of the CHP team for lunch and working in their Richmond office.  It was a fantastic experience and I look forward to returning throughout the summer. 

I have already become involved in a number of interesting projects.  For example, over the summer I will be conducting research on the ways in which principle of FPIC (Free Prior and Informed Consent) can be applied in the United States.  Under Article 19 of UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples), states have an obligation to consult with indigenous peoples and “obtain their free, prior, and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.”  G.A. Res. 61/295, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Sept. 13, 2007). Similarly, FPIC can be implemented by companies and by international organizations, as well as by states.  Over the summer, I will research FPIC in the United States and, by comparison, in Canada and will prepare a memo summarizing my findings.