Museum Law

(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

With the snow melting in Sochi, “On Remand” looks back to one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. Tomorrow is the 34th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice.”

In February 1980, the XIII Olympic Winter Games were underway in Lake Placid, New York. But a little-known group of hockey players had been practicing together for months, skating themselves to exhaustion learning coach Herb Brooks’s new, fast, and grueling style of play. Most of the players on Team USA were barely old enough to order a beer, and hardly any had played hockey professionally. In a few months, several would be playing in the NHL. But on February 22, they were underdogs against a Soviet team that had won the gold in every Olympic contest since 1956 — except for 1960, when the Americans stood atop the podium. A week before the 1980 games started, the Soviets had trounced the Americans, 10-3, in an exhibition game.

“Unless the ice melts” or some team “performs a miracle,” a sports writer quipped, the Soviets would win the gold medal again in 1980. And, for most of the U.S.S.R. versus U.S. game, that prediction appeared accurate. But with 10 minutes left in the game, Mike Eruzione, Team USA’s captain, scored a goal from thirty feet, putting the Americans up 4-3. They never relinquished the lead. As the clock ran out, ABC broadcaster Al Michaels delivered his now iconic play-by-play

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Many lawyers love food and wine — not wisely, but too well. Their stressful jobs cause them to develop unhealthy obsessions with eating and drinking. A fair number of lawyers end up overweight and out of shape or suffer from serious drinking problems.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Food and drink should be sources of health and happiness in one’s life. And they’re worthy subjects of intellectual interest as well; someone should start a museum devoted to them, don’t you think?

Let’s meet a lawyer whose love for food and drink has manifested itself in a healthy way….

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Like you wouldn't go to court over the ownership of this toy!

If Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is involved, you know we’re talking about an exciting aspect of jurisprudence.

We’ve been following the case of the Mongolian dinosaur bones, but really that’s just a small window into the world of antiquities law. It’s a field of law that should fire the imagination of any lawyer who was a liberal arts major in college but ended up in law. We’re talking about a field of law which will reward the art history majors of the world. The romance language majors. The random anthropology majors who didn’t have the stones to take Orgo, but spiked a 170 on the LSAT. This is a field of law for you.

The New York Times ran a long and fascinating article last week about the emerging law surrounding the provenance of antique goods sold at auction. After centuries of private collectors being able to simply steal and resell the history of poor countries, it seems like reputable auction houses and museums are finally refusing to legitimize the black market through their purchase of questionably-obtained artifacts.

But the new rules mean that some antique collectors now can’t unload treasures they believed they acquired legitimately. Even Professor Dershowitz is having some difficulty establishing the proper documentation of an item he wanted to auction….

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