Pool of Arbitrators

Elizabeth Varner

Arbitrator; Adjunct Law Professor; Director, National Museums; Leader, Cultural Programs

Elizabeth is an attorney, mediator, and arbitrator focused on art, commercial, copyright, and entertainment law. She is a recognized leader in culture, science, and technology with publications, presentations, and organization and board service. She has more than 10 years of experience providing strategic advice and services on legal, business, and practical matters in the areas of alternate dispute resolution (ADR), authentication, business, contracts, cultural heritage (including art), entertainment, government, insurance, intellectual property, international, military, museums, non-profit, tax, technology, and shipping in multiple cultural organizations. She has been Executive Director of three museums.

Her law practice has included arbitration and mediation since 2010. She has served as Arbitrator in commercial disputes and developed and incorporated ADR regimes into practices at museums and cultural institutions she worked at including while serving as museum director of a national museum and as a curator guiding and advising on the care of more than 200 million cultural and scientific collections and the agreements involved. She is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Dispute Resolution Arbitrators Panel. Elizabeth was appointed to the original Arbitration pool of CAfA in January 2020. She has been licensed by the US, North Carolina Bar.

Elizabeth is a member of US-International Council of Museums board, as well as Chair of the American Alliance of Museums’ Curatorial Ethics Subcommittee. She is Past President of the Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation and former Executive Committee member of American Society of International Law’s Cultural Heritage & Art Group.

Elizabeth’s educational background includes: Tulane University Law School (J.D.); Smithsonian-Corcoran College of Art + Design (M.A.); University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (B.A).

Elizabeth is Adjunct Faculty of the Robert H. McKinney School of Law at Indiana University, teaching graduate courses on Art, Cultural Heritage, and Museum Law and Entertainment Law–both of which include ADR. She co-taught the Business of Museums class for the graduate Museum Program at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of multiple publications, including Arbitrating Cultural Property Disputes, in the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. Forthcoming publications include a chapter on Obligations Underlying the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Protocol II, and a book she co-edited and contributed to, 'Intersections in International Cultural Heritage Law', with Oxford University Press, that evaluates the intersections of different international legal regimes and how they impact cultural heritage. Elizabeth is a frequent speaker and has published extensively on issues related to art law and business.

Jurisdiction: U.S.A.