Art and Craft

Julian André defends stolen art and due process

Published in 2014 Southern California Rising Stars — July 2014

In 2008, Julian André, a recent University of Virginia School of Law graduate and associate at McDermott Will & Emery, joined a defense team involved in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s case against a handful of Broadcom Corp. officials for their alleged participation in stock-option backdating. It was a big case. So he did what any newbie lawyer would do. He left to clerk for the Hon. Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

“Clerking for Judge Pregerson was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life,” says André, now a partner at McDermott’s LA office. “He’s outspoken about doing the right thing.”

Today, André focuses on complex civil litigation, white-collar and appellate work, and recently became involved in a case with wide implications for the art world. Appellee David Bakalar purchased a drawing from a Manhattan gallery, but the heirs of the drawing’s former owner claimed the piece was stolen and wanted it back. On behalf of the Art Dealers Association of America, the Society of London Art Dealers and Richard Nagy, a popular U.K. art dealer, André wrote an amicus curiae brief and presented it before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

“I was originally told I was not scheduled to argue,” he says. “Then a few minutes before I took the bench, they said I’d have about three minutes. I was a little in shock and a little nervous, but I was ready.” He ultimately helped persuade the judges to protect Bakalar and others who purchase art in good faith.

In Oshodi v. Holder, he wrote another amicus brief in en banc proceedings before the 9th Circuit. Olakunle Oshodi, a Nigerian national persecuted because of his involvement in a political opposition group, had been denied asylum in the U.S. “Winning [for Oshodi] was a huge victory,” André says.

No matter how busy his docket gets, André blocks out Wednesday evenings for softball. “I’ve played in the same league since I was 19,” he says. “I’ve learned so much from my teammates. They convinced me to go to law school. Now most of us are lawyers.”

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