Stephen K. Urice

Professor of Law, Dean's Distinguished Scholar & Director, Arts Law Track - Graduate Program in Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law LL.M.

J.D. 1984, Harvard Law School
Ph.D. 1981, Harvard University

Phone: (305)284-3643
Office: G272
Office Hours:

Tuesdays, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. and by appointment

Professor Urice teaches courses in Elements of the Law, Trusts & Estates, Art Law, Museum Law, and Cultural Property Law and seminars primarily in Art, Museum, and Cultural Property law and Artists' Endowed Foundations: Law & Policy. He is the Arts Track Director for Miami Law's LL.M. in Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law

He lectures nationally and internationally on cultural heritage law and policy and has served on the faculty and planning committee of the American Law Institute's course of study Legal Issues in Museum Administration for many years. He is a co-author of the standard art law casebook, Merryman, Elsen, and Urice, Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts (5th. ed., 2007), which he is now revising for the 6th edition. With Professor Reid Weisbord of Rutgers School of Law (Newark), Professor Urice is writing Wills, Trusts, & Estates: The Essentials (Aspen Publishers, expected 2016). He is currently working on articles relating to the doctrine of cy pres and single-donor museums and U.S. policy regarding illegally exported antiquities.

From 2008 until 2013, Professor Urice served on the Study Committee of the Aspen Institute's 2-volume report The Artist as Philanthropist: Strengthening the Next Generation of Artist-endowed Foundations to which he also contributed briefing papers. Following publication of the report in 2010, Professor Urice assisted with Aspen's two-year effort to disseminate the report’s findings, participating on presentations at The New School (NYC), Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Graham Foundation (Chicago), among others.

Professor Urice earned his B.A. in English from Tufts University. In his graduate work, at Harvard University, he earned a M.T.S. (Old Testament), Ph.D. (Fine Arts), and J.D. During his doctoral program, based at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum, Professor Urice worked extensively as a field archaeologist in Cyprus, Tunisia, and Jordan. His dissertation focused on an early-Islamic site in Jordan, where he directed excavations in cooperation with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities and with funding from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. Professor Urice published the results of that archaeological expedition in Qasr Kharana in the Transjordan (American Schools of Oriental Research, 1987).

Following law school, he joined the Trusts and Estates department at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (New York). He later moved to Los Angeles where he practiced at Irell & Manella focusing on estate planning, the law of private foundations, and museum and art law. While at Irell & Manella, Professor Urice joined the adjunct faculty of the U.C.L.A. School of Law where he taught classes in art law.

Professor Urice left the practice of law to serve as counsel and acting director of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation in Los Angeles. He then served as director of Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum & Library and subsequently accepted an appointment with The Pew Charitable Trusts to plan and implement The Trusts' new cultural policy program, a $50 million, five-year effort to assist nonprofit cultural organizations participate more fully in the development of cultural policies at local, state, and federal levels. In 2003, Professor Urice became director of the Project for Cultural Heritage Law & Policy, based at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as Lecturer in Law. He joined the faculty of the University of Miami School of Law in 2006.

Professor Urice’s service to UM and the Miami community includes past membership on the university’s Research Council and multiple law school committees. Currently, he serves on the university's Academic Advisory Committee for the Lowe Art Museum. He is a past member of the Board of Miami’s Wolfsonian Museum.

Professor Urice is a member of the New York, Massachusetts, and California bars. Among other professional organizations, he is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the International Council on Museums (U.S)., and the Archaeological Institute of America (life member since 1972).

In 2007, Professor Urice married the late Dr. Mark H. Beers, shortly before they celebrated their 32d anniversary together.


Wills, Trusts, and Estates: The Essentials, 2d ed. (2021).

Deaccessioning: Legal Parameters, Legal Issues in Museum Administration (American Law Institute) 904 (2019).

Deaccessioning Policies and Practices in United States Museums, Kunst & Recht 2018/Art & Law 2018 (Peter Mosimann & Beat Schonenberger eds.) 15 (2018).

Artists’ Archives and Cultural Heritage, Artist's Archives and Estates: Cultural Memory Between Law and Market (Alessandra Donati, Rachele Ferrario & Silvia Simoncelli eds.) 99 (2018).

Wills, Trusts, and Estates: The Essentials (2018).

Pieces of the Past: Repatriation and Collaborative Agreements Introduction: Recent Agreements Between U.S. Museums and Foreign Countries, Legal Issues in Museum Administration, with Mia Logan, 53 (2014).

Recent Issues in Authentication, Legal Issues in Museum Administration, with Robert Hallman, Philippa Loengrad, 27 (2013).

Cultural Property Roundtable: Updates and Case Studies, Legal Issues in Museum Administration, with Julie Getzels, Stephen Knerly, 1 (2013).

Realising Cultural Heritage Law: Festschrift for Patrick O’Keefe (2013).

Special Collections, Legal Issues in Museum Administration (2012).

Gift Restriction Case Law Overview: Interpreting Gift Restrictions, Legal Issues in Museum Administration 169 (2012).

Elizabeth Taylor’s van Gogh: An Alternative Route to Restitution of Holocaust Art? , 22 DePaul J. Art, Tech., & Intell. Prop. 1 (2011).

Resolving the Disjunction between Cultural Property Policy and Law: A Call for Reform, with Andrew Adler, 64 Rutgers L. Rev. 117 (2011).

Between Rocks and Hard Places: Unprovenanced Antiquities and the National Stolen Property Act, 40 N. M. L. Rev. 123 (2010).

Deaccessioning: A Few Observations, Legal Issues in Museum Administration 207 (2010).

Deaccessioning: Selected Policies, Legal Issues in Museum Administration, with Henry Lanman, Steven Knerly, 233 (2010).

 Media Appearances

Professor Stephen Urice comments in "Cambodia Presses U.S. Museums to Relinquish Antiquities" in The New York Times 2015

Professor Stephen Urice Elected President of the International Cultural Property Society 2015

Professor Stephen Urice in "No Quick Answers in Fights Over Art Museums' Property Claims Are Not Simply About Evidence" in The New York Times. 2015

Professor Stephen Urice in "Okinawa crown mystery defies leads after nearly 70 years" in Stars and Stripes. 2015

Professor Stephen Urice is quoted in "Stolen-artifacts case has cost much, yielded little, critics say" in the Los Angeles Times. 2015

Professor Stephen Urice comments in NY Times story about how major American museums are relinquishing extraordinary antiquities because a foreign government claims they were looted 2013

Professor Stephen Urice is quoted in "Field has mulled selling artifacts: Money from 2004 auction of Western art was used to pay staff, records show" in Chicago Tribune 2004

 Presentations & Awards

Cultural Heritage and War Crimes ( , 2016)

Legal Issues in Museum Administration ( , 2016)

( , 2013)

Restitution of Art ( , 2013)

Phone: (305)284-3643
Office: G272
Office Hours:

Tuesdays, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. and by appointment

Faculty Assistant

Nelson, Antoinette

Phone: (305)284-4277
Office: G264

Area of Expertise

  • Art Law
  • Museum Law
  • Nonprofits