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Keystone Law




Art Lawyers


Lifestyle & Passion Investments


London, United Kingdom

Geographical focus

United Kingdom

Sector focus

Legal Advisory Services

Art Products


Lisette Aguilar


Lisette Aguilar aims ‘to provide a tailored service to assist with all of my clients’ art needs, drawing on my in-depth understanding of the art world’. Until joining Keystone Law, Aguilar worked for 12 years as Associate General Counsel and Senior Director at Sotheby’s. In the art world, the value of knowing the industry from the inside cannot be overstated. Aguilar’s experience means that she possesses an inherent understanding of what is important to clients, whether they be the auction houses, dealers or collectors.

‘I speak their language, as it were,’ she says. ‘We have an instant rapport. I know that this builds trust and confidence – the art world is very much about relationships. During my time at Sotheby’s and subsequently, I have worked on a wide range of issues and I know the major players so can quickly assess the best approach and strategy.’

Since joining Keystone Law in 2019, Aguilar has expanded her art transactions practice, which has been ‘immensely rewarding’. In particular, she has advised on the sale and purchase of high value post-Impressionist and Old Master works. ‘I really enjoy considering some of the issues which come up with older works in particular, for instance, in relation to attribution and provenance,’ she says. ‘These are issues I was able to get my teeth into when successfully defending two cases while at Sotheby’s [Lord Coleridge v Sotheby’s and Thwaytes v Sotheby’s].’

While the Keystone partner has worked on many high profile art cases, she considers winning Thwaytes v Sotheby’s one of the defining moments of her career. The seminal case is now the subject of a book published in 2020 by one of the experts involved: Caravaggio’s Cardsharps on Trial by Richard E. Spear. ‘It is great to be cited and to be able to relive that success all over again, and also to have cases I worked on studied by art law students,’ she enthuses.

Aguilar has accrued a 100 per cent success rate at trial, and although she is doing more transactional work, she is still ‘very much advising on claims’. ‘While I don’t believe it is always helpful to be aggressive for the sake of it, I am tenacious in pursuing my clients’ interests,’ she says.

‘When dealing with art, there is always a personal and emotional element, and I always strive to get to the core of what really matters,’ continuesAguilar. ‘I pride myself on being incisive and efficient, and the ability to communicate well is also key. Although I am no longer in-house, I feel privileged to be regarded as part of a client’s team, and this is what I love about my work.’

Rank: Top Recommended

Top Recommended 2021, Art Lawyers

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