E. Randol Schoenberg

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E. Randol Schoenberg (born 1966) is a U.S. attorney, based in Los Angeles, California, specializing in legal cases related to the recovery of looted or stolen artworks, particularly those by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.[1][2][3][4]

Schoenberg is widely known as one of the central figures of the 2015 film, Woman in Gold, depicting the case of Maria Altmann against the government of Austria, where Schoenberg, her attorney is depicted by Ryan Reynolds.

Legal career[edit]

Schoenberg represented Maria Altmann in her suit to obtain five Gustav Klimt paintings from the estate of Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer as well as the "Palais",[5] the Viennese house in which the paintings were originally housed. Ms. Altmann won her case before the Supreme Court of the United States against the government of Austria in Republic of Austria v. Altmann in 2004. Schoenberg operated on a contingent fee basis and reportedly received 40% of the proceeds from the Klimt paintings,[6] amounting to a legal fee of over $120 million. He used a portion of his fee to fund a new building and expansion of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.[2][7] Schoenberg is featured in the documentary film Adele's Wish,[8] which deals with the events surrounding Altmann's case against the government of Austria, and depicted by Ryan Reynolds in Woman in Gold, a 2015 feature film dramatizing the case.

He acted for the defendants-appellants in the case of Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme et l'Antisemitisme (LICRA) 433 F.3d 1199 (9th Ci. 2006), in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[9]

As of April 2015, Schoenberg is one of the name partners at the small law firm of Burris & Schoenberg, LLP, and a lecturer at the University of Southern California. He previously was employed as an associate of the law firms Fried Frank and Katten Muchin. He was awarded the California Lawyer "Attorney of the Year" award in 2007 for outstanding achievement in litigation practice. Schoenberg teaches a course on Art and Cultural Property Law at the USC Gould School of Law.

Personal life[edit]

Schoenberg is the grandson of two Austrian composers: Arnold Schoenberg and Eric Zeisl. His grandmother Gertrud Schoenberg was the sister of violinist Rudolf Kolisch. He lives in the Brentwood district of Los Angeles, California with his wife Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg. They have two sons, Joseph and Nathan, and a daughter Dora. His wife is the owner of dnj Gallery, a contemporary photography gallery. She is the daughter of the owners of the Mayers Electrical Supply company and is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio.

He graduated from Princeton University in 1988[10] and received his J.D. degree from the University of Southern California.[11]

Schoenberg serves as president of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. He is an avid genealogist and serves as a volunteer curator for Geni.com, one of its most active users, managing over 100,000 profiles. He is a board member of JewishGen and the Co-Founder of its Austria-Czech Special Interest Group. He administers the Schoenberg DNA Project on Family Tree DNA. He is the author of the Beginner's Guide to Austrian-Jewish Genealogy and the co-author of Getting Started with Czech-Jewish Genealogy.

Painter Lance Richlin produced a portrait of Schoenberg with one of the Klimt paintings he helped recover, in tribute to his role in promoting "more research and transparency in artwork provenance".[12][13]


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