Benjamin Bishop has combined his passions for his community, environmental law, and real estate law through his externship with the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust.
Bishop, who grew up on his family’s farm in Berkeley County, has seen the area change from mainly rural to suburban and urban. The Lord Berkeley Conservation trust works to preserve the area’s natural, cultural and historical attributes in the midst of economic development.
“We work closely with Berkeley County government to identify areas for development and also work closely with businesses and family landowners to mitigate the effects,” Bishop explained.
Bishop always had an interest in real estate law and environmental law but was not sure what type of law he wanted to practice. He began doing pro bono work for the Trust about a year ago and enjoyed the experience so much he completed an externship this past summer.
Landowners voluntarily work with the Trust to develop customized conservation strategies, which most often result in a conservation easement. This legally binding agreement restricts extensive development while allowing the property to remain in private ownership and be used for traditional purposes like hunting, farming and timber management. Conservation easements also may generate federal tax deductions.
“All the skills I developed in law school come into play in my work with the Trust. It’s just not a traditional way of applying them,” Bishop explained.
Along with gaining legal skills and connections, Bishop also is proud to be preserving “history worth protecting” in his home community.
Bishop is a native of Pinopolis, S.C. and earned his undergraduate degree from The Citadel. Before attending law school, he worked in the financial services industry for three years. He will graduate in December 2015 and plans to practice law in Moncks Corner, S.C. with his father, George Bishop, Jr., and continue his work with the Trust.
The Charleston School of Law’s externship program allows students to gain practical work experience while earning course credit. Students complement their classroom studies by working under the direct supervision of members of the judiciary or attorneys in the public or nonprofit sectors. Since the fall of 2006, Charleston School of Law students have completed over 105,452 externship hours. For more information please contact Professor James Klein or Celeste Palmer-Reese.
Story by: Michelle Mensore Condon
Photo by: Jennifer Bishop