In the private collection of the Bell Legal Group, Georgetown, SC
J. Edward Bell III
J. Edward Bell II South Carolina native J. Edward Bell III, founder and senior partner of Bell Legal Group in Georgetown, is an attorney, businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In a career spanning more than 30 years, he has distinguished himself as a top litigation attorney at local, state and national levels and has tried more than 300 major cases throughout the United States. Bell is a recognized Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated attorney. He is listed in The American Trial Lawyers Association’s prestigious Top 100 Attorneys; named to Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year, Benchmark’s Litigation Star; and received the SC Lawyers Weekly Leadership in Law Award. He is the chairman of the board of
Garden & Gun magazine, Garden & Gun Land, The Litchfield Company and president of the Charleston School of Law.
Bell’s work in the legal field is extensive and renowned, yet more notable is his work with students and young attorneys. His history of mentoring students interested in pursuing the law has included assistance with financial aid, internships and housing for national and international students. It is this passion for sharing his knowledge and understanding of the law that led Bell to his newest position as President of the Charleston School of Law.
A graduate of University of South Carolina School of Law, Bell distinguished himself as a top civil litigator in the field of complex litigation law with his success in the demanding auto torts and auto safety field. His unique approach in auto case work led him to establish a Vehicle Safety Research Center, a facility that conducts auto defect investigations, accident re-enactments, develops exhibits, and explores the complex nature of the issues surrounding injury and accident cases. Since its inception, the center has evolved into a multi-disciplined Science and Technology Center used to assist attorneys in unraveling technical information associated with trial work. His legal career continues to bring him national recognition in the fields of environmental law, auto safety, auto defects and product liability. He is a member of the Bars of South Carolina, United States District Court, District of South Carolina; United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and United States Supreme Court. Bell’s work in environmental law coupled with his love of Southern culture led him to explore opportunities for land development with an emphasis on environmental conservation. In 2010, he became a partner in Garden & Gun Magazine, LLC, a nationally-recognized Southern lifestyle publication. That partnership, along with the acquisition of an established coastal real estate business, The Litchfield Company, LLC, and the inception of Garden & Gun Land, continues to help broaden his environmental pursuits on a national level. Bell attended the White House ceremony celebrating President Biden signing into law the Honoring Our PACT Act. The bill includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (bill number H.R. 2192), legislation that Bell personally championed to allow those impacted - including veterans, their families and civilian staff - from living and working at Camp Lejeune to exercise their constitutional right to legal action against the U.S. government. Due to his leadership role, Bell was invited by President Biden to attend the signing of the historic legislation. For more than a decade, Bell Legal Group, led by Ed Bell, worked with Camp Lejeune victims, including Master Sergeant J.M. Ensminger, USMC, Ret., the leading advocate for the cause, and Michael Partain, co-founder of The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, as well as elected officials including Congressman Cartwright (D-PA), Congressman Murphy (R-NC), Senator Blumenthal
(D-CT) and Senator Peters (D-MI) to bring this legislation into law. It provides for the first time the opportunity for victims to seek justice for the unlawful exposure to contaminated water while on the military base. From 1953 to 1987, water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including known carcinogens at up to 280 times the standard safety level. Four core chemicals and 70 secondary chemicals were identified in the water including: trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC), and benzene. Exposure to these toxins through drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing water caused a variety of health complications, including a variety of cancer diagnoses, Parkinson’s disease, stillbirths, infertility, miscarriages and more. Due to an obscure North Carolina law that implements a strict 10-year statute of repose, thousands of impacted individuals were previously legally prohibited to file claims. North Carolina is the only state where such a statute exists and, despite recent amending for future cases, it does not apply retroactively and subsequently does nothing for Camp Lejeune victims seeking to file a claim outside the 10-year window. Thanks to Bell’s leadership and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, anyone who lived or worked at the base between 1952 and 1987 for at least 30 days and who was exposed to its contaminated water is able to file a claim against the U.S. government. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act prohibits the U.S. government from asserting specific immunity from litigation in response to any potential lawsuit. A native of Sumter, Bell lives in Georgetown with his wife, Dawn, and two young children, Jeb and Middleton. He has three grown daughters, Gigi Bell Hammond of Atlanta, Virginia Bell Flynn of Dallas, also an attorney, and Caroline Bell Stowe of Baltimore. Ed volunteers through Duncan United Methodist Church, Helping Hands and Habitat for Humanity and has sponsored numerous programs in area hospitals, schools and youth organizations. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Georgetown, SC, is on the Board of Directors of the Mission Society, Atlanta and former board member of Richmont University, Atlanta.