Like many in the Lawyer Hall of Fame, Ed Bell hardly requires an introduction, even to non-lawyers. As co-founder, president, and to many the savior of the Charleston School of Law, Bell has converted the school to non-profit status and turned around its fortunes while serving for an annual salary of $1.
The son of a pediatrician, he learned early the importance of caring for everyone. Now his job at Charleston School of Law is helping fulfill “one of life’s dreams to mentor young lawyers and help them understand the highest goal in our profession, which is to endeavor to do things for others that is larger than ourselves,” he said. “Our school motto, ‘Pro bono populi,’ exemplifies this ideal. I am able to interact with the students and share with them the importance of giving back as a major goal in life.”
A well-known litigator who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, Bell is founding and senior managing partner at Bell Legal Group in Georgetown. Selected to the list of Super Lawyers the last seven years, his approach to litigating led him to establish the Arvada Jury Project, which analyzed the impact of trial attorney and jury attitudes.
That said, arguing the law might not be his number one skill. The Sumter native has won cooking competitions, including several in which he was the only non-chef. “If not for being a lawyer, I secretly might have wanted to be a Master Chef on the Food Network,” he says.
Bell, the father of three grown children, one of whom is an attorney, works alongside his wife, Dawn. Together they are raising two young children, which takes most of his non-work hours now and “is a delight beyond words,” he says. They are among the many young people he hopes his legacy will impact.
“I hope that my work on civil rights and public policy initiatives will be beneficial to those affected both now and in the future.”
And in that future, Bell will be in the Hall of Fame.