George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1999, cum laude
Princeton University, B.A., 1995, cum laude
- Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a certificate in Environmental Studies
Bar & Court Admissions
- California, 2000
- Maryland, 2005
- Supreme Court of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Maryland
- U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Benjamin S. Wechsler
Benjamin S. Wechsler is a partner in the firm’s Annapolis office who focuses on land use and environmental law. He counsels clients on a wide range of real estate issues, particularly as they relate to the complex county, state, and federal environmental and land use regulations that govern the management, development, and redevelopment of real property in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Ben’s environmental and natural resources practice consists of representing industrial, commercial, and residential real estate developers, agricultural interests, institutional and nonprofit property owners, and renewable energy developers throughout the state of Maryland. He advocates for his clients before the various state and federal agencies that regulate the use and development of real estate, including the Maryland Board of Public Works, Department of Environment, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Maryland Critical Area Commission, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He is intimately familiar with the various regulatory programs designed to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Ben’s land use practice is closely intertwined with his environmental practice. He regularly handles land use matters in the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Southern Maryland, and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He assists clients in securing required land use approvals and defending those approvals through the appeals process.
From time to time, Ben is called on to participate in the legislative process at the local and state levels, and to testify as an expert witness on environmental and land use matters. He also handles judicial proceedings and appeals on matters involving environmental, land use, and natural resources issues.
Ben’s clients are diverse. He represents clients in the commercial, industrial, and residential sectors, including developers and large institutional landowners and lenders in addressing land use and environmental issues. He is often asked to review environmental and land use issues during transactional diligence on behalf of buyers, sellers, and lenders of real property. In addition, he counsels land owners and developers on sustainability projects as diverse as stream restoration, wetlands mitigation projects, large renewable energy installations, and sophisticated land preservation efforts.
Ben generously volunteers his time to various business, legal, and environmental groups. He was appointed by former Governor O’Malley and reappointed by Governor Hogan to the Board of Trustees for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, on which he currently serves as Chairman of the Board. He is the chair of the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Committee. He is an active member in and formerly held a leadership position in the Maryland State Bar Association Environment and Energy Law Section.
Anne Arundel County
- Successful defense before Office of Administrative Hearings of issuance of nontidal wetlands permit by Maryland Department of Environment.
- Successful representation of numerous property owners on tidal and nontidal wetland issues and Critical Area variances.
- Representation of Smithsonian Institution in acquisition of 579-acre waterfront farm, including negotiation of complex conservation easement with Maryland Environmental Trust and Scenic Rivers Land Trust.
- Representation of national non-profit organization with regard to land use, environmental, conservation easement, title, and estate issues relating to acquisition of 300 acre waterfront farm.
- Representation of developer in 400 room hotel in Arundel Mills area relating to land use, storm water, and forest conservation act issues.
- Representation of national retail chain in various land use, special exception, and variance matters.
- Representation of residential, commercial and industrial property owners on wide variety of riparian rights, pier, and Critical Area issues.
- Eastern Shore
- Representation of owners of 100+ acre Kent County waterfront farm regarding critical area, floodplain, zoning, construction, and environmental issues.
- Representation of developer of 2,000 unit PUD on transactional, HOA, administrative, regulatory, and environmental issues.
- Representation of Caroline County property owner in land-use and estate dispute regarding subdivision of 45 acre farm.
- Representation of property owner before Board of Public Works on private versus state wetlands issues.
- Successful defense of marine contractors relating to dredging project and issues relating to dredge spoil disposal.
- Represented developers in federal Fair Housing Act suit against Queen Anne's County Commissioners.
- Representation of municipal client in Federal Court litigation regarding environmental liabilities associated with landfill contamination.
- Representation of regulated public utility in Federal Court land use dispute.
- Representation of several clients in complex construction disputes.
- Representation of clients in defense of "Foreclosure Rescue Scheme" litigation pending in various Federal and Maryland circuit courts.
- Representation of numerous insured clients regarding environmental coverage issues relating to petroleum contamination, drycleaning solvents, and mold.
- Extensive policyholder representation under Commercial General Liability (CGL) , Errors and Omission (E&O), Directors and Officers (D&O), Title, and Environmental insurance products.
- Representation of title insurance carriers in capacity of coverage counsel.
Honors & Distinctions
- Selected as a Maryland Rising Star for 2013 by Super Lawyers
- Selected as a Maryland Rising Star for 2012 by Super Lawyers
- Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich (now merged into DLA Piper), 2000-2004
- LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, 1999-2000
- July 6, 2017
- May 12, 2014
- December 12, 2012
- July 31, 2012
- June 1, 2012Maryland Bar Bulletin
- May 31, 2012What's Up? Annapolis
- December 14, 2011Press Release
- September 21, 2015Maryland Bar Bulletin
- January 27, 2016
- Northern Long-Eared Bat Endangered Species Act Listing Will Have Immediate Consequences for Ongoing Development ProjectsJune 26, 2015
- May 29, 2015
- April 20, 2015
- April 15, 2015
- July 11, 2013
- April 25, 2013
- February 1, 2012
- May 6, 2011
- July 20, 2010
Affiliations & Community Involvement
Chesapeake Bay Trust, Trustee 2012-Present, Treasurer and Member of Executive Committee, 2015
Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, Chairperson, Environmental Committee, 2014-Present
Maryland State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Council, 2011-Present, Secretary/Treasurer, 2015-Present
Leadership Anne Arundel, Flagship Class of 2015
Scenic Rivers Land Trust, Board Member, 2006-2008
Assateague Coastal Trust, Board Member, 2005-2006
Geraldine Dodge Foundation, Project 55 Fellow, 1995-1996