Recognizing Ben Wilson on His Retirement

On the occasion of his retirement from the firm and the practice of law, all of his friends and colleagues at B&D congratulate Ben Wilson on his outstanding career, notable for his dedication to clients and efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. 

Ben retired from B&D and the practice of law on December 31, 2021. While he is no longer affiliated with B&D, he continues to manage the Diverse Lawyers Network and his service on several Boards, including the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), APCO Worldwide, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company where he serves as lead Director, and PG&E Corporation where he Chairs the Audit Committee. Ben will also continue to teach at the Howard University School of Law.

B&D’s Firmwide Managing Principal, Kathy Szmuszkovicz, commented, “Ben’s leadership on client service and all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion are a continuing source of inspiration to all of us at B&D. Ben, you have our enduring gratitude and very best wishes for every happiness in your retirement.”

Ben remarked, "It has been a privilege to work with talented professionals at B&D, both attorneys and staff. It has been our goal to deliver an uncommon level of service to our clients. I will miss my friends at the firm greatly."

To reach Ben, please email [email protected] or call his mobile phone at +1.202.657.2534. 

If you have a question about B&D’s legal services, please contact Nathan Darling, Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer ([email protected] or +1.202.789.6142). 


Celebrating Ben Wilson's Retirement

On June 28, B&D hosted a memorable in-person and virtual gathering to celebrate Ben's retirement. Friends, colleagues, clients, and mentees – along with members of Ben’s family including his wife of more than 40 years, Merinda, and daughter Rachel – gathered to honor him and recount his passion for helping others, his dedication to excellence in practice, and his leadership in advancing the cause of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession.

Speakers offering tributes to Ben included Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Environmental Law Institute President Emeritus and former EPA General Counsel Scott Fulton, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity President and former ABA President Robert Grey, General Counsel of Shell Recharge Solutions Carita Walker, Deputy General Counsel of LA 2028 Brandon Harrell, B&D Principal Stacey Halliday, Ben’s longtime administrative assistant Mya Taylor, Merinda Wilson, and Rachel Wilson Patterson.

Some highlights of their remarks included:

"We celebrate the career of one of the most outstanding lawyers in America. Ben, you kept us on track with the mission by reminding us that we had a higher calling, a higher purpose in life. And you never asked us to do anything you wouldn't do yourself.” – Robert Grey

"To know Ben Wilson well is to love the man." – Scott Fulton

Ben, you have helped so many people – not only with our cases and our matters, but in our careers and our lives.” – Carita Walker

Thank you for building me up. Thank you for building all of us in this room up. Thank you for being there for us.” – Rachel Wilson Patterson

He's a decent man, who truly cares about the people in his life. He celebrates their successes, he mourns their losses, checks with them to see if they're okay. God has blessed him and he just wants to be a blessing to someone else.” – Merinda Wilson

B&D also announced that it has established the Benjamin F. Wilson/Beveridge & Diamond PC Environmental Law Scholarship Fund at Howard University School of Law (HUSL). The fund, part of the school’s endowment, will provide an annual scholarship that HUSL will award each year to a student who demonstrates an interest in pursuing a career in environmental law.

If you would like to contribute to the Beveridge & Diamond/Benjamin F. Wilson Environmental Law Scholarship Fund, please visit: https://giving.howard.edu/givenow and (1) designate “Other;” then (2) enter “Benjamin F. Wilson Scholarship”.

Pictured from left to right: B&D Principal David Friedland, Dean of HUSL Danielle Holley-Walker, Ben Wilson, B&D Firmwide Managing Principal Kathy Szmuszkovicz

Career Highlights

Recognized by The American Lawyer with its Lifetime Achievement Award in December 2021, Ben hails from Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Ben worked at the law firm of King & Spalding, focusing on litigation and tax matters. He joined the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1979. At the Justice Department, he gained substantial trial expertise in commercial litigation matters, appearing on behalf of the government in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of Claims, and district courts throughout the U.S. While at the Justice Department, Ben received Special Achievement Awards in recognition of his performance in 1981 and 1982.

Before joining B&D, Ben was an associate at Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff, and Hasley in 1983. In 1985, he became a partner in the firm, focusing on civil litigation. Ben joined B&D in 1986.

At B&D, Ben was lead counsel in numerous complex environmental litigation and regulatory matters for major consumer product corporations, retailers, oil and gas companies, municipalities, and developers. He served as the Court-Appointed Monitor for the Duke Energy coal ash spill remediation project and as Deputy Monitor for Emissions & Environmental in the Volkswagen AG emissions proceedings. He previously served as lead counsel at the largest chromium site in the United States. Ben also counseled clients on environmental justice representations and is a recognized leader on diversity and inclusion issues in the legal profession.

Ben represented a number of municipal government agencies on Clean Water Act enforcement, litigation, and project development matters, including the City of New Orleans, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), the Metropolitan Water District of Greater Chicago, the San Antonio Water System, and the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority.

Leadership on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A tireless advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, working with others Ben established the African American General Counsel and Managing Partner Networks in 2012 and founded the Diverse Partners Network in 2008. Ben has been recognized for his leadership by the following organizations and publications:

  • List of the "Most Influential Black Lawyers of the Decade," Lawyers of Color (2021)
  • List of the Most Influential Black Lawyers, Savoy Magazine (2015, 2018)
  • List of the Most Influential Black Corporate Directors, Savoy Magazine (2016, 2017, 2021)
  • The Honorable Annice M. Wagner Pioneer Award, District of Columbia Bar (2020)
  • Hall of Fame Honoree, Washington Bar Association (2020)
  • Cora T. Walker Award, National Bar Association Commercial Law Section (2020)
  • "The Vanguard and the Vision" magazine cover feature, National Law Journal (2020)
  • Presidential Award, National Bar Association (2019)
  • Lead by Example Award, National Association of Women Lawyers (2018)
  • MASKED Award, United Negro College Fund (2018)
  • Sheryl J. Willert Pioneer Diversity Award, Defense Research Institute (2017)
  • Lifetime Achiever, Professional Excellence Awards, National Law Journal (2017)
  • “Celebrating Diversity” magazine cover feature, Washington Lawyer (2017)
  • Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit, Washington Bar Association (2016)
  • Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (2016)
  • Extraordinary Service Award, Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (2016)
  • Spirit of Excellence Award (the Commission’s highest honor), American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession (2014)
  • Dedication to Diversity and Justice Award, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (2013)
  • “Powering Up” magazine cover feature, Diversity & the Bar (2013)
  • “100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in the Nation,” On Being A Black Lawyer (2012)
  • Outstanding Outside Counsel Award, National Bar Association Commercial Law Section (2010)
  • Wiley Branton Award, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (2009)
  • Diversity Award for promoting Diversity in Environmental Law from the Environmental Leadership Program, Mid-Atlantic Network (2009)

(Ben Wilson accepts the Minority Corporate Counsel Association's George B. Vashon Innovator Award in 2018 on behalf of B&D.)

Board Service

Ben is Chair of ELI and serves on the Boards of APCO Worldwide, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) where he currently serves as Secretary, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, and the Board of PG&E Corporation. For the past 30 years, he has been the Chairman of the Environmental, Energy, and Public Utilities Law Section of the National Bar Association. Ben will continue to serve on the Boards of the District of Columbia Bar Foundation and the District of a Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission.

Ben also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College, the Board of Governors of the District of Columbia Bar Association, Co-Chair of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Co-Chair of the ABA's Environmental Justice Committee, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Healthy Babies, Inc., Chairman of the Board of the Dwight A. Mosley Memorial Fund, Chairman of the Advisory Board of WAMU public radio, a member of the board of trustees of the Maryland/DC Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, a member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, a member of the Boards of Funds for the Community’s Future, and a member of the Advisory Board of the National Association for Public Interest Law. From 1990 to 2004, he served as Chairman of the Board of Elections and Ethics of the District of Columbia.

Teaching

Ben serves as an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Law at the Howard University School of Law and co-founded the Howard Energy and Environmental Law Society. He has been a guest lecturer at the law schools of leading universities, including American University, Catholic University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Tulane University, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, and the Washington University in St. Louis. In 2018, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education featured Ben in the “Black Scholars Matter” series, celebrating Black academicians and their work.

News and Publications

Education

  • Dartmouth College (A.B., magna cum laude, 1973)
    • History
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Senior Fellow
    • Rufus Choate Scholar
  • Harvard University (J.D., 1976)