Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell has a national reputation for expertise in conservation easements and land conservation law. We have more than 40 years’ experience counseling clients regarding conservation easements and other conservation transactions and techniques. We have represented landowners and land trusts in hundreds of conservation easement transactions and we routinely work with landowners who are buying or selling rural recreational properties and other special landscapes. We advise other conservation organizations as well as federal, state, county, municipal wildlife, and open space agencies, and serve as counsel to many national, state, and local land trusts.
Conservation easements are an essential part of the land use lawyer’s toolbox, enabling clients to meet land preservation and open space goals, and to be eligible for tax benefits—including marketable tax credits in some states. We counsel clients on the use of conservation easements in many different situations, including as a component to facilitate multi-party land exchanges and to close real estate transactions with both preservation and development aspects. Owners of land under conservation easement, particularly working ranches, turn to us for assistance in maintaining the preserved lands intact from competing land uses and assertions of conflicting rights, such as oil and gas development and other access issues.
We have been involved in countless conservation easement transactions that have resulted in the protection of hundreds of thousands of acres. Our experience is both broad and deep, including service on the board of directors of the Land Trust Alliance and as counsel to state and local trust coalitions, state and local land trusts, and as founding counsel to the Country’s first producer-based agricultural land trusts.
Our attorneys have experience with conservation easement-related legislation and have authored legislation pertaining to conservation easements and property tax, conservation easements and water rights, and state tax credits. We also represent taxpayers in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities pertaining to conservation easements and assist landowners and conservation easement holders in interpreting amendments and assessing and resolving violations of conservation easements.