THE CALIFORNIA EMINENT DOMAIN HANDBOOK
CHAPTER IV: RETAINING AN ATTORNEY
Why do I need an attorney?
While on some occasions a property or business owner might be able to negotiate what he or she believes to be a fair price without legal representation, the reality is that in most cases, owners will obtain a significantly better overall net result (i.e., dollars in their pocket) when they are represented by competent, knowledgeable counsel. Eminent domain is an unusual area of the law with its own peculiar rules regarding compensation. Most owners - much less attorneys - do not know the full extent of the compensation to which they are entitled. For most people, their real estate or business is their single biggest asset. This is precisely the time you want to make sure you are properly represented, and do not sell yourself short.
But I Don't Want To Be Involved In Litigation And 'You Can't Fight City Hall' Anyway - Can You?
While eminent domain proceedings are court proceedings, they are somewhat different than typical court proceedings, and do not necessarily result in a trial. In eminent domain cases, the action is to acquire title to property and to establish just compensation to the owner. That's it. Unlike ordinary litigation, there are typically no claims of wrongdoing or fault, and the owner generally need not become extensively involved in the litigation with the right counsel. Eminent domain litigation is nothing to be afraid of, and in fact is typically the road to obtaining the maximum net compensation in most owners' pockets. The reality is that the vast majority of eminent domain cases settle through the court process without trial. And you can indeed fight City Hall! Those owners who believe they "can't fight City Hall" are typically the ones that shortchange themselves.
What should I look for when considering an attorney to represent me in my eminent domain action?
Experience, specialization and demonstrable results are the key factors to look for in an eminent domain attorney. Eminent domain is a peculiar area of the law, with very few attorneys having extensive experience. Ideally, you should retain a firm (1) whose practice focuses exclusively on eminent domain matters; (2) whose attorneys have handled hundreds - not just a few - eminent domain cases; (3) whose attorneys have handled both private owner's work and public agency work (this is important to be able to properly evaluate a case from all angles); (4) whose attorneys are willing and eager to work on a contingency fee basis (an attorney unwilling to work on a contingency is likely not comfortable with his or her ability to obtain a successful result); and (5) whose attorneys can provide you with numerous examples of successful results in eminent domain actions. Many attorneys claim to practice eminent domain law. However, only a few do so exclusively and well. Your property or business is likely your most valuable asset. Why trust it to a firm who does not practice exclusively and extensively in eminent domain?
Why should I consider California Eminent Domain Law Group to represent me in my eminent domain action?
Quite simply, California Eminent Domain Law Group fits the bill of the ideal firm in every category discussed above. Our attorneys have successfully handled hundreds of eminent domain matters for both private owners and public agencies. We are the only firm in California willing to put our name behind our specialty; as our name attests, we practice exclusively eminent domain law, and we do it very well. And most importantly, we obtain successful results for our clients. We invite California property and business owners to contact us toll free at 1-866-EM-DOMAIN for a free initial consultation to see how we may be of assistance to you in your eminent domain action.