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.
Experience, specialization and demonstrable results are the key factors to look for in an eminent domain attorney. 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?