So you’re thinking about getting legal representation for your eminent domain case. We think that’s a smart move.
But now you must decide which attorney you should hire. You have three options.
1. You can hire a general practice attorney
Maybe he’s the attorney who did your parents’ estate planning, or he helped your brother with a speeding ticket, so you might think of him for your eminent domain issue. But eminent domain is an extremely complex field, and it’s one that some general practice attorneys know very little about. In our experience, if you really want to try to increase the offer for your property, you need to be familiar with government appraisals and what mistakes they are likely to make. You need to know which experts might be necessary to try to prove your land’s true value. And you need to have the experience to oversee those experts in a strategic way. Fact is, general practice attorneys have sometimes referred their eminent domain cases to us.
My clients’ best interests are my priority. That is why when they come to me with an eminent domain issue, I recommend the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm. I don’t know of many other firms with the depth and breadth of eminent domain knowledge that Stan Abrams and Jason Campbell have gained from having been with the NCDOT. I know they’ll represent my clients well. — Attorney Richard A. Gait
2. You can hire an eminent domain attorney
An eminent domain attorney is someone who focuses on cases like yours. They spend every workday thinking about strategies to help prove the increased value of someone’s land. Ideally, they’ve overseen hundreds of condemnation cases and can recognize factors that could affect your property’s value, such as how the proximity of a proposed road may damage the resale value of your home or how it may cut off access to your business. Finally, they likely already have relationships with experts (environmentalists, land planners, engineers, and so forth) who may be needed to prove your land’s “highest and best use.” And they should know how to present their findings in court in a convincing way.
But what if there’s another option?
3. You can hire an eminent domain attorney with previous NCDOT experience
In North Carolina, these attorneys are few and far between, but we have four right here at the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm. Stan Abrams, Jason Campbell, Kevin Mahoney, and Ken Sack know the ins and outs of land condemnation proceedings (like other eminent domain lawyers) but they also know how condemnations work from inside the NCDOT. One was even the primary attorney on the largest case the agency had ever faced at that point in time. And we may be able to use that inside experience to your benefit.
To some the NCDOT is like a black box. To us, it is a goldfish bowl. We know what’s going on under the surface. In many cases, we know who we need to talk to and how to get to decision makers — we know who to bypass because they don’t have the authority, and who to contact to get the information we need. And because we worked on the inside, we handled many types of cases all across the state. — NC Eminent Domain Attorney Jason Campbell
We’ve seen some of the mistakes homeowners (and their lawyers) have made when negotiating with the NCDOT, and we can help you try to avoid doing or saying anything that might hurt your case. We may also have insight about what’s going on behind the scenes.
We’ve reviewed countless appraisals, and might know not only what types of errors an appraisal may potentially have, but we may know who the appraisers are and what their tendencies might be.
“It wasn’t uncommon for just one or two appraisers to work on a large project with 200 properties and tight timelines,” admits Stan. “That’s not usually a recipe in your favor.”
Further, if you have to go to court, since we’ve worked alongside many of the NCDOT attorneys you may face, we may be familiar with some of their strategies and can let you know what to expect.
The NCDOT knows what kind of work we do, our abilities, our knowledge. And they know we know what they know. — NC Eminent Domain Attorney Stan Abrams
This level of familiarity is potentially invaluable when trying to get you the most for your property.