You are not required to have one, but there are many reasons why you may want to hire an attorney, and no downside to having one.
Learn why you should not delay in hiring an attorney.
The eminent domain process means that the government's right to take land for public use comes in conflict with your rights to your property. When the law has to balance conflicting rights, there is usually a complex process involved. You already know that the government has lawyers experienced in eminent domain law to look after their interests. If you do not, you are at a serious disadvantage.
The internet will tell you have a right to "just compensation" for your property. But how do you know what is fair? What is "just compensation"? Do you have the right to refuse the government's offer? Can you challenge the taking of your property? An experienced North Carolina eminent domain attorney can help you understand your rights, letting you know when it makes sense to push back against the government's demands.
Eminent domain attorneys like The Odom Firm accept eminent domain cases on a contingency fee. That means that unless we get you a higher payment than what the government initially offered, we do not take an attorney fee from you. We do this so that you can pursue your rights without fear that getting the legal help you need will cost you more in the long run than simply accepting the government's offer.
Because of The Odom Firm's fee structure, and because the government has attorneys to protect their interests, there is no reason for you not to hire your own attorney as early in the process as possible, certainly before you reach any sort of agreement with the government.