Finding the Best Attorney for Your Case

Local Attorneys
vs. CEDS Network Attorneys
Example of Screening Attorneys for the Best
Helping Inexperienced Attorneys Excel

Smart Legal Action
The CEDS Approach to Winning 90% of the Time

Raising Funds for Legal Defense

CEDS Good Attorneys Network By State

CEDS Clients

Some of the Issues We Can Help You Win
(Anywhere in the USA)

Air Pollution & Sprawl


Aquatic Resource Protection


Convenience Stores, Gas & Service Stations


Environmental Justice

Environmental Site Design

Equitable Solutions

ESP: Exposed Soil = Pollution

Fire & Rural Growth


Golf Course Preservation

Golf Courses & Water Quality

Growth Management & Land Use Plans

Historic Resource Threats

Transfer Stations, Incinerators, Recycling, Composting, Sewage Sludge & Other Waste Facilities

Land Preservation

Light Trespass

Making Pollution Laws Work




Politically Oriented Advocacy

Property Value

Schools & Growth

Smart Legal Strategies

Special Exceptions & Conditional Uses

Strategy Analysis
For Protecting Your Neighborhood & Environment


Transmission Lines

Vehicle Repair Facilities

Watershed Audit

Zoning & Rezoning


twitterlinked inlinked in

CEDS logo


Land Use, Environmental & Zoning Attorneys


If you think you need a good lawyer to protect your home from a proposed development project or some other threat, then you've come to the right place.

First of all, far too many people rush out to hire a lawyer before they know whether they really need one or what expertise the attorney should have. We can help you avoid both very expensive mistakes. Just call our Citizens Hotline at 410-654-3021 or e-mail us at to discuss of your case.

CEDS is designed to serve as a bridge between nonprofits and for-profits.  In other words, we support those who need more help then nonprofits can provide.  We can help you determine the quickest, least expensive strategy for resolving your development-related concerns.

Finding the Best Attorney for Your Case

When you call our Citizens Hotline we'll first review the facts of your case.  We can then help you determine where the project stands in the permitting process. With this information we can advise you if the time has come to hire a lawyer.  If it has then we can link you up with one of the 135 attorneys in our nationwide network.  All of these attorneys have a good reputation for helping citizens win zoning, land use, and environmental cases.  Beginning with Smart Legal Action, we can do much more then just find you a good lawyer.

Local Attorneys vs. CEDS Network Attorneys

If you wish we can also help you find a good local attorney.  In fact, our preference is generally to engage local counsel.  With more then three decades of success in winning hundreds of cases throughout the nation, we're very efficient at screening attorneys to find the best for our clients.  Following is an example of what we can do that few others can and why citizens are much better off with CEDS on their side.

Example of Screening Attorneys for the Best

Hiring an attorney is among the most critical decisions to success.  Far too many citizens hire the first lawyer who will take their case, which can be a fatal mistake.  Instead, CEDS quickly researches the law relevant to your case then drafts questions we use to interview prospective attorneys.  Through these interviews we separate the truly good attorneys from those who merely sound good.  An example of these questions can be viewed by clicking the following title: CEDS Special Exception Interview

This example focuses on our home state, Maryland, though we've drafted similar interviews for many other states.  Of the 34,000 attorneys practicing in our home state, only a fraction of 1% could give a good answer to all seven interview questions.  Finding these two- or three-dozen attorneys is something CEDS does very well.

Helping Inexperienced Attorneys Excel

Frequently the most experienced attorneys will not represent citizens opposed to a development venture or some other harmful project.  Why?  Because they make their living by representing development interests, which is far more lucrative when compared to citizen clients.

But a lack of experience is not necessarily an insurmountable problem.  Through our unique Smart Legal Action we can arm an inexperienced lawyer with much of the same knowledge a veteran would bring into a hearing room.  When combined with CEDS' Politically Oriented Advocacy, Smart Legal Action allows 90% of our clients to win their cases.  In comparison, citizens who hire just any  lawyer win 7% of the time.

Back To The Top

Smart Legal Action

CEDS has developed an approach to winning land use, zoning and environmental cases seldom employed on behalf of citizens.  This approach, which we call Smart Legal Action, dramatically increases the likelihood of victory, particularly when combined with the CEDS Politically Oriented Advocacy

The amazing thing is that few of the hundreds of attorneys we've worked with throughout the nation follow anything remotely resembling Smart Legal Action, at least on behalf of citizen clients.  We believe this is because funds are so limited in most citizen cases that even the best attorneys just can't get to these actions.  However, CEDS has become so efficient at carrying out these Smart Legal Actions that we now apply them to all our cases.  Following are the components of this highly-effective approach.

Permits & Approvals: The first task is to quickly identify all permits and other approvals the applicant must obtain before the project can proceed.  The total number is usually about a dozen which can include: rezoning approval, a special exception permit, a conditional use permit, a wetland permit, a grading permit, a highway access permit, a discharge permit, variances, waivers, etc.  CEDS then determines the status of each permit and approval so our clients do not miss a critical opportunity to influence decision-making or to appeal an unfavorable decision.

Agency Negotiations: CEDS will then speak with the staff handling each permit-approval.  The purpose is to explore opportunities to resolve our clients concerns by adding conditions to a permit-approval or to prompt the agency to deny.

Decision-Making History:  CEDS will review actual decisions rendered by the body which must approve the issuance of each permit or approval.  This body may be a planning commission, a hearing officer, a board of appeals, or an agency.  The purpose of the review is to determine if the body has ever made the decision our clients are seeking with regard to a similar project.  If it has then this intelligence allows us to refine our client's case so a favorable decision becomes far more likely.  If the body has never acted favorably then we usually move on to the next permit-approval.  We also look at how favorable decisions have held up on appeal.

Attorney Interviews:  It is only after completing the preceding research that we'll know what type of attorney our clients need.  By type of attorney I'm referring not only to zoning, land use, environmental, eminent domain, and other specialties but also whether they have a good track record before the decision-making body and the appellate courts.  We always interview at least three attorneys.  We'll draft a set of questions designed to probe the depth of the attorney's experience and their tract record.  An example of these questions can be view by clicking the following text: Special Exception Example.

Sometimes we need to gain a more thorough understanding of a case to identify the quickest, least expensive way of resolving our client's concerns. When this situation arises we recommend a CEDS Initial Strategy Analysis.  For as little as a few hundred dollars we can research the facts in your case, look at the applicable laws, and talk with regulatory officials to see if we can resolve your concerns without going to the expense of engaging a lawyer. Our clients presently are winning 90% of their cases and more than half of these victories are achieved without legal action.

Back To The Top


Funds are usually the factor which most limits the strength of citizen cases.  Raising money is something else CEDS does very well.  In fact, our signature fund-raiser:

For further detail visit our Fundraising webpage or contact us at 410-654-3021 or

Back To The Top

CEDS Clients: A Partial Listing

Following are some of the many citizen groups, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies we've helped across the nation:

 hundreds of other groups and individual citizens.

Back To The Top

CEDS Good Attorneys Network By State

CEDS has established a nationwide network of more then a hundred attorneys who specialize in helping citizens win land use, zoning and environmental issues.  Following is breakdown of the number of attorneys by state.  For a referral to an attorney in your state or to suggest someone we should add, contact CEDS at 410-654-3021 or

State Land Use, Zoning & Environmental Attorneys
Alabama 3
California 6
Colorado 3
Connecticut 5
Delaware 2
District of Columbia 5
Florida 9
Georgia 3
Illinois 5
Kansas 1
Kentucky 1
Maine 2
Maryland 17
Massachusetts 1
New Hampshire 6
New Jersey 4
New Mexico  
New York 3
North Carolina 6
North Dakota  
Oklahoma 2
Oregon 2
Pennsylvania 17
Rhode Island  
South Carolina 1
South Dakota  
Tennessee 2
Texas 4
Vermont 3
Virginia 5
Washington 10
West Virginia  
Wisconsin 1



Back To The Top

drupal hit counter

HomePublicationsSuccessesAbout UsContact Us