July 2010 we e-mailed Chris Vance as counsel to assist in addressing IDEA violation related to my son's IEP as well as the school's administrations failure to uphold their fuduciary responsibilities related to student safety. I paid an hourly consult as well as left a retainer. Ms. Vance requested that I provide information, I did. After several weeks, I e-mailed for update with no response. I called her office, she had no idea who I was and asked me to refresh her memory. Then asked if I had retained her as counsel. I assumed I had as the check had cleared my account. I requested return of the retainer, as she had not done anything related to our case. She billed $520 for the e-mails she failed to respond to and phone call that she had no idea who I was or my son. It was an expensive lesson.
Posted by Annatte
As a Special Educator, special needs parent, and now 3X Stroke Survivor, knowledge is power. After years of self-advocating for my daughter, who is disabled, Attorney Chris Vance became my cushion. Through her fields of Educational Law, skills, strategy, and added intestinalfortitude she cannot be matched. Chris personally understood frustrations, previously utilized attempts, and my families current needs.
Afterall, the educational battle between myself and the Gwinnett County School System, at that point was over 8 long years. I knew that I was qualified to continue to advocate for Tao but why? Sometimes, my daughter's Individualized Education Plan meetings would last for up to 9 hours. Then we would stop the meeting and a, "to be continued" was scheduled. There I sat for many, many years alone, exhausted, and guarded.
Chris was a "game-changer" for Tao and me. In her words, "you are a Special Educator...in the field, an employee of their system, and you are still experiencing problems, ok." To my suprise that day's, "ok ", meant that I could finally...exhale. Furthermore, having Attorney Chris Vance on board priceless! GCPS, received immediate notice of representation from Chris. Literally, as we continued to discuss the issues, she drafted, edited, and sent it. Looking back, through hindsight, Chris moved things along real fast. Chris personally requested all my daughter's records, picked them up, and reviewed them. She scheduled meetings, placed calls, and even built a relationship with Tao. My child's case was very complex but Chris never wavered. Afterall, I needed some help. If you have a student suffering from a disability in any school system, you can understand but if in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS)...HELL!
I honestly called several other attorneys prior to hiring Attorney Vance. Many were afraid of GCPS, and others just didn't want to deal with them. Two attorneys that I consulted with stated, "GCPS is big and they have tons of money!" Their intention was to convince me that I should just be happy with current services. When I asked them to enlighten me...they put it simple. GCPS is a nasty enemy. They will never be wrong about anything and even if they are they won't admit it. I know that seems pretty harsh but it is daily practice for the GCPS System. As a former, terminated, and parent of children in the GCPS System most of their practices were great. Three of my 5 children were well-educated. The two that fell under the umbrella of Special Education, were definitely left behind. Chris recognized that GCPS System was all of the above mentioned concerns. Chris wasn't afraid, intimidated by system size or worried about how complex the case was. Chris was caring, respectful, eager, and affordable. I was too happy to hire her and somewhat immediately relieved.
I had arrived and finally could pass the baton. Chris shocked me on many occasions for good reasons. My child, where someone actually recognized that she, was an Individual.
An individual, young girl named Tao who had special needs in Gwinnett County. We began to live again as a family and having Attorney Chris Vance represent us, a Blessing! If I had it to do all over again, Chris would have represented us from day one. We will never ever forget her!
Posted by Michelle
Chris is one of the best attorney's I have ever met. She really cares about her clients (kids). My son was told by his school he would never make it in life. I retained Chris at the end of his 9th grade year. I kept her on retainer until he graduated. She attended all his IEP meetings. Handled all the harassment he received from the school. It was so bad my son asked me to home school him. But after I hired Chris school became manageable for him. She gave us hope. My son is now a junior in college working on a criminal justice degree. Chris is awesome.
Posted by a Education client
She is the best Education Attorney in Atlanta. We are so thankful we found her. If you want someone with passion when it comes to children and knowledgeable about special education, she is the one.
We were in Forsyth County.
Posted by a Education client
Chris worked on my son's case for over a year to advocate for an appropriate education for him. While it did seem like an eternity, that is the nature of dealing with public school education. There are alot of hoops to jump through and you have to give the schools a chance to rectify the situation. Chris settled my son's case in July 2010 and he is now making great progress in a private school placement.