Meier & Barlow
Reason. Respect. Grace
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Leaving My Mark

I found myself driving through the beautiful hills of West Virginia two weeks ago.  Zac Brown blaring, sunroof open, an empty backseat behind me, and a clear mind provided eight hours of inspiration.

“I’ve been thinking about the mark That I’ll be leaving Been looking for a truth I can believe in I got everything I need Let this heart be my guide In love, in music, in life.” – Zac Brown Band, Remedy


Having just celebrated the ten-year anniversary of my law school graduation, I had indeed been looking for the mark that my practice and my career would leave. Funny how life takes you down a bumpy, terrible, pot-hole-rich road, and that road intersects with brand-spanking-new blacktop. As I-40 lead me to a conference on special education law at the College of William & Mary Law School, I reflected on that darn gravel road and planned my trip down the newly paved one.

I grew up wanting to be a teacher, tried my hat at it, loved it, but found myself wanting more. So, I went to law school. I wrote my application essay on bringing people together, facing conflict head-on, and advocating for families from a global perspective. Those concepts guided me to study mediation and advocacy strategies in school and to develop a strong family law presence in my private practice.

Then, I had Jack. 

Sweet, hard-working, insanely crazy, sensory seeking, people gathering, hilariously tiring Jack. And then Jack went to school. Friend yielding, curriculum teaching, routine establishing, leadership housing amazing school. And Jack got an IEP. And boxes and drop-down menus and accommodations and parent rights and a bunch of tiny words on a bunch (and I mean a bunch) of papers. And I figured it out. I read and read and read and read and continued thinking, “I was a teacher. How did I not learn this?” and I read some more.  And then I realized something. I know this stuff. I know special education law. And I like it. And I like helping people.

Wait a minute. I know special education law. 

And I know school. 

And I know Jack. 

And I can learn other children. 

And I know advocacy. 

And I like creative thinking. 

And I love helping people come together to reach agreements. 

And I’m in this practice development phrase of my career…hey, why don’t I learn about special education advocacy and law?

So, I hopped on the AA Highway, cranked up my Zac Brown, and let my heart guide me to a week-long training on special education law. And so, it is with great excitement that I announce that we are ready to open our doors to families needing special education legal services.  

Ashley Barlow