W. Brian McCann, 37 

Attorney and Owner, The McCann Law Firm

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST

Brian McCann spent his days litigating personal injury lawsuits and contract disputes as one of the high-powered lawyers at Hirschler Fleischer. Then he joined the board of the Charterhouse School, an institute for children with special needs, and found a new calling.

Five years later, he’s left the security of life at a large firm to follow that call, opening a private practice in January that allows him to specialize in helping parents make sure their children are getting the care and education to which they’re entitled — and legally guaranteed — at public schools.

“Parents would tell me just how difficult it is to get their kids properly placed,” McCann says. “I decided I wanted to make it my practice, and I couldn’t do that at Hirschler because of the rates they charge — if you can afford that, you’d just send your kid to private school.”

Navigating the world of special education is tough for parents of children with autism, intellectual disabilities and other learning issues, McCann says. He walks parents through the process and uses his knowledge of the law to make sure children get the placements they need to learn. McCann says it’s a specialized area of law that only two other lawyers in the state practice.

“Yeah, I was probably making more money at a big firm helping companies that make money make more money,” McCann says. “But at the end of the day, having a parent say, ‘Brian, thanks — for the first time my kid told me he loves me.’ … That’s pretty cool.”

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