First Name *


Last Name *




Title *


Affiliation *

Thompson & Horton LLP

Location *

Houston, TX

Handle *




Chris works tirelessly for his school clients in special education and general school law matters. His wealth of experience as a former teacher and school administrator and his tremendous passion has resulted in significant outcomes for his clients for nearly 30 years, in the courtroom as well as the state and federal legislatures.

Chris is a founding partner of Thompson & Horton and has practiced law since 1991. He represents school districts primarily in special education law matters. Chris has a robust practice representing school districts at the state and federal level on policy and legislative matters.

Chris brings years of experience, as both a lawyer and a practitioner, and a practical no-nonsense approach to advising special education directors on matters involving the IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA and in helping them defend decisions they make concerning their students. Chris counsels school districts on matters involving IEPs, evaluations, and all areas involved in providing special education students with a free appropriate public education.

Chris has extensive experience advising school districts and public charter schools in offering proactive problem solving solutions to special education disputes. When litigation becomes necessary, he has steadfastly represented school districts, from the administrative hearing level to the United States Supreme Court. Chris has represented school districts in many high-profile cases in the area of special education, including Cypress-Fairbanks Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Michael F., 118 F.3d 245 (5th Cir. 1997) to C.G. ex rel. Keith G. v. Waller Indep. Sch. Dist., 697 F. App’x 816 (5th Cir.2017). In Cypress-Fairbanks, the Fifth Circuit established the 4-part test for FAPE used by all courts and hearing officers in the Fifth Circuit. In Waller, twenty years later, the Fifth Circuit re-affirmed the test’s validity following the Supreme court decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S. Ct. 988 (2017).

Chris speaks frequently at state and national conferences and has held leadership positions with several national organizations including serving as President of the Education Law Association (ELA) in 2008, a current board member of the National School Boards Association’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) and member of the Association of School Business Official’s Legislative Advisory Board (ASBO).


  • J.D., University of Houston Law Center, 1991
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin, 1983
  • B.S., Vanderbilt University, 1975

Licensing & Court Admissions

  • Licensed in the state of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Memberships & Recognitions

  • Education Law Association (ELA), President, 2008
  • National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys – Board of Directors
  • Association of School Business Officials International – Legislative Advisory Board
  • Texas Association of School Boards Council of School Attorneys
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Houston Law Center and School of Education, Houston, Texas 1998-2009
  • Foundation for Pursuit, Board of Trustees, 1996-present
  • Center for Pursuit, Inc., Board of Governors, 1995-present
  • Houston Bar Association, Legal Lines Committee, 1992-1995
  • Houston Bar Association, IDEA Committee, 1992-1996
  • Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County Advisory Council, Chair, 1990-1991; Vice-Chair, 1984-1990
  • Houston Independent School District Special Education, Advisory Board, 1982-1991
  • Region IV Education Service Center Advisory Board, 1984-1989
  • Wisconsin Association on Mental Deficiency, Vice-President, Education Division, 1980-1982

Representative Speeches & Presentations

Chris speaks frequently at the local, state and national level. Some of his recent speeches include:

  • TCASE “Great Ideas” Conference, “Private Duty Nurses: How Should a District Respond?”
  • Council of School Attorneys, Webinar, “Placement, Location, and Stay Put: Working through the Legal Labyrinth When the ‘Where’ Is At Issue.”
  • Annual Special Education Directors’ Conference, Illinois State Board of Education, Springfield, Illinois, “Hot Topics in Special Education Law 2017.”
  • 38th Annual LRP National Institute on Legal Issues of Educating Individuals with Disabilities, “Legislative Issues at the Federal Level”.
  • Special Education and the Law; Pacific Northwest Institute, Portland, Oregon, “School Health Services: A Complex Related Service.”
  • Tri-State Special Education Conference – Omaha, “Non-Traditional Families – Who Are They and What Rights Do They Have Under the IDEA?”