Stephen Chance has been practicing law since 1995, but his love of the law began long before then. Stephen was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia where his father and grandfather both enjoyed successful legal careers. After graduating from the Academy of Richmond County in 1985, Stephen attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Stephen then returned to Augusta to work in his father’s law firm in preparation for becoming a third-generation trial lawyer. He then moved to Atlanta and attended Georgia State University from 1990-1995 where her earned a Master of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude. During that time Stephen also worked as a law clerk for two of the preeminent law firms in Atlanta – one a plaintiff’s firm and the other a defense firm- where he learned the technical skills necessary to succeed in highly complex areas of law including medical malpractice, trucking accidents, fires and explosions, industrial catastrophes, and products liability.
Upon passing the bar, Stephen began his career as a lawyer primarily defending medical professionals and hospitals in medical malpractice cases. Just two weeks later, Stephen’s father died after a battle with lung cancer that never took away his dignity, sense of humor, or love for the law. Stephen stepped into his father’s solo practice and resolved the remainder of the pending cases – some of which were tried to successful verdicts.
The next ten years were full of joyful milestones: Stephen married Erin Reynolds, also from Augusta, in 1998. Madison, Patrick, and Anna soon joined the family in 2001, 2003, and 2005.
In 1999, Stephen left his insurance defense practice to join Joe Watkins, Lance Lourie, and Rob Roll at Watkins, Lourie & Roll, LLP, all of whom had also worked in the prior defense firm. Even during his career as a medical malpractice defense lawyer Stephen handled cases on behalf of families devastated by tragedy when he could. Since 1999, Stephen has dedicated his professional time to helping those most in need. His empathetic nature that emerged at the young age of 27 through the premature death of his father would only grow.
In 2006, Stephen and Erin’s three-year old son, Patrick, was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. Patrick passed away after a grueling six-year battle on January 9, 2012, his ninth birthday. Remarkably, in addition to meeting the duties required by a thriving law practice, a young family, and a cancer fight, Stephen and Erin founded Press On, a field of interest fund with the mission to identify and support feasible and groundbreaking alternative therapies for childhood cancers and to invest in the science and infrastructure needed to cure childhood cancer within our lifetime. This effort earned the recognition of the Georgia Trial Lawyer Association’s Executive Committee resulting in Stephen and Erin being awarded GTLA’s Community Service Award in 2008.
Stephen went on to serve on GTLA’s Executive Committee as one of GTLA’s delegates to the American Association of Justice’s Board of Governors. Stephen and Erin were members of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2015. Stephen has also served on non-profit boards leading committees focused on governance, legal affairs, and human resources.
During the summer of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, tragedy struck again. Stephen’s mother, who had worked at Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance for over a decade, suffered a series of debilitating strokes that required placement in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation and long-term care. This experience, much like the loss of his father in 1995 and the loss of his son in 2012, simply made Stephen a better, more passionate advocate for his clients - this time for families seeking justice for loved ones injured or killed by neglect and abuse in southeastern nursing homes. When tragedy strikes a family, whether through the loss of a spouse, child, parent, or through the devastating consequences of spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation, or life-threatening burns, Stephen takes the responsibility of protecting his clients’ financial futures very seriously and, through it all, personally.
Stephen’s legal ability and ethical standards have been recognized by the nation’s most authoritative attorney rating services. Stephen has enjoyed Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent Peer Rating every year since 1999 – the first year he was eligible for rating. Stephen is also listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and has received the Judicial Edition AV Preeminent Rating. Stephen was listed by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2005 and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer every year since 2009. Stephen also enjoys a Superb 9.7 rating by Avvo.
Stephen’s primary place of practice is the State of Georgia, but Stephen is also licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Tennessee.
In his recreational time, Stephen enjoys golf, fly fishing, boating, diving, and the rarest beauty of the western North Carolina mountains.