Education Law Attorney Durham, North Carolina

Stacey Gahagan


Stacey Gahagan graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina State University in 1992, with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature and a k-12 teaching license. She studied in Seville, Spain for a year, where she became fluent in Spanish. She was a member of the first class of North Carolina Teaching Fellows. During her teaching career, she taught students Spanish from preschool through the community college level, including teaching English as a Second Language, and was honored as the Teacher of the Year multiple times. In 2000, Stacey founded the Washington Montessori Public Charter School and served as the Head of School - a role that included a myriad of duties including Exceptional Children Director, 504 Coordinator, and Human Resources Director.

Stacey was selected to participate in the Principal Fellows Program, but she opted to pursue a law degree to combine her passion for the law and education. She attended the University of North Carolina School of Law where she served as the Editor in Chief of her law journal, tutored fellow students, and was selected as an Honors Writing Scholar. She graduated with honors and has exclusively practiced education law with an emphasis on special education since 2012.

In 2014, Stacey opened the doors of The Gahagan Law Firm representing disabled students in schools and universities across North Carolina, public school teachers, and families facing issues such as school assignment issues, bullying, and suspension. In 2019, the Gahagan Law Firm combined with Ann Paradis Law to become the largest firm in the state with a focus on representing parents in special education disputes throughout North Carolina. Stacey regularly advocates for students with disabilities to be included with their non-disabled peers. In addition, Stacey also represents educators in employment issues, disabled students facing academic issues in higher education, and representing students in Title IX cases. Stacey is passionate about protecting the civil rights of students and ensuring that students and teachers receive the due process to which they are entitled by law.

Stacey is happily married and the proud mother of five children. She enjoys running, cooking, sewing, and spending time with her family.

In Photo Stacey Gahagan Founding Partner

Education Law Attorney Durham, North Carolina

Ann Paradis


Licensed in Massachusetts in 1991 and then in North Carolina in 1993, Ann has a broad and extensive background providing services including legal services to low income individuals, elderly persons, students, children and their families, and people with disabilities including mental disabilities.  She believes that every person needs to be listened to and understood. 

Ann studied law at Western New England College School of Law in Springfield,  Massachusetts. She is admitted to the state courts in North Carolina and the United States District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina. 

Ann has worked for Legal Service and Legal Aid organizations in Massachusetts and North Carolina.  She has worked in private practice in Johnston County and Wake County. As a member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar Association and the Council of Parent, Attorneys and Advocates, Ann is passionate about protecting people’s rights. 

Ann lives in Apex, North Carolina with her husband and children.

In Photo Ann Paradis Founding Partner

Education Law Attorney Durham, North Carolina

Alice Tolin


Alice Morrison Tolin is a native of Elkin, North Carolina. She graduated from Furman University in 2001 with degrees in English and Political Science. She then went on to graduate from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2004 and began working for Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling in Sampson County, North Carolina. While there, she served as the Guardian ad Litem Attorney Advocate representing abused and neglected children in court in both Sampson and Duplin Counties.

In 2008, she partnered with another Wake Forest Law graduate to start a general practice firm, Tolin & Morrison, PLLC, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she focused primarily on family law. She continued her representation of abused and neglected children in court by serving as the Guardian ad Litem Attorney Advocate for Wilkes County until 2010.

Alice's oldest son has Down syndrome. His entrance into the school setting sparked her interest in special education law as she began advocating for him to receive services. She began taking courses to learn more about special education law and participating in her local Down syndrome advocacy group. She joined Gahagan Paradis in October 2019 to focus primarily on representing parents and children in the special education setting.

Alice resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her three children.

In Photo Alice Tolin Associate

Elizabeth Horton


Elizabeth joined Gahagan Paradis in April 2020.

She graduated from Harvard College in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in Social and Cognitive Neuroscience. Elizabeth was then awarded Harvard University's Augustus Clifford Tower Fellowship and earned her master's degree at L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques ("Sciences Po") in Paris, France. Her studies focused on the improvement of human rights through strengthening local and international law. While pursuing her master's degree, Elizabeth interned at the U.S. State Department and in the UN Security Council with the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. She also presented original research on the use of social media to facilitate collaborative aid efforts at the Humanitarian Innovation Project Conference held at Oxford University.

Elizabeth attended Boston College Law School where she served as a fellow in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program at the Boston Children's Hospital. In 2017, Elizabeth received the National Lawyers' Guild Haywood Burns Fellowship and was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Intern at Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc.

After law school, Elizabeth re-joined Legal Aid of North Carolina as a staff attorney in their Medical Legal Partnership and statewide education project, Advocates for Children's Services. Her legal practice focused on education and child social security benefits cases. Elizabeth is passionate about protecting the rights of children as well as ensuring parents and advocates understand their rights. She has presented at state and national conferences as well as the Elon School of Law and UNC School of Medicine.

Elizabeth enjoys hiking, attending Hurricanes hockey games, listening to local musicians, and traveling with her family.

Meghan Brown


Meghan earned a J.D. from the University of North Carolina and is licensed to practice law in the state. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado with a degree in political science.

Meghan has extensive experience in both the government and nonprofit sectors. Prior to entering law school, she served as policy advisor in the Office of the Governor, grant planner in a state agency, and as the legislative and political director for a nonprofit, among other positions. She is experienced in navigating complex bureaucracies and enjoys working with people from diverse backgrounds.

Meghan is the daughter of a teacher and, like her mother, believes that the entire community benefits when all children are given access to quality public education.

At home, Meghan is an avid hockey fan, an amateur cook, and an animal lover. She spends weekends as a lead volunteer with the SPCA of Wake County. She lives in Durham with her husband and three pets.

Education Law Attorney Durham, North Carolina

Anne Mellon


Anne Mellon grew up in the upper peninsula of Michigan and moved to the triangle 4 years ago. She is currently the paralegal at Gahagan Paradis. Anne completed her Paralegal Degree at Durham Tech and is planning on going back to school to complete her bachelor's degree. Anne is a valuable member of the team.

Anne lives in Raleigh, she enjoys staying active, watching the Detroit Lions, and fosters dogs through Hope Animal Rescue.

In Photo Anne Mellon Paralegal

Samantha Gimbel

Office Manager

Samantha joined Gahagan Paradis in September 2019. She earned her bachelor's degree in Theatre and Elementary Education at Wheelock College in Boston, MA. Prior to coming to Gahagan Paradis, Samantha spent years managing high end restaurants in both the Boston and Triangle areas.

Samantha currently lives in Durham with her husband, daughter, and cat. She enjoys art, theatre, and history and likes to spend her free time visiting museums or watching documentaries.