Christopher D. Balch

Top rated state, local & municipal attorney in Atlanta, Georgia

Balch Law Group
Christopher D. Balch
Balch Law Group

Practice Areas: State, local & municipal, Employment litigation; view more

Licensed in Georgia since: 1992

Education: Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004, 2021 - 2023

Balch Law Group

830 Glenwood Ave SE
Suite 510-220
Atlanta, GA 30316 Visit website

Details

As the founder of the Balch Law Group in Atlanta, Georgia, Christopher Dean Balch devotes his practice to helping government officials deal with the legal issues they face as they work to improve the communities they serve. These matters include drafting and codifying ordinances, risk assessment and litigation. He has defended counties, school districts, individuals and businesses in the courtroom. His numerous professional honors include an award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association for an amicus brief he wrote in support of the doctrine of qualified immunity. Before pursuing a legal career, Mr. Balch served his country honorably as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mr. Balch was admitted to the bar in 1992 after earning his Juris Doctor with honors from Mercer University School of Law. He is licensed to practice law before the state courts of Georgia and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Northern Districts of Georgia. Mr. Balch sits on the board of directors of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, is a former chair and vice chair of the Georgia Municipal Association’s City Attorneys Section, and is the current publications chair for the Defense Research Institute’s Governmental Liability Committee.

Before taking on clients of his own, Mr. Balch dedicated himself to learning the skills he would need to be an effective litigator. He accomplished this goal by spending two years clerking for a U.S. District Court judge. During this time, he assisted with more than two dozen jury and nonjury trials. The lessons about integrity and hard work he learned while clerking have been applied to his practice and have helped Mr. Balch to earn the prestigious AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell. This recognition is reserved for attorneys who maintain the very highest standards of professional and ethical behavior.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

State, local & municipal, Employment litigation: defense

Focus areas

State, local & municipal litigation, Employment discrimination, Employment law - employer

  • 90% State, local & municipal
  • 10% Employment litigation: defense

First Admitted: 1992, Georgia

Professional Webpage: https://balchlawgroup.com/about-chris-balch/

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • IMLA Annual Meeting Host Committee Co-Chair (2018-19)
  • GMA Board of Directors (2019-20)
  • GMA City Attorney Section Chair (2019-20)
  • GMA City Attorney Section Vice Chair (2018-19)
  • IMLA Small and Rural Communities Co-Chair (2017-19)
  • IMLA Local Government Fellow
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association, Board of Directors
  • Vice-Chair, City Attorney Section, Georgia Municipal Association, 2018
  • Chair, City Attorney Section, Georgia Municipal Association, 2019
  • Publications Chair for Governmental Liability Committee, Defense Research Institute, 2020
  • Member International Municipal Lawyers Association, Georgia State Chair, Co-Chair of 2019 Annual Meeting Host Committee, Co-Chair of Small and Rural Communities Committee, 2015
Representative Clients:
  • City of Brookhaven, Cobb County, Bulloch County, Carroll County, City of Temple
Educational Background:
  • University of Tennessee, BA, 1985
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Volunteer with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta focusing on Governance and Best Practices for non-profits, 2012
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Designated a Local Government Fellow by the International Municipal Lawyers Association, 2018
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • A discussion of risk management and risk management tools for artists at all stages of their career to protect their work, to protect themselves, and to protect their workspace, Speaker, Legal Issues for Artists: How to make a living while covering your a$$, Society for North American Goldsmiths, Artists, 2019
  • Presentation to the 2018 IMLA Annual Conference on leadership when you do not have a vote. Topics covered include leveraging competence to sway a vote, utilizing your expertise to address policy concerns, and maximizing your credibility in tough situations, Speaker, Leadership from the City Attorney's Chair, International Municipal Lawyer's Association, Local Government, 2018
  • A discussion on office processes and workflow for local government lawyers and leveraging technology to make work-life more efficient, Speaker, Taming the Hydra: Office management for the local government lawyer, International Municipal Lawyers Association, Local Government Counsel, 2019
  • Paper discusses what to do when an elected official drives off the rails and becomes a distraction to the work of the elected body, Author, Handling the Difficult Elected Official: A primer for local government counsel, Municipal Lawyer, Local Government Counsel And Local Government Elected Officials, 2019
  • A discussion of how to control the pace and flow of a public meeting, or your Facebook page, without getting sued for allegedly violating the First Amendment rights of citizens and speakers, Speaker, First Amendment and Local Government Social Media: A primer for the local official, South Dakota Municipal League, Local Government Officials, 2019
  • Presentation of the risk of widespread deployment of "small cell" wireless facilities and the proliferation of such devices in cities and towns, Speaker, Advanced Topics for Local Government Regulation of Small Cell Wireless Deployment, NBI, Local Government Lawyers, 2019
  • Seminar presentation for the Kansas League of Municipalities City Attorney Section on dealing with problem elected officials, Speaker, Problem Elected Officials, Kansas League of Municipalities, Local Government Lawyers And Local Elected Officials, 2020
  • A discussion and exploration of the risks, benefits, and liabilities of retaining outside counsel to serve your local government client, including recommendations and requests for counsel's reporting and updates. The article also discusses the local government client's perspective on outside counsel, Author, The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly: Hiring and supervising outside council for Local Government Lawyers, Municipal Lawyer (Jan/Feb), Local Government Lawyers, 2018
  • Paper discusses the challenges local officials and their lawyers face in responding to a global pandemic, especially in the United States where the power of government is restricted by the Constitution. There is a discussion of the 1st and 4th amendment restrictions on government action and the latitude government has in a crisis, Author, COVID-19 and the Constitution: Where is the ability of local government to respond, Municipal Lawyer, Local Government Lawyers And Local Elected Officials, 2020
Transactions:
  • Negotiated and closed purchase of strategic property acquisition at the intersection of Interstate 85 and North Druid Hills Road on behalf of City of Brookhaven, 2019
  • Negotiated and closed $1 billion dollar borrowing by Children's Hospital of Atlanta with the the Brookhaven Development Authority, 2019
  • Negotiated and closed $39 million tax abatement and PILOT agreement with the Atlanta Hawks to bring their state of the art practice facility combined with an upgraded Emory Sports Medicine Facility to Brookhaven, 2016
Verdicts/Settlements:
  • Successfully validated General Obligation Bonds for construction of Public Safety Building, 2019
  • Negotiated Community Investment Agreement with large regional non-profit to provide for core partnership to improve transportation and infrastructure services in region, 2018
  • Successfully validated against Citizen Challenge revenue bond transaction for the construction of 1.5-mile multi-use path that will eventually connect cities of Duluth, Doraville, Chamblee, Brookhaven, and Atlanta to the Silver Comet Trail to Alabama, 2018
  • Resolved zoning dispute for City of Chamblee over decision by City Council to allow development of a hotel, 2017
  • Resolved zoning dispute between county and developer for large residential development where the developer had sought to hold the County in criminal contempt for violation of the order to reconsider zoning decision, 2019
  • Successful presentation of evidence and witnesses before State Arbitration Panel from the challenge interposed by DeKalb County to a proposed annexation by Brookhaven. Panel returned an award entirely in favor of Brookhaven and ordered that the County foot 87.5% of the costs of the arbitration to Brookhaven's 12.5%, 2020
  • Represented local city in a dispute over the desire of a property owner to build a concrete crushing operation in a residential neighborhood. Trial Court had reversed the denial of the application by the City Council. Court of Appeals agreed with the Council and reversed the Trial Court, 2020
Honors/Awards:
  • Recognition for providing an Amicus Brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Smart v. City of Wichita. Case involved a police-involved shooting in which the remaining defendant officers had been granted qualified immunity. On appeal, various groups had filed amicus briefs challenging the doctrine of qualified immunity and cited scholarly articles questioning the statutory underpinnings of the doctrine. IMLA agreed to file a brief in support of the officers and the doctrine of qualified immunity and I was asked to write it, Amicus Award, International Municipal Lawyers Association, 2020
Industry Groups:
  • Public And Private Employers

Office location for Christopher D. Balch

830 Glenwood Ave SE
Suite 510-220
Atlanta, GA 30316

Phone: 404-202-5934

Selections

4 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2004, 2021 - 2023

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