Scott Sloss

The Project

Scott (he/him/his) will serve those who served by providing direct representation and access to legal services for veterans and their families.

He will serve the more than 10,000 veterans in the Tuscaloosa County area, where the veteran homeless rate is around 10% and the unemployment rate is more than double the state average. Veterans face many legal issues including evictions, foreclosures, family law, consumer debt, discharge upgrades, and VA disability appeals claims. 

Over the course of 20 years of service in the Army, Scott served as an enlisted Infantryman and an Engineer Officer. He is guided by his faith and his passion to serve others. Scott has learned firsthand the challenges that face our Veteran community and wants to be the voice that helps them share their story. 

Fellowship Plans

Scott will engage the veteran community by attending veteran service organization meetings, local events, and hosting legal clinics in the community. He will provide direct representation to veterans in civil matters and create a network for tailored referrals. Scott will work together with the Tuscaloosa County Veteran’s Court to provide direct representation to those needing assistance in civil matters. He will also apply for grants and work with the University of Alabama, its alumni, and other organizations to secure the resources to extend this clinic beyond his Equal Justice Works Fellowship.

Media

A Veteran’s Perspective: 5 Things to Know When Working with Veteran Clients

Military Veteran and Alabama Law Graduate Earns Equal Justice Works Fellowship

The Project

Jilisa protected the rights of children with disabilities in Alabama’s Black Belt through individual and systemic advocacy with juvenile courts, the state’s Medicaid system, and local school systems.

Alabama’s Black Belt counties are part of a larger, national Black Belt region that stretches from Texas to Virginia. This region derives its name from the rich soil for which it is known. Although it has a history of plantation use, the region has also been the site of significant advances in the struggle for civil rights. Issues affecting the region include declining populations, a primarily agricultural landscape with low-density settlement, high unemployment, and significant lack of access to education and medical care. The Black Belt Disability Justice Project (BBDJP), a project created by Alabama Disability Advocacy Program (ADAP), aimed to protect the rights of children with disabilities in Alabama’s rural Black Belt through individual and systemic advocacy with juvenile courts, the state’s Medicaid system, and local school systems.

Jilisa, an Alabama native, is the University of Alabama’s first joint JD/Master of Social Work graduate. She drew from her work in civil rights litigation, mental health treatment, criminal justice reform, and community engagement to implement and execute this project. Jilisa previously worked with children who have severe emotional disorders and was a staff supervisor at an inpatient treatment facility for children with severe emotional disorders.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship period, Jilisa:

  • Successfully garnished the support of district court judges in the Black Belt Disability Justice Project in their courts, including being appointed as guardian ad litem for children with disabilities and presenting training for defense attorneys, guardians ad litem, and juvenile probation officers about court advocacy for children with disabilities involved in the school to prison pipeline
  • Outreached to dozens of community organizations, stakeholders, agencies, public figures, and parent groups
    Provided technical assistance to youth with disabilities and their families to secure appropriate academic and functional supports in schools
  • Monitored several residential treatment facilities in order to gather existing information pertaining to abuse, neglect, or other rights violations
  • Assisted in addressing issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic relating to children with disabilities in schools, in detention and therapeutic facilities, and in the court system

Next Steps

Jilisa has been selected as a State Policy Fellow through the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. She will be working at Alabama Arise, a statewide, member-led organization advancing public policies to improve the lives of Alabamians who are marginalized by poverty and racial injustice. She will be working on state budget and tax policy (economic policy), including in the area of education funding.

Securing Resources for Children Living with Disabilities

The Project

 

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

The Project

In collaboration with the Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People, this project will eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion practices used against school children with disabilities. We will train school staff, conduct investigations, issue public reports, and educate policy makers so that legislative change can be made accordingly.

The Inspiration

The Project

The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project provides pro bono legal services to people of limited means in Mississippi who would not otherwise have access to a lawyer through referrals to volunteer attorneys.

The Inspiration

The Inspiration