Representing Employers and Employees for More than 20 Years
SANDRA B. REISS “Sandy” is a 1993 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. She spent the first year after graduation, clerking for the Honorable Judge Robert Propst of the Northern District of Alabama. The next seven years of her career, she worked as an Associate at the law firm of Gordon, Silberman, Wiggins and Childs developing case law under the newly-enacted Americans with Disabilities Act. During that time, she represented some of the first plaintiffs alleging discrimination on the basis of HIV, and she served as second-chair on a landmark case before the United State Supreme Court regarding state employees with disabilities.
For the next nine years of years of her career, Ms. Reiss moved to the other side of the aisle and represented employers. Ms. Reiss was both an Associate and Shareholder at the Birmingham office of the national employment law boutique firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart where she represented international, national and local clients on all manner of employment issues, including collective actions and Reductions-in Force.
The Reiss Firm LLC
December 2013 – Present
P. O. Box 660121, Vestavia Alabama 35226
email@example.com; www.reissfirm.com; 205-637-1388
John D. Saxon P.C.
May 2011 – November 2013
2119 3rd Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Ogletree Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
September 2001 – November 2010
Gordon, Silberman, Wiggins and Childs
September 1994 – July 2001
Federal Law Clerk for the Honorable Judge Robert Propst
United States District Court for Northern Alabama
August 1993 – September 1994
Emory University School of Law
J.D., Law 1990 – 1993
Awarded the Outstanding Woman Law Graduate of the 1993 Class, Served as an Editor on the International Law Review, Received the Dean's Public Service Award and the Am Jur Award for Constitutional Law and the Jack Boozer Internship Award
M.H.S., Masters, Hispanic Studies 1986 – 1988
Spent the summer quarter of 1987 in Cordoba, Argentina, on an independent study, living with the family of the exchange student who attended my high school; While in Graduate School, I taught Auburn undergraduates Spanish I and II in lieu of tuition and as part of my studies.
B.A. magna cum laude Majors: Political Science, Spanish; Minor, History - Concentration Latin America 1982 – 1986
GPA: 3.75/4.00 Phi Kappa Phi, Graduate Honor; University of Madrid, Auburn Study Abroad Program; Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honorary); Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary) President, Auburn Chapter Amnesty International
Honors & Awards
**AV Rated Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell;
Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum 2007
Co-Chair of the Special Projects Committee
*B-Metro's Top Women Lawyers 2015;
*Life Member, National Registry of Who’s Who, published 2000 ed.;
*Outstanding Woman Law Graduate, Emory University 1993;
*Dean’s Public Service Award;
*Founders’ Award for Excellence in Legal Research;
*American Jurisprudence Award, Constitutional Law;
*Jack Boozer Internship Award;
University of Alabama Board of Trustees v. Garrett, et. al.
The United States Supreme Court, 121 S.Ct. 955 (2001)
Served as second chair for this and a companion case from their inception through argument at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding whether state employees with disabilities could sue state entities. Assisted with all appellate briefs and over 10 amicus briefs including one from former President George H.W. Bush. Responded to the majority of media inquiries including NPR and ABC News.
Ability Plus, Inc. v. City of Huntsville
Case No. 5:14-cv-01476-AKK (2015)
Sued the City of Huntsville pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and the Fair Housing Act due to multiple issuance of zoning citations in possible violations of the law. The City of Huntsville settled the case for $70,000 dollars.
John Doe v. Fred’s Stores of Tennessee,
N.D. Alabama, Judge Lynwood Smith
One for the first trials regarding a person with HIV arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Case resolved during trial.
Carraway Methodist Health Systems and Carraway Management Foundation, Inc., Appellant vs. William D. Wise,
Supreme Court of Alabama, Case No: 1041483, November 30, 2007
Presented an argument before the Alabama Supreme Court on the issue of allowing testimony on mental distress damages for breach of employment contract and the issues of first impression regarding the Alabama Non-Profit Corporation Act. The Court decided to overturn the 2 million dollar verdict.
Tammy M. Stevens, et al. vs. SimplexGrinnell, LLP ,
190 Fed. Appx. 768, *; 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 17345, ** (Ct. App., 11th Circuit) (2006)
**Numerous bench and jury trials with defense verdicts in cases alleging retaliatory discharge (clients Linden Lumber, Stallman College, Tyco Inc.) and all types of discrimination cases (clients represented include C.H. Robinson, G.E., Citibank, Alabama Telco, Rock-Tenn, Publix, etc.)
President, Board of Directors
Legal Aid Society of Birmingham 2003 – 2005
Served on the Board of Directors for Legal Aid for three years, the last serving as the President. We instituted a lot of changes for the organization, including an evaluation system.
January 2014 – Present
Currently serve on the Governance Committee as well as the Board, working on amending the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. Also serve as employment counsel for Pathways.
Laps for CF
Served on the Board for three years, for this wonderful organization that raises funds for Children's Hospital including laptops for patients, new health technology and additional staff for this unit, as well as people in need with children with the illness. Now, Children's Hospital and UAB are one of the leaders in caring for children and adults with Cystic Fibrosis.
Birmingham Bar Association
Member, Bulletin Committee 2014-15; Chair, CLE Committee (2013); Grievance Committee (2006-2008), Historian, Women's Section (2012, 2013), Chairperson Impact Committee (2002)
The Women's Network
September 2012 to present
Vestavia Chamber of Commerce
December 2014 to present
“Bullying in the Workplace: Business as Usual or Bad Business”
Birmingham Bar Association Journal, Winter 2016, Vol. 37, N0.1
“Transitioning to the Transgender Workplace, What Lawyers and Their Client Need to Know
A comprehensive summary of the history, terms, legislature, status of federal law and pointers for employers
“Four Valuable Reasons Why Your Workplace Needs An Employee Handbook”
Birmingham Bar Bulletin, Birmingham Bar Association
This article discusses four important, many times, overlooked or unknown reasons employers need an Employee Handbook, including the fact that the law may punish your business if certain policies are not published to employees.
“New and E-X-P-A-N-D-E-D Americans with Disabilities Act” Alabama Lawyer (January 2009)
Travel to all continents, total foodie, and always reading, cooking, history nut
© 2015 The Reiss Firm
P.O. Box 660121
Birmingham, AL. 35226