Tom Stenson focuses on systemic efforts to improve and reform services for people with disabilities, especially on projects with the potential to lead to substantial litigation. Tom has defended the rights clients in many major class actions and suits for injunctive relief.
Major projects at Disability Rights Oregon that Tom has participated in include a class action to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a fair chance to find employment in the community; a class action compelling the Oregon Department of Transportation to make Oregon state roads accessible to people with disabilities by fixing 26,000 curb ramps and thousands of pedestrian buttons; multiple projects across systems to ensure that people with disabilities get the in-home care services they need to stay in their homes; and systemic efforts to improve how the criminal justice system treats people with disabilities.
Tom has particular expertise and interest in: developing and maintaining community-based services that ensure people with disabilities can live in their homes; emotional and behavioral services for children in the foster care and educational systems; physical accessibility for people with disabilities in public places; and eliminating the criminalization of emotional and behavioral disabilities.
Prior to joining Disability Rights Oregon in 2015, Tom worked at the ACLU of Alaska as its legal director, focusing on protecting the rights of prisoners with disabilities, the right to medical privacy, and other constitutional rights of Alaskans. Tom began his legal career as a public defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Swarthmore College.