By: Kristopher A. Carter, VLP Paralegal, B.A. in History/Business, University of Arizona
Every month, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc.’s (“SALA”) Volunteer Lawyers Program (“VLP”) recognizes a legal professional for their legal volunteerism. The award is a distinct honor. Out of the more than 400 attorneys and paralegals on panel who are willing to volunteer their time, twelve are recognized annually for their dedication to access to justice.
Attorney Eric Slocum Sparks is the June 2022 VLP/SALA Outstanding Volunteer of the Month Award Recipient.
An Indiana native, Mr. Sparks attended John Marshall Law School in Chicago, now known as University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. He graduated eighth in his class and served as class Vice President in 1972. Since coming to Tucson in 1987, Mr. Sparks became a partner in one law firm and has had his own law firm since 1994. Since the 1980s, he has represented thousands of clients and handled issues in many core industries including building and construction, contracting, real estate, ranching, farming, restaurants and food industry, professional services/consulting, retail, manufacturing, and many more. While he has represented several large, multinational companies and high-wealth individuals, it is the small business owner or entrepreneur — and the families — who he takes special pride in representing. Attorney Sparks stands out for his longstanding commitment to increasing access to justice in the area of bankruptcy law.
Attorney Sparks has offered this invaluable wealth of experience gained in diverse corporate and private endeavors to clients through the Volunteer Lawyers Program since as far back as 2003. Mr. Sparks has advised almost 60 clients in numerous clinics stretching back as far as 2003. Notably, Attorney Sparks has continued to serve clients in VLP without missing a beat throughout the entire pandemic of 2020-2022. Attorney Sparks has even taken on over 15 limited or full scope direct representation cases for VLP clients in addition to advising clients in clinics.
Mr. Sparks’ specialized area of law can be far more complex than appears on the surface. The issues are not always obvious or simple. Assessing whether a client should file bankruptcy and when is critical when a client’s assets and financial future are at stake. Mr. Sparks offers VLP clients a wealth of experience gained in diverse corporate and private practice roles.
When asked about his real-life super hero, Attorney Sparks pointed to a picture of himself and Chuck Yeager. Brigadier General Charles E. Yeager was a United States Air Force officer and test pilot who was the first to exceed the speed of sound in level flight. Mr. Sparks explained that he admires his achievements and also knows him personally.
Attorneys are gifted. What they choose to do with these gifts defines them. Attorney Sparks has chosen to use his gifts to help people in need. His volunteerism has set an example and transformed the lives of so many individuals who may not have had the opportunity to speak to an attorney otherwise.
His many years of extraordinary contributions to the community and expertise in protecting the economically underprivileged and underserved have made him an invaluable asset to VLP and our clients. Mr. Sparks was, and still continues to be, an asset to the community through his outstanding service.
Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc.’s Volunteer Lawyers Program is deeply grateful for Attorney Eric Sparks’ volunteerism and dedication to his clients.
For questions or comments about the blog, please contact us at: Connections@sazlegalaid.org