While growing up, Adam Sparks ’09 never envisioned attending law school. He first imagined the possibility when, as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, he did an internship at a law firm in Washington, D.C. By summer’s end, Sparks was ready to use the law to “shake up public [education] policy,” he says.
“Education is the silver bullet when it comes to long-term economic growth,” adds the Georgia native. “Using law is a critical way to give all children their rightful, fair shot at a good education.”
As he shakes up the world of education as a lawyer, Sparks will also be equipped with a master’s degree in politics and education from Teachers College.
Sparks’ enthusiasm to work in education was further stirred by Susan Sturm, the Law School’s George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility. Sturm is well known for her scholarship on institutional change in areas that include education.
“She reaches beyond the discipline of law and develops connections with other fields,” says Sparks, who did research for Sturm’s Center for Institutional and Social Change during his time at Columbia. Founded two years ago, the Center brings together scholars, practitioners, and students to address structural inequality through institutional transformation.
Before joining Goodwin Procter’s Washington, D.C., office in 2010, Sparks will do a fellowship involving education and litigation, perhaps with the general counsel’s office of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in poor urban and rural school systems.
Sparks, whose undergraduate majors include drama, enjoyed New York especially for its theater, and he continued to act in plays, including eight Law Revue shows performed during the four years he spent earning his two degrees.