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Matt Sparks, 36

Matt SparksAssistant U.S. Attorney, Western District of Missouri

Location: Kansas City

Practice Areas: Civil litigation

Law School: University of Missouri-Kansas City

Matt Sparks admits it may sound cliché, but he’s still awed by the tremendous responsibility of representing the United States of America in a court of law.

Sparks defends the United States, its agencies and its officers in civil cases, particularly in tort litigation. He also prosecutes civil enforcement matters, such as violations of federal health and civil rights laws, and he argues appeals of disability benefit determinations by the Social Security Administration.

In addition, Sparks recently was selected as one of 17 representatives to serve on the Department of Justice’s nationwide eLitigation Working Group.

After earning his law degree in 2010, Sparks clerked for U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes and was an associate with Bryan Cave. He’s a member of the board of directors for Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance.

What advice do you have for young lawyers?

Imagine attending your own funeral and then write the eulogy. As you reflect on what will be said about your life, you will likely learn what qualities, values and goals matter most to you.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I have a golf-ball-sized hole in my head. Thankfully, a neurosurgeon successfully removed a tumor from my brain when I was in law school.

What inspired you to get involved in the legal profession?

It is more “who” than “what” inspired me. My father is a talented and respected attorney, and he is my hero.

If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what profession would you have chosen?

Toss-up between park ranger and the intelligence community. That is, assuming Justin Timberlake didn’t ask me to be a backup dancer for him.