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Robert W. Sparkes, III

Rob Sparkes, a partner in the Boston office of K&L Gates, has extensive experience litigating complex civil and commercial matters, with a focus on defending class actions in federal and state courts. Rob is a member of the firm's complex commercial litigation and disputes, class action litigation defense, financial institution and services litigation, and appellate practice groups. He regularly represents retailers, financial services institutions, including banking, lending, and loan servicing companies, and all manner of business entities in consumer class actions, individual itigation matters, and appeals in federal and state courts throughout the United States. These actions frequently involve claims alleging violations of state consumer protection statutes, violations of federal laws, such as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and various common law causes of action. Rob also has experience representing corporate and individual clients in non-consumer, business litigation, arbitration, and appellate matters, including cases involving contract, tort, product liability, intellectual property, and trade secret claims.

Rob’s experience covers a wide array of subject matters, including the advertising of foods and beverages; the labeling of over-the-counter medication and dietary supplements; the sale of consumer electronics; mortgage loan modifications, automobile financing arrangements, and credit card products; the construction of an oil refinery megaproject; the development of home security system software; and the manufacture of door frames.

Rob has participated in jury and bench trials in state and federal court, has appeared before courts in a variety of proceedings, and has represented clients in settlement negotiations, mediations, and arbitration proceedings.  Rob has also advised consumer financial services entities and other businesses in navigating complex regulatory and compliance issues.

Rob has spoken and written extensively on class action issues, and is the co-author of chapters of the K&L Gates' treatise entitled Defense of Class Action Litigation in Federal Courts, including chapters on “Class Certification” and “Alternative Dispute Resolution.”

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Rob served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Joseph L. Tauro of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 2005-2006.

  • American Bar Association
  • Boston Bar Association
  • Lawyers Have Heart Boston, 5K Road Race and Charity Fundraising Event for the American Heart Association (Chairman, Captains Committee: 2016-2022; Member, Executive Leadership Committee: 2017-2022; Member, Captains Committee: 2015; K&L Gates Team Captain: 2010-2022).
  • Limits on Federal Judicial Power in Class Actions: Demonstrating Insufficient Case or Controversy, Mootness, and Remedy, hosted by Strafford Webinars, 21 July 2022
  • Defining or Challenging Class Membership: Evaluating Ascertainability under New Decisions and Evolving Law, hosted by Strafford Webinars, 7 April 2022
  • Class Certification Evidence: Standards of Admissibility and Probative Value Among the Circuits: Strategies for Opposing or Narrowing Class Certification and Preserving Objections, hosted by Strafford Webinars, 17 February 2022
  • Drafting Guaranties and Nonrecourse Carveouts in Commercial Finance Transactions: Enforceability Issues for Lenders and Guarantors In and Out of Bankruptcy, hosted by Strafford Webinars, 20 January 2022
  • Employment Arbitration Agreements: Class Action Waivers, Lorman Education Services Webinar Presentation, by Robert W. Sparkes, III and Mark D. Pomfret, 24 October 2018
  • CFPB Final Payday Rule - New Requirements for Short-Term, Auto-Title, and Other Covered Loans, Lorman Education Services Webinar Presentation, by Robert W. Sparkes, III and Jennifer Janeira Nagle, October 18, 2018
  • Defining or Challenging Class Membership: Evaluating Ascertainability, Overbreadth and Failsafe Class Issues, hosted by Strafford Webinars, 5 January 2016
  • The Mortgage Lifecycle: Litigation Hotspots From Origination Through Foreclosure, Webinar Presentation, 24 February 2016
Additional Thought Leadership Pages
  • 5th Circ. Class Action Rulings Reflect Post-TransUnion Trends, Law360, 1 December 2022
  • 9th Circuit Gets Tougher on Experts at Class Certification, Law 360, 11 January 2021
  • Inside 2 Strategies for Schools Hit with Refund Class Actions, Law 360, 8 May 2020
  • Curious Case of the Class Cert. Evidentiary Standard: Part 2, Law 360, 14 June 2018
  • Curious Case of the Class Cert. Evidentiary Standard: Part 1, Law360, 13 June 2018
  • Employers Beware: FCRA Class Actions Are On The Rise, Law360, 11 June 2014
  • The Past Holds Lessons for COVID-19 Mortgage Cases, Law 360, 1 June 2020
  • Curious Case of the Class Cert. Evidentiary Standard: Part 2, Law360, by Robert W. Sparkes, III, June 13, 2018
  • Curious Case of the Class Cert. Evidentiary Standard: Part 1, Law360, by Robert W. Sparkes, III, June 13, 2018
  • Employers Beware: FCRA Class Actions Are On The Rise, Law360, by Brian M. Forbes, Robert W. Sparkes, III, Mark D. Pomfret, June 11, 2014
  • In the Wake of Stolt-Nielsen: The Supreme Court Dives into Multiple Arbitration-Related Cases, U.S.- Mexico Bar Association Newsletter, July/August 2010
  • That’s Unconscionable: An Update Regarding The Enforceability of Arbitration Provisions in Form Contracts, Uniform Commercial Code Journal, Vol. 42, No. 1, November 2009
  • K&L Gates, Defense of Class Action Litigation in Federal Courts, author of “Class Certification” and “Alternative Dispute Resolution” Chapters
  • State Class Actions: Practice and Procedure, author of Illinois and Louisiana Chapters.
Additional News & Event Pages
  • BUMBLE BEE: K&L Gates Attorney Discusses Class Action Ruling, Class Action Prospector, 6 May 2021
  • K&L Gates Lawyers Provide Insights on Impact of COVID-19 Across Various Industries, August 2020
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