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 Commercial Disputes, Class Action Litigation Defense, Financial Institutions and Services Litigation, and Appellate Litigation practice groups. He regularly represents retailers, financial services institutions—including banking, lending, and loan servicing companies—and other business entities in consumer class actions, individual litigation matters, and appeals in federal and state courts throughout the United States. These actions frequently involve claims alleging violations of state consumer protection statutes, breaches of warranty, 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: 2016-2023; Member, Executive Leadership Committee: 2017-2023; Member, Captains Committee: 2015; K&L Gates Team Captain: 2010-2023).
- Presenting Evidence at Class Certification: Strategies for navigating divergent admissibility standards and the split among the Circuits, hosted by MyLawCLE and the Federal Bar Association, 24 May 2023
- 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, 2 March 2023
- 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
- How To Navigate Class Incentive Awards After Justices' Denial, Law360, 7 June 2023
- What 5-Year BIPA Time Limit Means For Class Action Defenses, Law360, 6 March 2023
- 5th Circ. Class Action Rulings Reflect Post-TransUnion Trends, Law360, 1 December 2022
- 9th Circuit Gets Tougher on Experts at Class Certification, Law360, 11 January 2021
- Inside 2 Strategies for Schools Hit with Refund Class Actions, Law360, 8 May 2020
- Curious Case of the Class Cert. Evidentiary Standard: Part 2, Law360, 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, Law360, 1 June 2020
- Curious Case of the Class Cert. Evidentiary Standard: Part 2, Law360, by Robert W. Sparkes, III, 13 June 2018
- Curious Case of the Class Cert. Evidentiary Standard: Part 1, Law360, by Robert W. Sparkes, III, 13 June 2018
- The First Circuit Clarifies That A Defendant’s Deadline to Remove is Principally Influenced by the Actions of the Plaintiff, K&L Gates Alerts, 12 November 2014
- Employers Beware: FCRA Class Actions Are On The Rise, Law360, by Brian M. Forbes, Robert W. Sparkes, III, Mark D. Pomfret, 11 June 2014
- Winding the Removal Clock: The Second Circuit Clarifies The Deadline for Removal Under the Class Action Fairness Act, K&L Gates Alerts, 2 June 2014
- Beyond Credit Reporting: The Extension of Potential Class Action Liability to Employers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, K&L Gates Alerts, 7 April 2014
- A Decision to Arbitrate in the Mountain State: The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Rejects Retroactive Application of the Dodd-Frank Act and Enforces Mandatory Arbitration Agreement in Residential Mortgage, K&L Gates Alerts, 26 November 2013
- Once More unto the Breach: The U.S. Supreme Court Takes Another Case Regarding Class-Wide Arbitration, K&L Gates Alerts, 12 December 2012
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes: The Supreme Court Reins In Expansive Class Actions, K&L Gates Alerts, 18 July 2011
- “Waive of Change:” Class Arbitration in the Aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, K&L Gates Alerts, 11 May 2011
- "The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated": Foreclosures in Massachusetts Following the Supreme Judicial Court Decision in Ibanez, K&L Gates Alerts, 12 January 2011
- In the Wake of Stolt-Nielsen: The Supreme Court Dives into Multiple Arbitration-Related Cases, U.S.- Mexico Bar Association Newsletter, July/August 2010
- Class Arbitration Waivers: Silence Reigns In Stolt-Nielsen, But The Courts Have More To Say, K&L Gates Alerts, 15 June 2010
- That’s Unconscionable: An Update Regarding the Enforceability of Arbitration Provisions in Form Contracts, Commercial Disputes, K&L Gates, 5 March 2009
- 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.
- 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