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The Life and Career of W. Donald Sparks : The Lawyer's Lawyer

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W. Donald Sparks has been a lifelong resident in Delaware County. His schooling, both grade school and high school, was completed in Chester, Pennsylvania. Don, as he is referred to informally, graduated summa cum laude from Drew University, Madison, NJ. After graduation from college, Don married his lovely wife, Ann. After marriage, he attended Duke University School of Law and graduated with his J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree in 1958. Don started his practice of law in the city of Chester itself.

The Life And Career Of W. Donald Sparks : The Lawyer's Lawyer

W. Donald Sparks was a contemporary of Murray Eckell, his future partner and another future Super Lawyer. It was Murray who was quite keen to start a law firm; Sparks was not. After some initial hesitation, Don later relented to his friend’s wishes and thus Eckell and Sparks was formed in 1964. The firm has been growing consistently ever since, and is now named Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. referring to the addition of reputed lawyers to the firm who are now partners.

Murray S. Eckell is presently the founding shareholder and real estate department chair of the firm. He is a former judge and former chair of the disciplinary board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He is also the past governor of the Pennsylvania Bar Association as well as the past president of the Delaware County Bar Association. While Don lays a primary emphasis on domestic relations work, he practices criminal, labor, real estate, and estate law. Murray specializes in residential, commercial, and industrial real estate law.

Don principally practices family law and criminal law. Don is reputed to be a true ''lawyer’s lawyer'' according to his colleagues. Don also handled cases related to the practice areas of civil litigation, criminal defense law, estate planning, family law, personal injury, and real estate law and now acts as a consultant for the above mentioned practice areas. He is also a member of Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations as well as the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.

Don was designated the title ''Of Counsel'' after having worked several years with the firm and after he eventually started working part-time, indicating his impending retirement. Murray has been an active partner though, managing the legal cases of the firm with a group of extremely talented super lawyers. Don is the Of Counsel for the Family Law, Real Estate, and Estate Departments for the firm today.

Don was recently invited to the Duke Law School Reunion Weekend, after having worked more than 50 years since graduating from his alma mater.

Don is especially close to his three sons (Don Jr., Steven, and Jeffrey) and grandchildren and is a proud father and grandfather. Don Jr. is a partner in a prestigious Wilmington, Delaware, law firm. Steven, too, is a lawyer, representing the Nemours Foundation in Jacksonville, Florida. It is only Jeffrey who is not in the legal field, but he is a reputed doctor of internal medicine in North Carolina.

Don has encouraged all the lawyers of his firm to frequently serve as special counsels to other law firms and individual lawyers, both as general advisers and as ethics experts in particular. The firm now has an all-round expertise in the legal field in various practice areas, thanks to its founders who have been persistent guiding lights to upcoming lawyers.

Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. is the oldest and largest native law firm in Delaware County and has represented clients around the block and around the region for more than 45 years. The firm is also one of the largest suburban firms serving the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Martindale Hubbell , the well-known national legal directory, has given its highest rating to the firm, an AV rating, for its laudable contribution to the legal field.
Duke University School of Law


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