In the Matter of Shazia N. Sparkman, an Attorney. (Attorney Registration No. 4246385.
Calendar Date:November 1, 2021
Before:Egan Jr., J.P., Lynch, Clark, Aarons and Colangelo, JJ.
Monica A. Duffy, Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department, Albany (Michael K. Creaser of counsel), for Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department.
Shazia N. Sparkman, Tampa, Florida, respondent pro se.
DEC 30, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LINY : JAN 1, 2021
Respondent was admitted to practice by this Court in 2004 and is also a member of the bar in Florida, where she was admitted in 2005. Between 2012 and 2018, respondent was sanctioned for sustained misconduct on three occasions in Florida.
Specifically, respondent was admonished in May 2012 on consent, based upon her admission that she initiated a frivolous action on behalf of her client in violation of Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, rule 4-3.1.
In May 2015, respondent was publicly reprimanded, again on consent, for her admitted misconduct in four separate matters that included, among other things, failing to act diligently on behalf of her client, failing to properly communicate with her client and failing to protect confidential client information, all in violation of Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, rules 4-1.3, 4-1.4 and 4-1.6.
Finally, in July 2018, respondent was again publicly reprimanded based upon a determination by a referee following a disciplinary hearing that she had failed to properly supervise her nonlawyer office staff in violation of Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, rule 4-5.3 (b) (2) and (3).
The Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department (hereinafter AGC) now moves to impose discipline upon respondent in New York based upon her sustained misconduct in Florida.
In response, respondent has submitted an affidavit wherein she does not raise any of her available defenses pursuant to Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) § 1240.13 (b) and, instead, offers several factors in mitigation for this Court’s consideration.
Pursuant to Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) § 1240.13 (c), this Court may discipline an attorney for “misconduct committed in [a] foreign jurisdiction.” We first note that, due to respondent not raising any of her available defenses, those defenses are waived (see Matter of Hoines, 185 AD3d 1349, 1349 ; see also Matter of Hoover, 196 AD3d 994, 994 ).
Nonetheless, we note that respondent’s consent to discipline in the first two disciplinary matters, alongside the well-reasoned determination of the referee in her most recent disciplinary matter, establish that she received sufficient due process and that there was sufficient proof to establish her misconduct (see Matter of Winograd, 184 AD3d 1073, 1074 ).
Further, we note that respondent’s sustained misconduct in Florida would constitute misconduct in this state, as the Florida disciplinary rules contain analogous language to the relevant rules in this state (see Rules of Professional Conduct [22 NYCRR 1200.0] rules 1.3 [a]; 1.4, 1.6, 3.1, 5.3 [a], [b]; see generally Matter of Powers, 176 AD3d 1468, 1469 ; Matter of Bogard, 149 AD3d 224, 228-229 ). We therefore grant AGC’s motion, find the misconduct established and turn to the issue of the appropriate disciplinary sanction.
In doing so, we are mindful of the various factors identified in the three Florida disciplinary orders [*2]that prompted this proceeding (see Matter of Berglund, 183 AD3d 1178, 1179 ). To this end, respondent’s misconduct is aggravated by her prior disciplinary history and the fact that the orders underlying AGC’s motion encompass multiple instances of misconduct (see ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions standard 9.22 [a], [d]). Further, although respondent’s 2012 admonishment resulted from misconduct that occurred when she was a relatively inexperienced attorney, her later misconduct took place after she had accumulated substantial experience in the practice of law (see ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions standard 9.22 [i]).
Finally, we must consider that respondent failed to fulfill her obligation to timely report her Florida discipline to AGC and this Court, but we have noted her remorse for forgetting to fulfill that obligation (see Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters [22 NYCRR] § 1240.13 [d]; see also Rules of App Div, 3d Dept [22 NYCRR] former § 806.19 [b]).
Conversely, in mitigation, we have considered respondent’s sincere remorse for her misconduct and her attestation that she has learned from her mistakes (see ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions standard 9.32 [l]).
Further, we note that respondent’s good character and reputation were considered in mitigation during the Florida proceedings (see ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions standard 9.32 [g]).
To this end, respondent attests to her participation in various charities in her community and her commitment to providing pro bono services.
Finally, we note that respondent was dealing with personal issues at the time of her misconduct that led to her more recent public reprimand, and that those circumstances were fairly considered in that proceeding (see ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions standard 9.32 [c]).
Altogether, we find that a similar sanction to the sanction imposed in Florida is appropriate for the severity of misconduct underlying the sum of her discipline in Florida.
Accordingly, in order to protect the public, maintain the honor and integrity of the profession and deter others from committing similar misconduct, we censure respondent for her foreign misconduct (see Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters [22 NYCRR] § 1240.8 [b] ).
Egan Jr., J.P., Lynch, Clark, Aarons and Colangelo, JJ., concur.
ORDERED that the motion of the Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department is granted;
and it is further
ORDERED that respondent is censured.
Location: Tampa, Florida
Tampa, FL Family Law Attorney
Shazia Sparkman is the founder and managing partner where she advocates fiercely and passionately for her clients in all types of family law and complex business litigation matters. Armed with a razor sharp grasp of the law, Ms. Sparkman brings her smart sophistication in analyzing every case for each client. Clients have come to expect a tailored and customized approach to each legal situation.
It is this personalized approach that was the vision of Ms. Sparkman and that has rooted the firm into the Tampa Bay community as one recognized for excellent service.
Ms. Sparkman is a native of Tampa, born and raised and grew up with a passion for the law and service. She has cultivated her talent for lawyering in the most effective and artful manner where her persuasion skills and legal expertise merge together in the courtroom.
She is a perfectionist at heart who drives herself to accomplish tasks that others would run from. Her memory and ability to multi-task is difficult to comprehend or describe but clearly reveals how she is able to remember every conversation she has ever had and every client story told.
Ms. Sparkman’s community involvement is an extension of her dedication to her clients. She is a member of the Junior League of Tampa and her passion for giving back to the community is exemplified in the volunteer service work she provides in addition to the law firm’s support of various community events that are dear to heart, such as the Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay and the Easter Seals organization, both organizations that highlight giving to empower and strengthen children.
As a mother of three children, Ms. Sparkman is fueled by this role as a mother, lawyer and volunteer with her focus being to make her community a place where she can be proud to raise her children.
Areas Of Practice
Family & Matrimonial Law
New York, 2004
University at Buffalo Law School, Buffalo, New York
Law Journal: Women’s Law Journal, Editor, 2002 – 2003
Florida Atlantic University & University of South Florida, Boca Raton, Florida
B.A. cum laude – 1999
Honors: With Honors
Minor: Certificate in Classical Studies and Political Science
“Islam and Western Feminism”, Women’s Law Journal
“Evidence Problems in Domestic Violence Prosecution”, Florida Bar Magazine, 2004
Co-Author of the Appellate Brief in Coyle v. Coyle, So.2d , opinion published in the Florida Law Weekly-successful outcome
Florida Prosecutor Assoc. Daytona Beach, FPA, 2006
Frequent Lecturer for the Florida Statewide Prosecutor Office on Domestic Violence
Presenter for Lorman’s CLE on Adoption Law- from start to finish
Presenter for Lorman’s CLE on Family Law
Honors And Awards
Frequent appearances on Fox 13 Ask-a Lawyer partnered with the Hillsborough County Bar Association
Professional Associations And Memberships
Family Law Inns of Court – Platinum Inn of Court recognized by the American Inns of Court, Barrister
Hillsborough County Women’s Bar Association, Member
South Asian Bar Association
American Association of Justice
St. Petersburg Bar Association
Clearwater Bar Association
New York Bar Association
South Tampa Chamber Commerce, Member
University at Buffalo School of Law Alumni Association
Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section
Florida Bar-Family Law & Matrimonial Section
Florida Muslim Bar Association, Board Member
Hillsborough County Bar Association & Stetson University School of Law Mentoring Program
Past Employment Positions
Tampa & Bradenton, Former State Prosecutor (Assistant State Attorney), 2004 – 2006
Pro Bono Activities
Volunteer for Florida’s Law Week & Hillsborough County Mentor Program
Stetson Law Day Mentor – Tampa Fl
Read to children Week – Tampa, Fl
Member and active participant and volunteer with the Junior League of Tampa Bay