Fordham Law

Fordham Law Alumnus Receives NYSBA’s 2009 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

February 04, 2009

Andrew P. Sparkler '05 received the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the New York State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section on January 29. The award is presented annually to a young lawyer who has rendered outstanding service to both the community and the legal profession and has a distinguished record of commitment to the finest traditions of the bar through public service and professional activities.

After his close friend and Fordham Law School classmate Dave Nee committed suicide in 2005, Sparkler founded the David Dawes Nee II Foundation, where he is currently president of the board of directors. The foundation is dedicated to eliminating the stigma associated with depression and suicide by promoting and encouraging diagnosis and treatment of depression among adolescents and young adults. The foundation has implemented Uncommon Counsel, a program that seeks to address the epidemic of depression in law students in New York.

"Of the many exceptional nominees we received this year, Andrew Sparkler proved to be an exemplary candidate for this prestigious award. He is an inspiring role model for young lawyers in his commitment to the law and his community," said Young Lawyers Section Chair Sherry Levin Wallach. "More than 40 percent of third-year law students and 24 percent of lawyers in New York suffer with depression, and I commend Andrew for raising awareness about the severity of this issue as he continues what is sure to be a distinguished career."

"It is an honor to receive this award from the NYSBA," Sparkler said. "Depression and suicide are commonplace throughout the legal community, but for many years this fact has been either ignored or brushed aside. Law schools and law firms need to acknowledge and address this problem. Toward that end, it's encouraging that a leading state bar association such as the NYSBA recognizes these issues and supports the work of the Dave Nee Foundation."

Sparkler is currently the legal corporate associate director of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He began his career as an employment and employee benefits associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP before switching to entertainment law at Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP. Sparkler served as editor-in-chief of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.