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Steward (“Sam”) Sparks is an AV rated attorney and seasoned business leader.  Sam spent the first 15 years of his career in general law practice in Atlanta, Ga.  During that time, he served as lead counsel in a number of federal and state court trials as well as appeals. In 1996, Sam left his law practice to work for one of his real estate clients as general counsel.  Sam subsequently served as general counsel for two other homebuilding companies and was promoted to various operational roles.  Those roles, as division and region president, required Sam to oversee operating divisions across the Southeast.  Sam’s involvement included oversight of various environmental and employee related matters as well as consumer claims. 

Through his experience, Sam has handled a number of litigation cases, arbitrations and mediations.  Having been licensed as a general contractor, Sam is familiar with construction plans and process for all types of structures.  Sam has handled insurance loss claims, surety bond claims, delay damage claims, and third-party claims.  Sam also managed the insurance department for two private companies.

Sam was a region president for Lennar Homes, in charge of all Lennar’s homebuilding operations in the Southeast. Later, Sam served as Sr. Vice President in charge of Mergers and Acquisitions for Beazer Homes.  Sam successfully negotiated a number of corporate acquisitions in his career, representing both the acquired company as well as the acquiring company at various times.

The combination of his experience as a trial lawyer and his later service in upper management of various entities has given him unique insight into the dispute resolution process, and the benefits of pursuing expedient, cost effective results.  Sam has recently retired from his corporate role and is devoting his full time and energy to helping others resolve their disputes quickly and efficiently thru mediation and arbitration.   Sam is not directly engaged in the practice of law. 

Professional Licenses:

Registration as an Arbitrator & Mediator, Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution, 2019

Admitted:

Georgia Bar Association, 1981 to present.
Georgia Court of Appeals
Georgia Supreme Court
United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

North Carolina General Contractor’s License, inactive.

South Carolina General Contractor’s License, inactive.

Relevant Experience:

2018 – 2019         Beazer Homes, LLC.  Sr. Vice President.  Responsible for corporate acquisitions.  Also assisted in overseeing the management of operating divisions in Atlanta and Indiannapolis.  Acquired a large private builder in Atlanta and oversaw the integration of that business into the Company’s operations.

2014 – 2018         JW Collection Homes. Executive Vice President & General Counsel.  This company was the business formed by John Wieland after the sale of his much larger business in the Southeast.  Duties included the negotiation of a $40MM loan from a private lender as well as resolution of numerous issues with the general contractor and customers in connection with the construction of One Museum Place, a luxury condominium located across the street from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta Georgia.   

2006 – 2014         Lennar Homes.  Region President.  Direct responsibility for operations in Jacksonville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, North Virginia and Maryland.  Responsibilities included oversight of several hundred employees.  Accomplishments include the successful negotiation of the dissolution of 36 joint ventures, the restructuring and return to profitability of those divisions, as well as the negotiated purchase of millions of dollars of value in land and bank debt during the recession.

2000 – 2005         Colony Homes.  General Counsel.  Large regional Homebuilder, operating in Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh.  Successfully resolved a number of litigation cases, including being named as a corporate defendant in the first 404(b) water quality case filed in the State.  Ultimately handled the negotiation and sale of the Company to KB Home.  Stayed with KB Home in an operational role assisting the company in acquiring other builders and land assets in the Southeast.

1995 – 2000         Torrey Homes.  General Counsel.  Managed the Company’s land acquisition, land development, litigation and consumer claims, as well as negotiated the sale of the Company to D. R. Horton, a large national builder.  Later promoted to Division President and then to Region President.  Responsible for the acquisition and integration of another large regional builder on behalf of D. R. Horton.

1981 – 1995         Kessler & Sparks.   Partner in small law firm handling state and federal trials, later specializing in real estate matters. Represented various landlords and tenants (including one of the largest shopping center developers in Atlanta), advised borrowers and lenders in real estate transactions, and represented various developers and home builders.

Education:

Henning Arbitration Training, 2019.

Henning Mediation and Arbitration Training, 2019.

Center for Creating Leadership, 2001.

Woodrow Wilson College of Law, Atlanta, Georgia.  JD, 1981.

Georgia State University, BS in Urban Life, emphasis on Criminal Justice, 1978.

Harvard Program on Negotiation, Fall 2019.

Associations:

American Bar Association, Section on Dispute Resolution (Board Member 2021-2022)

Atlanta Bar Association, Construction Law Section (Board Member 2021-2022)

Georgia Bar Association, Real Estate and Corporate Sections

Registered as an Arbitrator: American Arbitration Association, Construction Panel (2020-Present)

Construction Dispute Resolutions Services (2020-Present)