Skip to main content

Kent D. Sparks

Associate | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2295

    f. +1.616.222.2295

Biography


Kent Sparks assists employers in structuring retirement programs and health care plans and maintaining compliance in this complex area of employee benefits law. His attention to detail and understanding of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code proves invaluable when drafting plan documents for a variety of clients, both large and small. Kent‘s practice is research-driven and he enjoys presenting information in an approachable, yet comprehensive manner. His background as a high school teacher provides an excellent foundation for educating others on employee benefits matters and fuels his continuous pursuit for knowledge. 

Industries

    No data found

Education

  • Michigan State University College of Law J.D. 2015 summa cum laude
  • University of Michigan B.A. 2011 high distinction

Admitted

  • 2015, Michigan

Courts

  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 2015

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Tax Section and Employee Benefits Subcommittee
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Tax Section and LGBTQA Section
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association

Experience

  • Designs qualified retirement programs, including 401(k) and profit sharing plans
  • Reviews non-qualified deferred compensation plans for compliance with Code Section 409A
  • Drafts health and welfare plan restatements and amendments to comply with the Affordable Care Act and related statutes and regulations
  • Assists in addressing qualified retirement plan issues in the context of mergers and acquisitions
  • Prepares IRS and PBGC filings to obtain rulings and determination letters on initial qualifications, amendments, and terminations for both single and multiemployer plans
  • Assists clients in filing retirement plan correction submissions with the IRS under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System
  • Prepares IRS filings to obtain expedited exemptions from certain prohibited transactions
  • Drafts domestic relations orders for the division of retirement assets upon marriage dissolution
  • Approved Civil and Domestic Mediator (completed 40-hour training courses approved by the State Court Administrative Office)

Honors & Awards

  • Senior Notes Editor, Michigan State Law Review
  • Recipient, Dean Charles H. King Scholarship
  • Recipient, Academic Excellence Scholarship
  • James B. Angell Scholar
  • Jurisprudence Achievement Awards in Contract Drafting; Michigan Family Law; Appellate Advocacy; Research, Writing, and Analysis; and Agricultural Law

Publications

  • "Requiring Administrative Exhaustion While the School Shuts Down: An Insurmountable Barrier to Seeking IDEA Enforcement," 2014 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1161 (2014)
  • "The New Establishment Clause: The Risks of Elevating Historical Practices Above Legal Principles," 2 Indon. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 369 (2015)

Leadership

Community Affiliations

  • Mind Meets Music
    Board of Directors, Member (2017-Present)
  • Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
    Young Professionals Board (2016-Present)
  • Whitmore Lake Public Schools
    Board of Education, Former Board President (2009-12)

Speaking Engagements

  • "Benefits Myth Busters" and "Defined Contribution Plans 101," Warner Norcross Human Resources Seminar, May 23, 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Understanding the Affordable Care Act Reporting Requirements," Warner Norcross Webinar, November 22, 2016
  • "Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) Compliance Issues," Warner Norcross Webinar, July 20, 2016
  • "Consumer-Driven Trends and Pitfall with Implementing and Operating High Deductible Health Plans," Warner Norcross Human Resources Seminar, June 9, 2016, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • “Health & Welfare Plans Panel Discussion," Warner Norcross Human Resources Seminar, June 9, 2016, Grand Rapids, Michigan

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.

ACCEPTCANCEL

Text

+ -

Reset