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Scaling to Sell

9:00 AM Missouri Room

About Carol

Attorney Carol Sparks is the founder and Managing Attorney of Sparks Law Office, P.C.  Attorney Sparks graduated from Truman State University in 2001, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Psychology.  She earned her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2004. 


Attorney Sparks began her legal career at HeplerBroom devoting her time to the areas of Business Law and Estate Planning.  In 2006, she had the privilege of accepting the role of Vice President and General Counsel of Southern Illinois Railcar Company, where she represented her parents in the sale of their family business.  


Sparks Law Office, P.C. was founded from Attorney Sparks’ passion to protect the small business entrepreneur through proper planning.  In her practice, Attorney Sparks represents small businesses in both Illinois and Missouri through all stages of their business life cycle.  Having been raised by entrepreneurs, she grew up learning key business concepts, including investment strategies and operational challenges.  She assists her clients by helping them create strategic plans and solutions to achieve their goals.  She tells everyone she genuinely loves the characteristics and mindset of the entrepreneur – creative, aggressive, risk-taker, resilient, discerning, passionate, determined, charismatic, customer-oriented, professional, experts, educated, tenacious and reputable.  


Attorney Sparks is a member of the Illinois Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.  She serves the local business community through her involvement as a member of the Advisory Board to the Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East at SIUE, as a Member of the Board of Directors to the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, and as the Vice President of the Troy Maryville Saint Jacob Marine Chamber of Commerce.  Attorney Sparks was recently featured in St. Louis Small Business Monthly as one of the Top Southern Illinois People To Know for 2021.


When not engaged in the practice of law, Attorney Sparks spends her time with her husband and daughters.  She takes pride in her mom role – as soccer mom to Hannah and Jaden, as well as dog mom to Luna and Tia.  In her freetime, she enjoys participating in CrossFit and golf.  Attorney Sparks is active in her church, Heights Community, and is the co-founder of Interwoven Souls Coalition, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the funding of medical research relating to complications of a multiples birth and pregnancy.


One piece of advice Attorney Sparks would offer entrepreneurs is “Never Stop Dreaming!”

Building a Business with a “Sellable” Legacy

The sale of a business is a process, not an event.  Selling your business for its highest and best value requires time, teamwork, research, planning, strategy, networking and commitment.  The value of your business depends upon the legacy you build from its beginning.

This course will take entrepreneurs through the life cycle of their businesses – introducing key concepts for those in the early years, building a legacy for those in the middle years, and developing strategies for selling for those in the golden years.


Carol Sparks

Quantum Empowerment Academy

Scaling to Sell

Buy/Sell Agreements

10:00 AM Missouri Room

About Tom

In business representation, Tom has drafted comprehensive and thoughtful agreements such as shareholder agreements, LLC operating agreements, buy/sell agreements, stock purchase agreements, real estate contracts, leases, employment agreements, and other transactional documents. Tom’s central motivation is to help his clients identify and solve their issues in the most efficient manner possible.

With respect to commercial litigation, Tom practices in both federal and state trial courts in Missouri and Illinois.  His business litigation matters include real estate, commercial issues, employment construction claims, unfair competition issues and contract disputes.

Tom has a comprehensive education law practice having represented all types of public and private educational entities.  His practice includes representing institutions regarding board governance, policy matters, various personnel issues, including terminations, state and federal discrimination claims, student matters, discipline, special education, section 1983 claims, Open Meetings law, and other issues.

Topic Highlights

Coming Soon


Tom Durphy

Shands, Elbert, Gianoulakis & Giljum, LLP

buy/Sell Agreements


11:00 AM Missouri Room

About Carissa

Carissa Harwell is an associate attorney at the BiState Law Center.  Carissa was born and raised in Southern Illinois.  She graduated from Flora High School and went on to attend Olney Central College.  She obtained her associate’s degree one year later and achieved Dean’s List honors both semesters.

Carissa then attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she majored in Social Work.  She received Dean’s List honors all four semesters she attended SIUE and graduated magna cum laude. Carissa’s years at SIUE ratified her devotion to advocating for clients’ rights and to disrupting any systems in place that harm her clients. After SIUE she attended law school at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  Carissa obtained her Juris Doctorate after only two and half years.  While attending law school, she helped to provide all individuals with access to justice by volunteering at the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation and the Jackson County Public Defender’s office.

Following law school, Carissa worked at a non-profit agency representing survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence in family court.  Now, she advocates for victims in Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation claims across Missouri and Illinois.

Topic Highlights

Course Information Coming Soon.. 


Jennifer Wade

Jen Wade Consulting

HR consulting


1:00 PM Missouri Room

About Matthew

Matthew Nagel is the founder and managing partner of the BiState Law Center. He practices in Missouri and Illinois, working in personal injury, worker’s compensation, real estate law, business law, and intellectual property.

Matt graduated from Millstadt Consolidated School in 1996 and from Belleville West magna cum laude in 2000. Graduating from Knox College in 2004, Matt earned a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in International Relations while serving as a senior captain and four-year starter for the Knox Prairie Fire soccer team. He earned his law degree from Washington University School of Law in 2007, while serving as the Editor-In-Chief of the Manual of International Legal Citation and on the executive board of the Global Studies Law Review. As a Rule 13 student attorney, Matthew Nagel represented underprivileged women and children who were victims of domestic violence through the nationally ranked Washington University Civil Justice Clinic. In 2008, he earned his LLM in Intellectual Property from Washington University to further his practice in protecting clients’ copyrights and trademarks.

He has been recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorney in Missouri and Illinois by a number of national organizations. The National Trial Lawyers Association named him a Top 100 Trial Attorney in Missouri, and the American Association of America named Matt a Top 100 Trial Attorney in Illinois. The National Trial Lawyers Association named him a Top 25 Workers Compensation Trial Attorney in Missouri. He is also an AV Rated lawyer by Martindale Hubble, an award bestowed by a lawyer’s peers.

Away from the Courtroom and the office, Matthew enjoys playing soccer. He coaches goalkeepers with Real WC St. Louis, an A+ Development Academy program. He also volunteers with SPENSA and the St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts.

Copyrights: How Mickey Mouse Built His Empire

The course will outline the essentials of copyright law and show entrepreneurs how they can leverage this tool to create value in their company while protecting their content.  The session will cover what is covered by copyright law, how it is protected, and the process to stop infringers.
Trademarks: Make Your Mark, Save Your Brand
The course will outlined the essentials of trademark law and show entrepreneurs the importance of protecting their brand through the law.  The session will cover what information is covered by state and federal trademark law, how business owners can use these tools to protect their brand, and leverage trademark to increase the value of their company.


Matthew Nagel

BiState Law Center


Operating Agreements

2:00 PM Missouri Room

About Scott

Scott Stork has been practicing law since 2002. Originally from Nebraska, he graduated from undergrad with an education degree, and taught high school prior to law school. He practiced law in Virginia from 2002 until late 2005, when he moved to St. Louis. Scott was a prosecutor in Virginia and St. Charles County until 2011, trying many complex jury trials. He went into private practice with a general practice firm at the end of 2011, where he continued working as a trial attorney.

With his background as a teacher, Scott is adept at helping to educate clients about what estate planning really is, how it can help them and their families, and how the client, Polaris Law Group, and their trusted advisors can work together to accomplish their goals. He also assists business owners to ensure that they have set up their company correctly, and have the framework in place to protect themselves, and to ensure that their business has proper succession planning and that it integrates with their estate planning goals. 


His background as a trial attorney and litigator also allows him to see the end result of not planning properly. Too often this will lead to large family fights and families who end up in court, spending tens of thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees. In fact, Scott advocates that his clients make sure that planning is often times a “family project”. One of the tenants of Polaris Law Group is that we want to make sure our clients have family meetings after they create their plans, and that their family and trusted helpers are trained so that in the event the client becomes disabled or dies, the family knows what to do and who to call.

Proper Operating Agreements

Proper Operating Agreements are an important part of creating a Limited Liability Company.  Although many business owners create their LLC through the Secretary of State, they fail to take the extra step of properly documenting how it will operate.  Failure to properly do so can have negative consequences on who makes decisions for the business, who the members of the business are, what the member’s liability may be, and how the business may continue after the death of a member. 

Whether forming a single member LLC, or creating an LLC with multiple partners, this course will outline issues to consider and potential answers to common questions, so that business owners will know the questions to ask and the issues to spot when working with an attorney.


Scott Stork

Polaris Law Group

Diversity and Inclusion