President Biden Nominates Sparkle L. Sooknanan ’10 to U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.


Sparkle Sooknanan

Photo by Patrice Gilbert 

Sparkle L. Sooknanan ’10 distinguished herself as a stellar part-time student who attended Brooklyn Law School at night, worked during the day, and graduated summa cum laude. Now, the White House has taken notice, with President Joe Biden nominating Sooknanan to serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  

The nomination was announced Feb. 21 as part of the president’s 46th round of judicial nominees. Sooknanan was one of four federal district court nominees, “all of whom are extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution,” the White House said in its statement, adding that, “These choices also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country—both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.” 

This honor is just the latest milestone for Sooknanan, who previously served as a law clerk for Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2013 to 2014. (Sotomayor spoke to and met with Brooklyn Law students at a 2016 event held in Brooklyn Heights, noting, undoubtedly based on her insider account from Sooknanan, that the Law School treats its students “like family.”) 

Since 2023, Sooknanan has been the principal deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. She previously served as a deputy associate attorney general in the Department of Justice from 2021 to 2023, after having first joined the department as an appellate attorney in the Civil Division from 2012 to 2013. In between her two stints at the Justice Department, Sooknanan worked in private practice at Jones Day from 2014 to 2021, making partner in 2020. Previously she clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2011 to 2012, and for Judge Eric N. Vitaliano on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York from 2010 to 2011. 

In addition to her law degree, Sooknanan earned her M.B.A. with distinction from Hofstra University in 2003. It was education that prompted the alumna to leave her native Trinidad and Tobago at age 16 when she moved to New York City to attend St. Francis College, where she earned her B.S. and graduated summa cum laude in 2002.  

While at Brooklyn Law School, she was a part-time evening student and continued working full-time at HIP Health Plan of New York.  

David M. Barse Professor of Law Edward Janger, who was one of her professors, said Sooknanan was an admirable student.  

“Sparkle made the most of her time at Brooklyn Law School,” Janger said. “She was not just a top student in the classroom. She also served as executive articles editor of the Brooklyn Law Review, president of the Moot Court Honor Society, member of the highly successful ABA National Moot Court Team, and coach to the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court team.”   

Despite the demands of working, taking classes, and participating in student activities, she maintained a 4.0 grade point average, as reported in Brooklyn Law Notes, where she was featured in 2013 after her Sotomayor clerkship was announced.  

“Law school was an incredible, life-changing experience,” said Sooknanan at the time. “I knew soon after I started that I had found my place and wanted to spend my career in the legal profession….The relationships I built and the people who have helped me along the way will stay with me always.”