The firm has no departments, divisions, sections, or practice groups. To the contrary, in every case, we draw upon the talent and experience of every member of the firm. In other words…We are a Team.
“We take on cases that we believe are truly important. If we have a specialty, we hope that it is in the art of proving facts.”
Bob Ekstrand co-founded the Firm in 2002. Bob represents both civil litigants and criminal defendants in a broad spectrum of cases. While Bob is no stranger to high profile and high stakes litigation, he believes that some of his most successful representations have been those no one ever heard about. This is particularly where the Firm’s early intervention prevented potentially controversial cases from arising at all.
Bob received his J.D. from Duke Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of Law & Contemporary Problems and a member of the Moot Court Board. He earned his B.A. in Literature, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland. While at Maryland, Bob won the University’s Byrd-Elkins award for outstanding student leadership and the College of Arts & Humanities’ Highest Academic Achievement Award for his Honors Thesis on Percy Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound.
Bob returned to Duke Law School to teach Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure from 2005-2008.
Mr. Ekstrand is admitted to practice in North Carolina and Texas.
Samantha Sparks Ekstrand
“Almost everyone who calls us has a problem and frequently they are upset or distressed. We aim to respond quickly and with compassion. While the legal resolution may not be a rapid one, our reaction should be, so that our clients feel they are in the best hands possible.”
Samantha Ekstrand co-founded the Firm in 2002. She oversees the management of the Firm, evaluates prospective cases, advises on case strategy, drafts and reviews contracts, and prepares simple wills and trusts.
Samantha received her J.D. from Duke Law School, and received an M.A. in History from Duke University. While at Duke, Samantha worked as a staff editor for the Duke Law Journal, and served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Duke University Women’s Lacrosse Team—a position she enjoyed for seven years. Samantha also has several years of experience teaching at the high school level.
Samantha earned her B.A. in History and Government cum laude from Dartmouth College. As a college lacrosse player, Samantha earned All Academic American Honors. She graduated magna cum laude from St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH.
Ms. Ekstrand is admitted to practice in North Carolina and Massachusetts.
Stefanie Anne Sparks Smith
“We are a firm that excels because of our intimate knowledge of our cases and a committed passion for both our clients and justice.”
Stefanie joined the Firm in 2005 after graduating from Duke University with a B.A. in History and Political Science. Stefanie received her J.D. from Georgetown University School of Law in 2010. At the Firm, Stefanie researches legal issues, interviews clients and witnesses, reviews, collects, and organizes evidence, and works closely with Bob in developing pre-trial and trial strategy. Her attention to and recollection of detail are unparalleled.
Before moving south, Stefanie graduated from St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, where she received the distinguished Loomis Medal for the top female athlete in the school.
While a student at Duke, Stefanie was a four-year varsity letter winner and two-time captain for the Women’s Lacrosse Team. As a senior, she led her team to the program’s first ACC Championship and its second NCAA Final Four Appearance at Navy Stadium in Annapolis. Academic honors at Duke included the All-ACC Honor Roll and the Dean’s List. Stefanie served as a volunteer assistant coach for her alma mater for the two years following graduation, which included two more trips to the Final Four. Duke established an annual award in her name, given each year to the Duke women’s lacrosse player who “best exemplifies the qualities of a great leader.”
While at Georgetown Law, Stefanie served as Operations Editor for the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics and a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office. She published an article entitled, “Marriage of Media and Law: A Doomed Relationship Under Current Ethics Rules.” Stefanie also served as an assistant to the Georgetown Women’s Lacrosse Team, which enjoyed its first Big East Championship during her tenure. She was given the “13th Man” Award for her contributions to the program in her last year. After graduating, Stefanie returned to Durham to work at the Firm and to coach on the Blue Devils’ sidelines as a lacrosse assistant again.
Stefanie continues to work with the Firm and resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, who is also an attorney, and their daughter.
Ms. Sparks is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and New Jersey.
Andrew M. Roth
Legal Fellowship Program 2009-current
“It’s a small firm, but we handle an impressive variety of cases. And the fact that it’s small works to its advantage–clients are always dealing with someone who will have direct input on their case.”
Andy brings a diversity of life experiences and interests to the Firm. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Andy moved to Boston to attend college. He graduated from Tufts University in 2001 with a B.A. in Drama. Andy pursued his passion for acting in New York City, where he also acquired impeccable multi-tasking skills as a server and manager at the well-known Balthazar restaurant. Changing career paths, Andy accepted admission and a scholarship to Duke University School of Law, Class of 2011. While at Duke, Andy has earned Mock Trial honors and has continued to act with Duke Law Drama Society for which he currently presides as president. Andy received his JD in May 2011 and was chosen by his class to speak at the Hooding Ceremony. Andy received his LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship at Duke in 2012.
At the Firm, Andy has played an integral role in higher education cases, as well as assisting in research, writing and legal analysis in both civil and criminal litigation at the trial and appellate levels.
Kinney D. Rucker
Legal Fellowship Program 2010-current
“Everyone in the firm is driven to make a difference in our clients’ lives when we come to work every day.”
Originally from New York City, Kinney moved to Durham during his high school years. A standout football player, Kinney accepted a full scholarship and admission to Duke where he was a three-year varsity letter winner as a defensive lineman. Kinney graduated from Duke in 2009 with a B.A. in African American Studies and a Documentary Studies Certificate. He was given the Duke Ace Parker Award for the athlete who overcomes the most adversity in his career. While balancing the demands of a Division One student-athlete, Kinney also was involved in community service projects including tutoring at a local elementary school and the Durham Rescue Mission.
Kinney has a particular interest in criminal defense work. He prepares most of the Firm’s criminal cases for court settings. He is also working tirelessly on the appeal of two wrongful convictions which the Firm has taken pro bono.
Brittany A. Handy
Legal Fellowship Program 2010-current
“I really enjoy working with the clients. Even though they are dealing with difficult situations in their life, I like meeting new people and their children, knowing that we are going to help them.”
Born and raised in Florida, Brittany earned her B.S. in Sports Management at the University of Florida in 2009 in her hometown of Gainesville. For three years, Brittany played on the Gators Varsity Softball Team, enjoying a trip to the College World Series and a SEC Championship in 2008. Following graduation, Brittany lived and worked in Rome, Italy.
Among her many responsibilities, Brittany serves as the primary paralegal for all of the Firm’s cases. Brittany particularly enjoys working on education cases, maintaining a keen focus on achieving the best result for the child.
Timothy L. McKeever
Legal Fellowship Program 2010-current
“With a results-oriented approach and team environment, E&E’s culture fosters individual drive within a team focused on achieving a common goal: the best possible outcome for our clients.”
Tim came to Durham from Lansdale, Pennsylvania to attend Duke University where he was a three-year varsity letter winner on the swim team. He earned All-ACC Academic Honors and was recognized on the Dean’s List. Tim graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and a Certificate in Markets and Management Studies.
Tim brings his discipline and drive from his swimming days to his casework at the Firm. He assists in the research, drafting, revising, and filing of pleadings in civil litigation, as well as coordinating the expunction process.
Tim is currently a law student at the University of North Carolina.
Jennifer A. Bonilla
Legal Fellowship Program 2010
“I love that education cases are a genuine priority here. There are virtually no other firms in the area with the desire and know-how to advocate for students and their families at every level of the process.”
Jenny spent the summer of 2010 at the Firm, assisting with the research and writing in several education cases. Jenny graduated from Duke in 2007 with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies and a minor in Spanish & Italian. She is currently finishing her J.D. at Duke Law, where she was selected for the Duke Journal of Gender, Law and Policy. Jenny practice area interests include education law, family law and immigration law.
Jenny is currently practicing law with a family law firm in Raleigh.
Sara O. Couch
Legal Fellowship Program 2009-2010
QUOTE: “E&E as a law firm is motivated, with a strong desire to help those in need and to perform at the highest standards.”
From the small town of London, Kentucky, Sara graduated from Duke in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in both History and Economics. While at Duke, she rowed crew for which she earned four varsity letters. She also held a variety of leadership positions. Sara brought to the Firm her valuable experience of working at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. Sara currently attends the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Susanna L. Carls
Legal Fellow 2009-2010
“The most satisfying moment I had at Ekstrand and Ekstrand was experiencing the incredibly rewarding feeling of gaining a client’s trust.”
Sue came to Duke as a top volleyball recruit from Sherman Oaks, California. She graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in Art History and a minor in Sociology. Known for her competitive spirit, she earned many athletic and academic honors and captained her team as a senior. Sue currently attends New York Law School.
Legal Fellowship Program
We pride ourselves on being a “teaching firm,” offering full-time paralegal positions, part-time legal clerkships, and summer associate internships to current students and/or recent graduates at both the college and law school levels. We have found that our legal fellows bring great passion and energy for learning and the most dedicated of work ethics. Direct contact with clients, integral legal research, drafting and revising of a variety of documents, case management responsibility, attendance at court hearings and mediations, we seek to offer firsthand learning experiences. In turn, we have high expectations for the quality of work and commitment of our legal fellows – we have to, they are part of our TEAM.