Small law

Paul Sprenger, Great Lawyer and Philanthropist, Dies at 74
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

great lawyer and philanthropist dies

Summary: Paul Sprenger, a ground-breaking lawyer who fought sexual discrimination, has died after having worked an inspiring career.

Along with the passing of 2014, we’ve seen the passing of a great lawyer, Paul C. Sprenger, a groundbreaking lawyer who took on sexual harassment cases, racial discrimination cases, and age-discrimination cases, before semi-retiring into a life of philanthropy.


As his wife and law partner, Jane Lang, said, he seems to have died from a heart attack while snorkeling on a vacation in Curaçao. He was 74 when he passed, having survived prostate cancer 17 years ago, and the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago.

Mr. Sprenger first worked to fight gender discrimination when he represented Shyamala Rajender who worked as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota. The university had never tenured a woman in the hard sciences.

“It was the first sex discrimination class action against a university,” said Ms. Lang. “He won a 10-year consent decree, and it changed higher education for women.”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

It wouldn’t be the only “first,” for Sprenger. He also took on the Eveleth Taconite Company in a sexual harassment case on behalf of Lois Jenson, who complained of the plight female miners endured at the company, including sexual harassment, stalking, being pinched, and, a week after she mailed a complaint to the State Department of Human Rights, in 1984, having her tires slashed.

The case went on for a decade, and was the first class-action lawsuit based on sexual harassment. The case was finally settled in 1998 with Eveleth giving 15 women $3.5 million.

Sprenger turned to this sort of representation early on in his career. As his wife said, “He’d been an insurance defense lawyer, but when he discovered what a great feeling it was to win something for someone who didn’t have anything, he said, being a plaintiff’s lawyer was a no-brainer.”

Certainly she herself was won over by his vision. They met when representing opposite sides of a case, he on the side of black employees of Burlington Northern Railroad, and she on the railroad’s side. The two reached a settlement. Later, they merged their practices in 1989, becoming Sprenger & Lang, and marrying the next year.

In later years, the two practiced law a little less, and turned to philanthropy, founding the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, giving $24 million to the center.

Sprenger could be said to have lead a respectable life as a lawyer, representing clients he believed deserved justice, spending his old age in philanthropy, and even dying while enjoying a vacation. He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, two stepchildren, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


Interesting Legal Sites You May Like




Search Now

Mid-level Litigation Attorney with motions experience


Seattle office of our client seeks mid-level litigation attorney with 3-5 years of experience, inclu...

Apply Now

Environmental /Land Use Attorney with 2-3 years of experience

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks environmental /land use attorney with 2-3 years of experien...

Apply Now

Litigation Attorney with 2-5 years of insurance defense experience


Jacksonville office of our client seeks litigation attorney with 2-5 years of previous insurance def...

Apply Now

Junior to Mid-level Trademark Attorney with counseling experience


Seattle office of our client seeks junior to mid-level trademark attorney with preferably 2+ years o...

Apply Now


Managing Director, Litigation Finance Investments


Title                ...

Apply now

Contract Associate


Seeking lawyer with at least 2 yrs experience in complex real estate transactional matters, with wil...

Apply now



Our Syracuse, NY office seeks an Associate with 3-5 years experience defending general liabilit...

Apply now

Experienced Insurance Defense Attorney Needed


Insurance Defense firm (with 15 attorneys in Suffolk and Mineola location), seeks attorneys with 5+ ...

Apply now

Most Popular


To Top