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April 09, 2021

Philadelphia Bar Association Remembers Longtime Member Richard Sprague

The Philadelphia Bar Association released the following tribute to Richard Sprague, an influential Philadelphia lawyer and longtime member, who died earlier this week at age 95.

“Richard Sprague was known as a dedicated prosecutor and fearless civil litigator. A member of the Philadelphia Bar Association since 1954, he was known for taking on the most challenging of cases and litigating them with a peerless combination of passion and skill.

“Richard was known best for taking on high-profile cases, including acting as chief counsel and director of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, reviewing the killings of both President John F. Kennedy Jr. and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During his years at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, he successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases and, as a defense attorney, defended a number of well-known clients facing highly complex legal problems.

“Richard was known for having high expectations of those who worked with and for him, and was widely admired by his colleagues for pursuing cases with equal parts thoroughness and determination. Though he was best known for his tenacity, perhaps his greatest skill was being a good listener, absorbing each piece of evidence, and every testimony and statement and figuring out how he could use it to better his case.

“When he became a member of the Association’s 50-Year Club in 2004, Richard reflected on the concept of aging, noting that ‘Living and feeling young is a state of mind.’ He went on to advise his colleagues: ‘Do not resist growing old, for many are denied the privilege. The law is full of uncertainties, and that’s what makes the law great. And it’s the uncertainties in the law that make for great lawyers.’

“Richard was a giant in our community, and he will be deeply missed.”

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