MEMPHIS, Tenn — A longtime Memphis attorney was convicted Thursday of stealing a client’s $150,000 check she was awarded in the settlement of a 2014 civil case, said Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich.
Paul Springer was convicted on the felony count of theft of property over $60,000. He will be sentenced in June.
According to testimony in the Criminal Court trial this week, Springer represented a woman in a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city. The case settled with the city agreeing to pay the woman $150,000.
Springer’s fee was one-third of the settlement. After litigation costs were deducted from the client’s remaining share, she was to receive $90,000. Springer picked up the check from the City Attorney’s Office in March of 2014, but he never informed his client. Instead, he kept the full amount.
The client received a payment from the Tennessee Lawyers Fund for Client Protection which is financed by annual registration fees from attorneys licensed to practice in Tennessee.
If the judge orders restitution and she receives it from the defendant, that payment must be returned to the client protection fund.
Springer, who still faces theft charges involving another client, was permanently disbarred in 2018 by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.
He was licensed in 2001 after graduating from the University of Memphis Law School.