Appellate Division, First Department
Decided on October 11, 2012
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.
Rolando T. Acosta,Justice Presiding, Dianne T. Renwick Leland G. DeGrasse Helen E. Freedman Rosalyn H. Richter,Justices.
IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT A. SCHACHTER, AN ATTORNEY
Respondent Robert A. Schachter was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on October 22, 1975 under the name Robert Alan Schachter. At all times relevant to these proceedings, respondent maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee now seeks an order pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(iii) suspending respondent from the practice of law based upon uncontested evidence of professional misconduct that immediately threatens the public interest. Respondent's counsel has submitted an affidavit consenting to an interim suspension.
The Committee commenced an investigation into respondent's professional conduct upon receipt of a letter dated September 21, 2009, from Ronald B. Goldman, the managing partner of respondent's law firm, in which it alleged that respondent had misappropriated at least $96,000 in funds belonging to the firm for his own benefit and without permission. According to the firm, when respondent was confronted with the evidence of the diversion of firm funds, he acknowledged his conduct and admitted that it was improper and inappropriate.
In addition, the firm discovered that in June 2009, after respondent settled a client matter, the firm was to receive a modified fee of $26,500, but respondent diverted $9,957.11 of the fee for his personal use. Again, when respondent was confronted with the evidence, he admitted to diverting a portion of the firm's fees.
The firm also discovered that in late 2008, respondent received a $5,000 cash retainer from a client which he did not pay over to the firm. When confronted, respondent advised the firm that he had forgotten to do so. In a March 13, 2012 supplemental letter to the Committee, the firm stated that it discovered that another client had sent a check for $5,410 as a retainer fee, but the firm has no record of ever receiving payment. The client file indicated that respondent ...