Jones, Beth E. Westfall, Jeffrey A. Rachel A. Abbott, Brady L. Begeal, Keith A. Gorgos, Zachary D. Morahan, and Nathan D. All rights reserved. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Contact Us When his clients complained that they had not received the proceeds of their settlements, Mr.
Schlesinger responded with a litany of excuses. Schlesinger wrote in another email to Mr. Lawler, 63, said that now, four years after the settlement was reached, he had not yet received a penny. Schlesinger admitted to the judge, William H. Pauley III, that he had improperly withheld money from settlements since and had used it for his personal benefit.
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Several former clients watched silently in the courtroom as Mr. Schlesinger pleaded guilty to the fraud charge, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Richman said Mr. Schlesinger had decided to plead guilty because he wanted to see his former clients repaid. Richman said. Schlesinger is also no longer practicing law. Last year, after a lawyer disciplinary committee moved for his immediate suspension, he agreed to surrender his law license and was disbarred. But his case has put a harsh spotlight on the process of discipline for lawyers in New York, which is conducted in total secrecy until a public sanction, like a suspension or disbarment, is imposed.
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In Mr. It could not be learned when the disciplinary authorities began receiving complaints against Mr. Several months before the committee opened its investigation in September , for example, it received — but did not pursue — a complaint from a Queens resident. New York court officials, citing confidentiality laws governing investigations into misconduct by lawyers, declined to say when the committee had received its first complaint against Mr.
Schlesinger, how many complaints were filed or what they alleged. Many questions remain about Mr. Schlesinger earned his law degree from Fordham University in and joined a small law firm, where he eventually became a partner with a prominent personal injury lawyer, Alfred Julien. Their firm continued to bear both of their names after Mr. Lawyers who had worked at the firm either declined to be interviewed for this article or did not respond to messages seeking comment.
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Forstadt said. When Mr.
His wife, Linda Schlesinger, a real estate agent, and a first cousin, Stephen Lefkowitz, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, signed the bond as guarantors. Lefkowitz recalled. Lefkowitz, 78, said that although he had known Mr. The lawyer disciplinary committee, one of a number of such panels run by the state court system, has said that Mr. The motion was released last year after he was disbarred. The two clients complained that Mr.
But the committee had in fact received an earlier complaint, involving a larger unpaid settlement, which it decided not to pursue. In June , Albin F. Luczak of Queens complained to the committee that Mr. Luczak said in an interview that he had been the victim of medical negligence during a root canal that had required him to undergo several surgical procedures, including the removal of muscle in his neck. Schlesinger sued on his behalf and settled the case in fall Under a retainer agreement, Mr.
Schlesinger took his legal fee.
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But despite repeated requests, Mr. Luczak said, Mr. Schlesinger did not send him his share.
Luczak recalled that when he and his wife visited Mr. In March , Mr.
After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the problem through phone calls and emails, Mr.
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