On Tuesday, June 27, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reprimanded attorney David M. Schlachter for commingling funds and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of David M. Schlachter,” with case no. 087489.

The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(d) and 8.1(b) which states:

Failure to comply with the recordkeeping requirements of Rule 1:21-6.

Failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

In a decision dated September 13, 2022, it was stated that the respondent has been suspended for six months for violating ethical rules, including commingling funds and failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities. The disciplinary stipulation reveals the respondent’s pattern of misconduct, including using attorney trust account funds for inappropriate purposes, failing to provide requested financial records, and missing deadlines to produce essential documents. Despite multiple warnings and extensions, Hildebrand repeatedly failed to meet his obligations, leading to his suspension.

The Decision states:

“Respondent, however, failed to provide the OAE with monthly ATA statements; separate, detailed ATA receipts and disbursements journals;3 and separate client ledger cards, as R. 1:21-6(c)(1)(A), (B) and (G) require. Moreover, the respondent failed to provide his ABA receipts and disbursements in separate, detailed journals, as R. 1:21-6(c)(1)(A) requires. Finally, the respondent failed to provide the required doctor’s letter and his reply to the grievance.”

The Decision continues:

“Additionally, the OAE requested that the respondent complete an “Attorney Bank Account Disclosure Form[,]” which required that the respondent disclose all bank accounts that he had maintained in connection with his practice of law. On September 23, 2019, the respondent provided the OAE with the same set of deficient ATA and ABA records included in his September 13, 2019 correspondence to the OAE. Additionally, although respondent provided four purported client ledger cards, the ledger cards failed to specify the source of the deposited funds, adequate descriptions of charges or withdrawals from the client accounts, and the names of all persons to whom such client funds were disbursed, as R. 1:21-6(c)(1)(B) requires.”

The Decision further states:

“Based on the foregoing facts, the respondent stipulated that he violated RPC 8.1(b) by repeatedly failing to comply with the OAE’s numerous requests for his financial records and for his written reply to the grievance. Although the respondent ultimately provided some of the requested financial records, he stipulated that he failed to provide his December 2019 (1) three-way ATA reconciliations; (2) ATA statement; (3) client ledger cards; and (4) ATA and ABA receipts and disbursements journals. Moreover, the respondent stipulated that he failed to provide a schedule of open client balances to be reconciled against his most recent ATA statement, as the OAE requested in its November 15, 2019 letter.”

The Supreme Court of New Jersey reprimanded the respondent after considering the facts of the case.

The Disposition states:

“It is ORDERED that David M. Schlachter is hereby reprimanded, and it is further ORDERED that the respondent shall submit to the Office of Attorney Ethics (l) proof of a completed recordkeeping course pre-approved by the Office of Attorney Ethics, within sixty days of this order, (2) all outstanding previously requested financial records within thirty days, and (3) monthly reconciliations of his attorney accounts, on a quarterly basis, for a two-year period.”

Mr. Schlachter practices in Passaic, New Jersey. He is licensed in New Jersey. His info can be found on avvo.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.