New York’s Appellate Division, 1st Department, has disbarred an attorney for misusing and mishandling clients’ funds, despite a hearing panel’s recommendation of a three-year suspension.

“This Court considers it well settled, virtually without exception and absent extreme mitigating circumstances, that attorneys such as respondent who have intentionally converted client funds have committed serious professional [mis]conduct which warrants the sanction of disbarment … regardless of any intent to restore the funds or the actual restoration of funds,” the unanimous panel held in its per curiam decision, Matter of Douglas P. Schmell, M-2243.

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