Kansas Lawyer Disbarred for Stealing

gavelThe Kansas Supreme Court has disbarred an Overland Park lawyer after finding he committed professional misconduct.

The court issued its disbarment order Friday in the case against Michael Clay Schnittker.  The order says Schnittker “systematically stole” more than $150,000 that belonged to his law firm over a three-year period.

According to court document: in late 2003 or early 2004, Mr Schnittker formed a law partnership with Thomas H. Sullivan with the agreement that all earned attorney fees be deposited into the firm’s operating account.  The firm paid the overhead expenses and other expenses from the operating account.  After the expenses were paid, the remaining funds were distributed to each partner based upon the percentage of fees brought in by each partner.

Beginning in 2009, Mr. Schnittker began to deposit earned attorney fees paid by clients into his personal account rather than into the firm’s operating account.  He only stopped after his law partner discovered discrepancies in the firm’s financial records.

A forensic accountant hired by Sullivan to conduct a thorough review [of] the firm’s books discovered that Schnittker had taken more than $150,000 in earned attorney fees that should have gone into the partnership account.