The New York Daily News by Barbara Ross Tembeckjian - February 9, 2012
Michael Zulandt 'engaged in a calculated pattern of cruelty' vs. girlfriend and deserves long suspension, judges say
After suspension, Michael Zulandt won't be working in a courtroom — as a lawyer, anyway — for at least three years. A young Manhattan lawyer who spent six months in jail for assaulting his girlfriend four years ago was himself smacked Thursday — with a three-year suspension of his license. Judges in the Appellate Division in Manhattan rejected a 60-day suspension recommended by a panel of lawyers. They said Michael Zulandt, 32, “engaged in a calculated pattern of cruelty” in October 2007 when he smacked his girlfriend repeatedly. “The seriousness of (his) conduct warrants a three-year suspension,” the judges said in an opinion released Thursday. Police said Zulandt got furious with his girlfriend in her East Village apartment. He "repeatedly struck her with a closed fist," kicked her, put his hands around her throat and threw her on her coach when she tried to leave, broke her nose and screamed "I want you dead. I want you killed." They said during his tirade, Zulandt also grabbed a hammer, smashed her $3,500 Cartier watch, ruined her $1,000 purse by filling it with water, poured oil on her $1,500 couch and ripped into artwork with a pen before ripping her intercom off the wall and snatching her cell phone. Although he was charged with kidnapping and multiple counts of burglary, he was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge on Christmas Eve 2008. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel gave him a 10 month sentence at Rikers and ordered $8,272 in restitution. He was released after serving six of the 10 months. Zulandt, who was a Cravath Swaine & Moore associate at the time of the inciden, testified before the disciplinary panel. He took responsibility for his actions, said he 'always had a temper' and had been in therapy for it since his arrest, according to the court decision. The panel also heard from his therapist who said Zulandt had an "intermittent explosive disorder." A referee who heard the testimony recommended a 60 day suspension because Zulandt has "already paid a heavy price." He is no longer with Cravath where he worked on two pro bono teams that won awards in 2007 from the Legal Aid Society for work defending the rights of homeless families and mentally ill inmates about to be released from prison.