Allegations fly in highly-public clash between former Latham & Watkins lawyer and Weil Gotshal associate
Anthony Zappin (pictured above left), 30, formerly of global giant Latham & Watkins, are locked in a bitter US legal battle with his wife, Weil Gotshal & Manges associate Claire Comfort. The couple married in 2013.
Comfort (pictured above right), 32, wants custody of the couple’s two year-old son and has instructed a legal team accordingly. However, Zappin — a patent law specialist like his soon-to-be ex-wife — has opted to represent himself, which has so far yielded disastrous results.
Back in September, Zappin was slapped with a $10,000 (£6,500) fine for his court conduct. The New York Law Journal reported that the lawyer appeared to have attached a handwritten note to a court document stating “you’re pathetic! (Judicial Complaint forthcoming)”, while also telling another judge, “I am tired of these lies coming from you on the record. It’s lie after lie after lie that comes out of your mouth.”
Justice Matthew Cooper described the ex-Latham & Watkins man as having…
…done everything in his power to undermine the legal process and use his law license as a tool to threaten, bully and intimidate, seriously calling into question his fitness to practice law.
Continuing his criticism of Zappin, Cooper added:
More often than not, it is a problem when lawyers choose to represent themselves in their own lawsuits as a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.
As news of the bench-slap hit media outlets across the US in late September, Zappin’s employers at the time — Boston-headquartered law firm Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo — quickly cut ties with him, opting to terminate his contract.
Since then, it has got even worse for Zappin, who is continuing to represent himself for what he says are financial reasons.
According to the New York Post, testimony was heard in court last week in the latest round of the bitter divorce battle alleging that Zappin was fired from US outfit Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in 2013, prior to him joining Latham & Watkins.
While it’s not clear why he allegedly got the boot, the explosive testimony of Comfort claimed that Zappin attempted to set up an account on the recently-hacked illicit encounters website Ashley Madison. Using his former boss’ details, he apparently hoped to get revenge for his dismissal.
The court also heard that the divorcing couple — who both attended the prestigious Columbia University Law School — have made serious allegations of violence towards each other.
According to evidence given by Dr Alan Ravitz, also reported by the New York Post, Comfort claimed that Zappin abused her while she was 39 weeks pregnant with their son.
Dr Ravitz told the court that Comfort had alleged:
He [Zappin] got angry and slapped me. He hit my glasses, he hit my head a couple of times. He grabbed my hand hard and hit my stomach with the car keys.
Zappin — who vehemently denies the allegations — argues it was actually Comfort who used violence towards him, reading out a text he apparently sent to her saying:
Why am I being so mean? Because you’re a f**king lunatic who clawed the s**t out of my face and bit my d**k.
Zappin and Comfort both underwent court ordered psychological tests. According to Dr Ravitz, the results concluded that while Zappin was “narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive and histrionic”, Comfort “had low self-confidence” and “an automatic need to obey others who assert authority.”
The case continues.