In a horrendous tragedy resulting from the recession in the legal profession, a 59-year-old lawyer with Kilpatrick Stockton who was due to lose his job for economic reasons was found dead in his Washington office this morning. He shot himself in the head, according to police.
Mark I. Levy was discovered by a co-worker about 8 a.m. in his 11th-floor office at Kilpatrick Stockton, in the 600 block of 14th Street NW, police said. They said evidence indicates that Levy shot himself in the head with a .38-caliber handgun.
The firm, headquartered in Atlanta, had no comment on his death today beyond a statement calling him a "highly respected" colleague and offering condolences to his family. He was a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration.
Kilpatrick Stockton, which employs scores of people in offices in the United States, Europe and the United Arab Emirates, announced Tuesday that 24 lawyers would be laid off.
According to the Washington Post, police learned that Levy had been told that he was among those being let go, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the case. Stockton Kilpatrick's Web site says Levy was head of the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy Practice.
The Post said Levy's layoff was effective today and he was given four months of severance pay.
Diane Prucino, a co-managing partner of the century-old firm in Atlanta, confirmed the layoffs Tuesday in a statement quoted by the Fulton County Daily Report.
"These actions are driven by the economic downturn," she said, adding that the belt-tightening at Kilpatrick Stockton was "structured to further the long-term success of the firm and to enhance the achievement of our strategic goals."
The Post reported that Levy left a note in his home, saying he loved his family and instructing his wife on how to handle finances and other matters. He apparently had spent some time recently getting his affairs in order. Levy's teenage son found the note this morning and called Montgomery County police. An officer was at the home when someone called from the law firm. The officer spoke with the caller, and learned of the suicide. The Montgomery officer then broke the news to the family, according to the source.
Computer records show that Levy swiped his entrance card to get into the building at 607 14th Street from a parking garage about 5:30 a.m., the source said, adding that Levy was the registered owner of the handgun.
According to his biography on the firm's Web site, Levy, a Yale Law School graduate, joined the Justice Department in 1993 as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division, overseeing 60 lawyers handling appellate litigation. He argued 16 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court during his career, the Web site says.