Thursday, April 30, 2009

Legal Community

Even though I know there are millions of lawyers in the world and that people make jokes about there being too many, to an extent, the legal profession does feel like tight-knit community. Maybe it is the common experiences of law school, maybe it is because we have similar personal traits, or maybe it is because we all know someone who knows someone. So when something happens to a lawyer, it hits close to home.

Today the news reported that a lawyer working at a DC firm committed suicide in his office because he was being laid off. Although these stories are becoming sadly more common, there was something about this story that resonated with us. He was the head of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at his law firm overseeing sixty lawyers, was a deputy assistant attorney general, and had argued sixteen cases in front of the Supreme Court. That is a resume that most law students could only dream of or at least respect.

I think it makes many us wonder too if something else was going on. How could someone this accomplished be let go? Is this really how firms just treat people? Why would he kill himself if he could probably get another job or just retire? Are lawyers this consumed with their jobs and reputations?

It is just an unnerving feeling when something so tragic happens to someone who you feel like you could know or work with. It is the same kind of feeling as when the Vietnamese man killed thirteen people and himself in Binghamton, NY. Just so sad.

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