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Hogan Lovells partner told colleague he would kill himself the day before he did it

Posted Sep 12, 2013 2:17 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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David Latham, a trademark attorney at Hogan Lovells in London, told a fellow law partner he was going to kill himself the day before threw himself under a subway train.

“But not one of us said 'My God, he is near to the edge of suicide,’ " partner Nicholas MacFarlane said, according to the Daily Mail. “When he said he was going to kill himself, it was a flippant comment and unfortunately no one took any notice of it.”

Gillian Webb, Latham’s widow, told the Westminster Coroner's Court at an inquest that Hogan and Lovells should have done more to help her husband. She said that Latham had complained of not being supported at work.

According to Webb, her husband was concerned because a client testified about evidence that was not in an affidavit.

“He was upset, and had to go back and rewrite the affidavit and submit it to the court.”

Webb spoke about the couple’s Valentine’s Day dinner, which was the night before Latham killed himself. She said their meal at Claridge's—a five-star hotel—was interrupted by numerous work calls.

She also mentioned vacation plans they had made for shortly after Latham died, and his promises to take her shoe shopping and to the opera.

But “he had trouble sleeping at night for several weeks,” she said. “I saw him staring into space at times, and even the children noticed it at weekends.”

MacFarlane described Latham as a “perfectionist,” according to the article, who was very worried about his case having evidence problems.

Lawyers at the firm repeatedly reassured Latham he’d done nothing wrong, McFarlane said. Also, he stated that Hogan Lovells “is actively looking at how to give support to stressed lawyers.”

Latham, 58, was the father of three, and Cambridge educated. He joined Hogan Lovells in 1986, and had spent many years running the firm's New York office.

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