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Reportedly Laid-Off Lawyer Is an Apparent Suicide at Kilpatrick Stockton

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A lawyer who reportedly was laid off earlier this week at Kilpatrick Stockton apparently committed suicide this morning at the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

Mark Levy, a 59-year-old Yale Law School graduate who headed the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate advocacy practice group, died this morning at the firm’s office, according to an e-mailed statement from the firm’s co-managing partner and a report in Legal Times. Levy also worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as a senior political appointee during the Clinton administration.

The firm doesn’t address Levy’s cause of death, but Legal Times indicates that he committed suicide, citing a metropolitan police report that a male committed suicide this morning in the same Washington, D.C., block. According to Above the Law, the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.

In a recent update, Above the Law, citing unidentified sources, also says Levy, who served as counsel at the firm, was among 24 Kilpatrick Stockton attorneys whose pending layoffs were announced by the firm earlier this week. A subsequent Washington Post article, citing an unidentified law enforcement official, confirms that Levy had been told he would be let go.

An e-mail sent to Levy this morning produced this auto-reply message: “As of April 30, 2009, I can no longer be reached. If your message relates to a firm matter, please contact my secretary … . If it concerns a personal matter, please contact my wife … . Thanks.”

His body was discovered at about 8 a.m. by a co-worker in his 11th-floor office, apparently shot with a .38-caliber handgun of which Levy was the registered owner. Today was to have been his last day, although he was to receive four months of severance pay, the Post reports, citing an unidentified source.

“The source said Levy left a note in his home, saying he loved his family and instructing his wife on how to handle finances and other matters,” the newspaper writes. His teenage son found the note this morning and a Montgomery County police officer was in the home and broke the news to the family when someone called from Kilpatrick Stockton to report his death.

In an updated statement to the ABA Journal this afternoon, co-managing partner Bill Dorris said, “With sadness we confirm that Kilpatrick Stockton attorney Mark Levy died this morning. Mark Levy was well known and highly respected for his successful appearances before the Supreme Court of the United States. We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Out of respect for his family, we cannot offer additional comments at this time.”

Levy argued 16 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to Levy’s Kilpatrick Stockton biography (PDF), which has since been removed from the firm’s site.

Above the Law initially broke the news of Levy’s death. The law blog published two e-mails informing building occupants that the police department was responding to an unconscious male with a gunshot wound to the head on the 11th floor of the law firm.

Levy spent five years in the solicitor general’s office of the U.S. Justice Department, serving as a staff lawyer under Samuel Alito Jr. during the Reagan administration, according to the Washington Post. Levy was also deputy assistant attorney general for appellate matters in the Justice Department’s civil division.

Related coverage: “Lawyer Personalities May Contribute to Increased Suicide Risk”

Updated at 3:27 p.m. to include additional information from Kilpatrick Stockton, Above the Law and the Washington Post; last updated at 4:01 p.m. to include additional information from most recent Washington Post article.

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