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These are hard times for most people who work at big law firms. For some, they are unbearable. The suicide in late April of Mark Levy, a 59-year-old lawyer at Kilpatrick Stockton who reportedly had just been laid off, was a horrible reminder of the toll that the stresses of this profession can take, especially in the ailing economy. A week after Levy died, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett acknowledged that an associate who had been let go had also taken her life.

A suicide is a deeply individual tragedy. Still, in the wake of these deaths, and other jarring events in the profession, it’s time for lawyers at big firms to reassess their priorities and values. You just can’t keep going like this.

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