Suicide in DC
Say Uncle notes a sad irony.
UPDATE: While doing oneself in is an overreaction to a layoff under any circumstances, I can guess at a context. He's head of the Supreme Court appellate section in a major DC law firm, so he's surely a partner or shareholder. I don't know how those sort of firms are set up, but odds are that "firing" a person in that status requires an extraordinary event... everyone agreeing to those rules knows that they could be used to fire themselves, too.
Odds are that there were some very nasty meetings, in which some very unpleasant things were said, and this being DC, he discovered that a lot of people he'd figured were friends were willing (when their own bottom line was the issue) to pitch him and the others over the side. Likely something like "you can take a 25% cut in your staggering pay, or knife these guys in the back." Or even "if he doesn't go, you might go, so form an alliance that screws him and lets you stay on." This might make things more understandable than if we treat it as he got laid off and did himself in.