At the time of his death he was of counsel at Covington & Burling.
Before that he had been a litigation partner at the collapsed Dewey & LeBoeuf. As that law firm was on a downward trajectory it was the setting for severe turmoil and stress.
Associated with Dewey & LeBoeuf was Freeling's complaint against Barclays. It was dismissed in 2016. That concerned the $361,022 balance of his loan to fund his owner status in Dewey & LeBoeuf. The iconic law firm Boies Schiller Flexner represented Barclays.
Here are details of Freeling's career narrated by lawyer-journalist Kathryn Rubino at Abovethelaw.com. Rubino has been voice of empathy at that legal news site.
One issue which seizes us is the reality that suicide is pervasive in the legal community. A few years ago there was even the cluster phenomenon of suicides among Kentucky lawyers.
There are all sorts of theories about the underlying causes. They range from the lack of control lawyers have in the legal system to underlying depression and anxiety often self-medicated with alcohol and drugs.
So far, the efforts to prevent lawyer suicides have not seemed to be effective - at least not enough. In a Connecticut recovery group, an insurance-company lawyer shot himself dead after his third DUI.
The other issue is whether there is such an entity as a suicide gene. In 2013, Freeling's son Samuel committed suicide.
In the Plath family both mother Sylvia and son Nicholas committed suicide.
The Hemingway family signature is suicide. It is both romantic and scary. The most recent victim had been model Margaux Hemingway.
Going way back to our roots in Eastern Europe, too many in my family have managed to end their lives early. I am puzzled how I made it beyond 60.
Of course, there are many respected books on suicide. Among them is Kay Jamison's "Night Falls Fast." She is a professor at Johns Hopkins. She herself made a serious attempt at suicide. Here you can order it from Amazon.
A more recent reflection on suicide is by Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan who committed suicide at Columbine high school after slaughtering fellow students and a teacher. Her book is "A Mother's Reckoning." Here you can order it from Amazon.
Sue's advice for other parents is this: Be alert for subtle signs. Yes, in nuanced ways Dylan had been behaving a bit differently. She and her husband Tom were planning to press him as to what was going on inside him.
That advice, Sue notes, has saved the lives of teenagers. One mother told Sue that such a recommendation gave her the courage to press her daughter. She pressed and pressed. The child had been a little off. Finally it came out: The child has sneaked out and gotten raped. She was planning her suicide.
Freeling's death should alert families and colleagues of lawyers to pick up on subtle signs of alienation, shame and despair.
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