“Back to school” has a very different meaning in the coronavirus-wracked America of 2020 than in previous years. While lawyer-parents had hoped that the end of the previous school year also meant an end to juggling work while overseeing virtual education, in the vast majority of cases their children will again be doing at least some of their learning remotely.

But compared with March, when abrupt school shutdowns forced adjustments on the fly, firms now have the ability to be more deliberate in addressing and easing the anxiety of associates, younger partners and staff who face this dual burden. They’re responding with partnerships with organizations devoted to supporting children and parents, heightened roles for internal parents groups, and—in some cases—a message that no one should worry about missing billable-hours targets.

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