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Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Death and Dying in the Age of Coronavirus

The Mid-Market Report

We are in the age of coronavirus. The global death toll has exceeded 510,000 people. Law firms have closed offices, communicated exposures and COVID-19 diagnoses of attorneys and staff, furloughed and laid-off employees, and reopened offices in the next normal of physical distancing.

Most law firms also have provided education to their clients, colleagues, and prospects about the legal matters relating to the pandemic and how it has affected every practice area and industry.

What about bereavement policies, estate planning and behavioral health resources? After reaching out to in-house legal marketers in midsize, Am Law 100 and Am Law 200 firms, I found that few firms have updated their bereavement policies or offered paid estate planning services (or stipends) to their employees.

Bereavement Policies During Coronavirus

Dealing with death and dying is difficult enough during normal times; add to that physical distancing, gathering restrictions, and health risks to the caregivers and survivors, and it has gotten exponentially harder. Emery Richards of Blank Rome said, “How employers support employees through the loss of a loved one has an indelible impact on the lives of employees, the work environment, and the organization’s integrity. Bereavement leave policies address the unprecedented circumstances created by the mounting, tragic toll of COVID-19, providing support to employees at the time when they need it most. Although bereavement leave policies are not legally required in most jurisdictions in the United States, most U.S. employers offer some amount of paid bereavement leave.”

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“Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Death and Dying in the Age of Coronavirus,” by Gina F. Rubel was published in The Mid-Market Report on July 24, 2020.