At the end of each year, the Private Client and Family Office Practice Group looks back at the year we have just completed. Usually we enjoy the opportunity to reflect on the client goals and objectives we have helped to achieve, the interesting projects we have handled and the professional growth this work has enabled (especially for our more junior professionals). And the new year is also an opportunity to review the recognition of our attorneys and the practice that our peers have given us.
All of this was true for 2020. As we closed out 2020, the members of our PCFO practice were extraordinarily busy helping dozens of clients complete transactions and implement sophisticated, creative planning. We are also pleased by and proud of the recognitions we garnered in 2020 from our peers via national and international organizations such as Chambers, Best Lawyers® and Super Lawyers.
However, as we look back at 2020, we can’t help but think about how different this past year has been for us and our clients.
Because of the personal nature of our work, we forge close bonds with the families that we serve. Losing clients is a sad, but inevitable part of the practices of our trusts and estates attorneys, but the loss of clients to COVID-19 has made this year especially difficult.
Even when clients have remained healthy throughout the pandemic, because we enjoy the personal connections we have with our clients, we have found it frustrating to be unable to meet with clients in person, see them around town or chat with them at events of shared interest. Many of you have shared that you feel the same way, and we truly appreciate the understanding you have shown as we have had to shift our communication to other methods.
Like you, we have persevered and figured out how to live and work in a socially-distant environment—not that we have liked all of these changes. We work often in teams, and our offices are normally active, collaborative places—places we enjoy coming to work at each day. Being sent home to work in solitude left many of us feeling a sense of loss of community. Luckily, this feeling of loss was mitigated somewhat as we ramped up our phone calls, emails, and text and instant messages, and began using Zoom, Teams and FaceTime to connect with you and with each other so we could work as the seamless teams that you expect from us.
We understand how important it was for many of you to continue to engage in estate and tax planning, business planning, succession planning, family meetings and other necessary projects this year. We deeply appreciate the flexibility you showed in switching from in-person meetings to video conference meetings, and we especially enjoyed getting to meet the family pets who decided to join you during our video calls. We also enjoyed the challenge of helping our client families figure out new ways to hold family meetings and figure out how to be “together” even though they had to stay apart.
While we are not sad to see 2020 come to a close, we are not focusing on what made the year so difficult, but rather on the good work that was done. Instead of dwelling on what kept us apart, we are remembering how everyone came together in a new way to support each other, how we teamed up to remove obstacles to getting work done, and how our relationships with you and with each other have been sustained through the challenges we have overcome. We hope you have seen and experienced these same things in your lives during this past year. We also hope that our communications with you and the work we did helped you reach your legacy, wealth and charitable goals.
As we move into 2021, we look forward to a day (we hope soon) when we will again be able to gather around a table with you for a meeting or a meal, to foster our understanding of your goals and objectives, to implement the planning you engaged in during 2020, and to develop creative new planning to adapt to this ever-changing world in which we live. From the Private Client and Family Office Practice Group, we thank you for the opportunity to serve you in 2020, and we wish you the best for this new year.