2021 was another busy year for the attorneys in the Private Client and Family Office Practice Group. During the last six months of 2021 especially, the members of our group helped clients understand the numerous proposed changes to the tax laws and to complete transactions and planning before laws changed and before the end of the year.
We paused for a couple of deep breaths at the end of December to look back at the year we had just completed. We do this every year, and we always enjoy reflecting 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 newer professionals).
In 2021 we welcomed a record number of new clients and grew the Private Client and Family Office practice by nearly 15% over the prior year. In addition, several new members joined our practice group. We were delighted by and proud of the new and continuing recognitions we garnered in 2021 from our peers via national and international organizations such as Chambers, Best Lawyers® and Super Lawyers.
2021 brought challenges to our practice as well. A sad but inevitable part of working with multiple generations of families is dealing with the death of treasured clients and helping their families through such a difficult time. That we lost some additional clients to COVID-19 this year was even more difficult. Another challenge this year was the continuing difficulties in holding in-person meetings with clients and other professional advisors. While we know that video meetings, phone calls and emails will get the work done, we miss the personal connection and small talk that comes from meeting in person.
Especially challenging this year was the uncertainty regarding the tax landscape for high net worth individuals and families. We worked hard to keep you updated on the continually changing and often conflicting tax proposals coming out of Washington (sometimes a new proposal on multiple consecutive days) because we wanted you to have the best information possible while we worked together on important estate and tax planning, business planning, succession planning and other projects this year. We appreciate your understanding as we worked on your planning and transactions in an uncertain environment.
It appears for now that the proposals in Congress that were debated and negotiated starting in September have failed to gather sufficient support for passage. We will remain vigilant and continue to share in future blog posts any attempts to resurrect these or other proposals.
I also want to remind everyone of a basic truth that I told many of my clients during the last two years as tax proposals were on the horizon and being debated: Although many new trusts, gifts or other planning matters were initiated in 2020 and 2021 by clients concerned about potential changes in tax policies, in every single instance, the planning that was completed was good planning that the client needed to do anyway. The threat of tax law changes simply became the catalyst and motivation to dig in and do the necessary work. So even though the threat of tax law changes appears to have ended for now, consider whether your current plans and your family will benefit from further planning work.
So as we close the book on 2021, we are not focused on what made last year difficult, but rather on the good work that was done. We trust that the information that we shared, the conversations that we had with you and the work we completed with you gave you peace of mind as you and your family continue your journeys.
We also hope that, despite its challenges, this past year brought some good things for you and your family. As we move into 2022, we look forward to a year that feels more “normal,” which provides some clarity (and stability) to our tax laws, and which allows us to meet with you in person to help you achieve your legacy, wealth and charitable goals.
From the Private Client and Family Office Practice Group, we thank you for the opportunity to serve you in 2021, and we wish you the very best for this new year.