As we launch a new series on avoiding common errors in private client work, Gareth Marland explains why member feedback is crucial for the future development of PS

I am writing this comment piece in the wake of the referendum vote on membership of the European Union. When the editorial committee meets to discuss possible articles for the next edition of PS, we’ll undoubtedly be discussing the potential consequences of Brexit on private client law. Although uncertainty currently reigns, and it will be some time before we truly understand what the implications will be, rest assured that we will look to examine the consequences for our sector as they emerge.

Speaking of magazine content, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind members how much we appreciate your comments and constructive criticism. While the Private Client Section committee is a diverse group of private client solicitors from around the country, with expertise in all aspects of private client practice, we still find feedback from members invaluable.

In this issue, we launch our new series on how to avoid some of the common errors made in private client work, with Robert Marshall looking at drafting life interest trusts in wills (see pp 30-31) and the myriad complications that can arise if one does not approach them with care! The common errors series came about after member feedback, and I hope Robert’s and future articles in this series will prove useful.

The easiest way to give feedback on any aspect of the Section offering is via our Linkedin group, or, alternatively, via email to the Section product manager.

I’m sure, like my firm, your firm’s residential property departments have now settled down, after the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) changes caused a rush of completions pre-6 April. The planning points arising from the SDLT changes do take some thinking about, and Graham Poles’ article (see pp 8-10) addresses some of these key issues. An accountant I know recently described SDLT as the ‘forgotten tax’; given the potential rate increase, it’s more important than ever to check you’re up to date, and confirm to your client who is advising on this particular tax.

In my firm, we’ve used the SDLT changes as another reason to have training sessions with solicitors from across our private client, residential property and commercial property teams. While we all moaned about yet another rule change, the cross-departmental sessions were extremely valuable and I’m sure the benefits will be more than just an improved SDLT knowledge.

Sue Bramall’s excellent piece on maximising cross-selling opportunities in this edition (see pp 19-20) will hopefully give you some other ideas. I know that when I speak to practitioners in other firms, it’s clear that we all face difficulties with cross-selling. Too often we think marketing is simply about winning new clients – I’ve realised it can be just as valuable when targeted at our existing client base – it may even save you from asking for ID again!

Finally, I would urge you all to read Gary Rycroft’s report on the National Mental Capacity Forum (see p 6). You’ll see that the Private Client Section is well-represented in this forum, providing valuable feedback and ensuring our voices are heard.