Gary Rycroft reflects on another successful annual conference, as he plans to step down from the Section committee after 10 years of service

The Private Client Section’s annual conference was once again a record-breaker in terms of the number of attendees, and delegates were spoilt for choice with the varied breakout sessions to choose from. I am grateful to members of the Section’s advisory committee who helped organise the conference, and also to the Law Society staff who make it such a landmark event in the year.

For me, the annual conference epitomises what the Private Client Section seeks to do for its members

For me, a personal highlight of the conference was meeting Baroness Butler-Sloss, who before she was appointed as a crossbench peer, had a trailblazing legal career, which included becoming the first woman appointed as the Lord Justice of Appeal. Baroness Butler-Sloss gave an insightful review of the law on assisted suicide (or assisted dying, depending on which side of the debate you find yourself on) and how she envisaged the law might develop over the next five years. The Baroness made it very clear that she was not a supporter of Lord Falconer’s 2014 Assisted Dying Bill, and would be opposed to any proposed legislation on similar terms. However, she gave a balanced and thoughtful speech that considered both sides of the argument.

I reflected afterwards that while it is unlikely that in my own practice in Lancaster I would ever deal with a case at the cutting edge of the assisted dying / assisted suicide debate, it was nevertheless fascinating to hear such an eminent lawyer talk through the issues and to gain a greater understanding of the legal dimensions.

For me, the annual conference epitomises what the Private Client Section seeks to do for its members in terms of bringing like-minded professionals together, offering informal peer support, sharing best practice and problems, and learning more about our specialist area of law in a friendly and welcoming environment.

My own tenure on the Private Client Section advisory committee is about to draw to a close. My last meeting as a member of the committee will be this month. I was first elected to the committee in 2007, becoming vice-chair in 2009 and chair in 2015. I have enjoyed my time immensely throughout, particularly the camaraderie and friendship between members of the committee and the Law Society staff who we work with. However, after 10 years, I have decided to step down in order to spend more time at my own firm, where I recently became senior partner – a dubious honour, perhaps! I thought I owed it to my younger partners to be there more often to support them. I also recently took on about two-thirds of an acre of garden. As the autumn approaches. I am looking forward to spending more time in Lancaster, either in my office or garden, but I wish my colleagues on the committee all the best as they navigate the Section forward, onwards and upwards.