The Private Client Yearbook 2012 – Book Review

 In Book Reviews for Private Client practitioners, Practice Management

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The Private Client Yearbook has recently been published and this year is edited by none other than a certain, Gill Steel.

The book itself has a broad coverage for the private client lawyer with seven split components namely Wills, Probate, Trusts, Tax, Elderly Client, Working in Practice and Charity. It has more than thirty five different articles from a series of experienced practitioners. Indeed, the contributors list reads like a “Who’s Who” of the Private Client field.


To illustrate the calibre of writer, it includes Peter Gausden, until recently, Principal lecturer at The College of Law, Ian Burman, head of the Private Client department of Laytons Solicitors, Penelope Reed QC, barrister at 5 Stone Buildings, John Darnston, partner at Bircham Dyson Bell LLP and Rebecca Benneyworth who is one of the most respected authors and lecturers in the taxation field. And the list goes on.

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With Gill editing, it is little wonder this publication is of the highest quality. Moreover as it is based on an advertising business model and is free, it genuinely does represent excellent value for the cash strapped law practice as it faces to prospect of extinction if you believe some of the more depressing legal press.

With this kind of structure, the book is one where it is easy to dip in and out and choose the relevant article for you. What I like about the book are the topical articles and the fact that the material is easy to read.


There are deliberate themes throughout the book, with contributors focusing on the cases of interest within the past twelve months, topical practice issues and an emphasis on what is called back to basics – for those who are not familiar with the fundamentals of private client law. As a consequence, Gill Steel has been able to give some kind of consistent structure despite the different number of authors and wide areas of law and practice covered.

Sections are colour coded to assist in determining the relevant section.  At a practical level it is useful that for each of the seven sections there is a roundup of the latest further reading. With the broad nature of the book and the emphasis on practicality, you will need to buy additional books to develop specialised knowledge.

Gill herself contributes with three articles, with perhaps one of the most relevant one for the private client field being the article on regulation of will writing. This is an area which is long over due for greater regulation due to the low price of wills and the increased fact that wills are more likely to be challenged.

Future development of the publication

The dilemma for the Yearbook as it looks forward to the 2013 edition and (indeed this is recognised in the introduction) is what does Private Client include? Therefore the publishers may want to include a section on care fees together with mediation for the next year.

The Private Client Yearbook 2012 is published by Barker Brooks Media Ltd and is free. For those interested in a copy, please contact –

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