Laura Clarke is living the dream.
She always wanted to move to the Lake District.
But she didn’t want to sacrifice her career development.
Now, on a journey which has taken her via Everest Base Camp, she’s ended up with the best of both worlds after landing a job with leading legal firm Cartmell Shepherd, a member of the innovative UK200 Group.
Laura and her partner Dan had been living in Teddington, in south-west London, for the last five years, having both moved down south many years before that.
Laura had a law degree from the University of East Anglia, but switched to finance early in her career, working at Merrill Lynch and UBS.
It was eight years down the line working in finance that she decided: “this is not for me. I got my law degree for a reason.”
So Laura went back into the legal profession.
Her experience is in Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Administration of Estates.
She is studying towards qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive in Private Client.
A change of career also opened up the possibility of a change of location.
“I have been coming to the Lake District since I was two or three years old. Most of our family holidays were to the Lakes,” said Laura.
“We have friends who live in the Lakes. And Dan and I were spending more and more time coming up here.
“For the last seven years it’s always been the place we’ve wanted to be.
“But for Dan, still working in finance, it was very difficult to make the move and be anywhere else in the UK other than London.”
When circumstances changed at Dan’s work, and the opportunity arose to leave, that was the perfect chance for the couple to make the break and follow their dreams.
They’ve only been based in Cockermouth for a few weeks and they are pinching themselves at how lucky they are.
“We love the outdoors and hiking. We are big walkers. Dan does a lot of running and ultra-events. We love wild swimming at the moment too. It’s very difficult to do that down south!” said Laura.
“We know Suzanna Cruickshank and we’ve been out with her a lot. It’s so accessible to enjoy wild swimming here, Crummock Water being only ten minutes away. You just don’t have the chance to do that in London.
“It can be the little things as well. Dan is enjoying going to the individual shops in Cockermouth, the butcher, the greengrocers and the baker, for fresh food. It’s just a much more enjoyable, less stressful, way to live.”
Laura is also loving her job as an executive in Cartmell Shepherd’s Private Client department, working out of its West Cumbria office at Dovenby Hall, just outside Cockermouth.
“Cartmell Shepherd is a great company to work for. They are exactly the same to work for on the inside as they appear from the outside.
“They are a highly regarded law firm, experts in their field, and very good at what they do.
“They offer the same expertise and level of advice as any leading law firm in the country. Our clients are getting the best possible advice and the best levels of customer service.
“But the team at Cartmell Shepherd are also super friendly people as well. They were really supportive of me making the move. I accepted the job in February but couldn’t move up until May. They were great with me during that period and when I joined they immediately made me feel very welcome.”
Laura is looking to throw herself into the local community. She’s already joined a running club and is regularly attending events at the Kirkgate Arts Centre.
The couple also hope to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors and tackling the 214 Wainwrights together.
They are no strangers to mountains. Dan is used to climbing mountains all over the world. They’ve even both trekked together to Everest Base Camp!
Laura wanted to do a trek in the Himalayas that they could do together, and had always wanted to see Everest and the surrounding mountains up close.
So two years ago her and Dan trekked from Lukla to Everest Base Camp at 5380m.
“It was an incredible experience,” she said.
“We actually met our really good friends, who live in Tallentire, just outside of Cockermouth, on this trip, and have stayed in touch ever since!”.
Now those friends are only a stone’s throw away. And even counting having been almost to the top of the world, Laura is happy to say that moving to the Lake District, and joining
Cartmell Shepherd, is the best move, and best decision, she has ever made.