Julian has found career success at “forward-thinking” Cartmell Shepherd

Julian has found career success at “forward-thinking” Cartmell Shepherd

Julian Nelson, Head of Family Law at Cartmell Shepherd, lives in the countryside near Brampton.

Julian has never regretted her decision to return to Cumbria to take on a job at Cartmell Shepherd, the law firm she describes as “the best” in Cumbria.


After graduating with a Law degree from The University of Sheffield and completing her Law Society Finals in Chester, Julian returned to her home county of Cumbria to begin her legal career.

“At the time of applying for jobs, I wasn’t going to come back to Cumbria,” she said. “I wanted to go to Newcastle, a big city, after living in cities - but I got cold feet when I was applying for jobs because of the low salaries they paid.

“I was offered a job at a large firm in Newcastle and one at Cartmell Shepherd, and opted for the role at Cartmell Shepherd as I liked them and I could see they were a good reputable firm.

“I lived at home for six months and then got a flat in Carlisle. I loved the job and was given really good, thorough training by people who were real experts. It’s always been a great place to work.”

Over the years, Julian developed professional networks with other young lawyers and professionals and grew her promising career with the support of Cartmell Shepherd.

“I was the only trainee in Carlisle in my year,” she said. “However, the following year, there were three or four of us, our circle grew. I’ve been really pleased I made the decision to come to Cartmell Shepherd and never regretted the decision as I really enjoy the job.

“At that time, there was a lot of chauvinism in law, but at Cartmell Shepherd there was a woman partner and another female assistant solicitor. The firm has always been very forward thinking and very open and welcoming to women here. 

“There have been no barriers in my career progression. In fact, the majority of our Directors are now female which bucks the national trend.

“Cartmell Shepherd gave me flexibility when I started a family and they were very accommodating. I’ve stayed with the firm over the years as I got a great legal education and I started my career at the best firm in Cumbria and the North West.

“We are a friendly family orientated firm and our employees’ wellbeing is very important to us. You don’t always get that level of personal support and development in larger national firms.

“My workload is just as varied and complicated and interesting as anywhere else and I’d have been moving to step down if I had left Cartmell Shepherd.”

Julian now heads up the Family Law team and finds it very rewarding to help her clients through challenging times in their lives.  She is a nationally recognised expert in family law.

“I work with people at an emotional and complicated time of their lives and it’s rewarding to form a relationship with people and see them moving on,” she said. “When their future feels so uncertain, it’s my role to advise them clearly, explain their options to them and steer them towards what’s likely to be the best option, taking into account the law. 


Julian lives in the village of Lanercost with her husband and their son, Matthew, and credits Cumbria with giving her a great work/life balance.

“When I come home in the evening, it’s so tranquil,” she said. “I live on Hadrian’s Wall so we meet so many people from all over the world. We’re very sociable so we have picnic tables out so people can sit and have a drink.  They leave us notes, poems, thank you notes and money in an honesty box. It’s really fun.

“My children, Matthew and Victoria, have been to really good local schools and they’re both very grounded because they’ve grown up in a close-knit community.

“Matthew returned to Cumbria and now works as a construction manager in Carlisle. He loves the outdoors and mountain biking, so Cumbria is perfect for him.

 “It’s not a bad thing for young people to leave Cumbria, see the alternatives and then make an informed choice – but it’s important that we’ve got industry here that our children can come back to.”


Julian makes the most of living in a close-knit community and has lots of friends in Cumbria.

“I like the outdoors and do a bit of walking with our black Labradors, Tara and Inca,” she said.

“We’re very family orientated, so we enjoy going for a walk and a meal when my daughter Victoria comes home from Cheltenham.

“When the local pub in Lanercost closed, one of our enterprising neighbours got a licence for the cricket club, so we often go there on a Friday night to have a drink with friends and neighbours.

 “We live in a lovely community.”

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