After beginning his career as an apprentice at Burlington Stone, Rob has used his own experience to make the scheme more exciting for current apprentices.
Mark has developed his career to Director in Cumbria
Mark Aspin, a Director in the Dispute Resolution Team at Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, lives in Thurstonfield near Carlisle
Mark has found excellent career progression and a vital role in the local community in Cumbria.
After graduating from the University of Essex and spending a year in Paris, Mark chose Cumbria to start his law career.
“I’m from Lancashire, so I wanted to work back up North but not on my parents’ doorstep,” he said. “Jobs in Cumbria came onto the horizon as it’s close to Lancashire, so I applied for a job at Cartmell Shepherd. I moved in September 2008 and have been here ever since with no regrets.
“With dispute resolution, I deal with a fair bit of court work including high value claims. I act, for example, in property and boundary disputes which involve a lot of site visits. There is a decent amount of travel as I have clients all over Cumbria, county-wide, and stretching over to the North-East as well. There’s a wide geographical spread so I get a nice bit of sightseeing in between client visits.
“Responsibility and career progression are two important things to me. Here, I deal with my own files and have been dealing with high value claims from a very early level of experience. In a city, you’d have a huge team but I get more individual responsibility and interaction with my clients at Cartmell Shepherd, yet with excellent supervision and support.
“The career progression is great, too. I made it to Associate in 2015 and I was appointed as a Director on April 1, 2017. Day to day, my job will still be as a solicitor but there will be some more management responsibility which I am looking forward to. The excellent career progression suits the nature of the firm.
“Cartmell Shepherd recognises that times are changing and are very conscious of how people choose their legal services and continue to adapt and innovate to meet client demands. For example, we have invested a lot in our website and ensure it has regular engaging and informative legal content and is fully compatible with mobile technology.
“We engage in social media and have a 24 hour enquiry line. We have also introduced an excellent and innovative pricing regime which offers clients choice when it comes to paying for their legal services, unlike most other law firms.
“We have fantastic, forward-thinking employers and businesses in Cumbria. My firm even sponsors a Cartmell Shepherd community choir and we perform at charity functions and meet once a week to practice. We do lots of fund raising for local charities and sponsor local sports teams and are proud of supporting our local community.”
Mark lives in Thurstonfield, a village close to Carlisle, after living in Denton Holme in the city.
“When I qualified, I bought in Denton Holme and had a 15 minute walk to work,” he said. “I loved the area and it had great scenery - I couldn’t recommend it enough.
“I ended up looking for somewhere bigger where I could be more involved in a community and Thurstonfield ticked all the boxes. I have a 15 minute drive to work, so you can’t sniff at that.
“Carlisle is a great location to explore other areas. I’ve been able to make it home and everyone I’ve met has made me feel welcome and I’ve made so many friends.
“It has a lovely atmosphere, a lovely work/life balance and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I like my hometown but it’s not Carlisle.”
By his own admission, Mark keeps himself just as busy outside of work as he does in the office.
“I’m a senior volunteer with the St John Ambulance,” he said. “My main role is event planning and management, so I do events such as the Keswick to Barrow Walk, Total Warrior, Carlisle Fireshow, the concerts at Bitts Park this summer and Kendal Calling. Carlisle is growing, with lots of good events.
“People are seeing Carlisle as more of a destination. The opportunities are there and people are coming to Carlisle as it’s being promoted as an entertainment destination.
“I’m also part of Abbey Singers, a local choir which has been going for over 60 years. I’ve always sung and been involved in choirs wherever I’ve been and Cumbria has a huge number of choirs you could join.
“In Cumbria, we have such lovely churches. I’ve sung in Patterdale Church and you can stand outside afterwards and look at the views. You get around and see the county.
“When you’re in a choir or any musical ensemble, you’re there to perform to people. If you don’t have a good audience it takes the thrill out of it. In Cumbria, there’s always a group of people who want to watch you perform.
“We perform to tourists as well so we get lots of different audiences. If you’re staying in Keswick, you can either sit in your hotel room and watch TV or go to watch a local concert. What are you going to do?
“In Cumbria, you could quite easily find a classical music concert every weekend, probably even a choice if you wanted. The local community choirs are of a really good standard as a general rule.”
Mark is also a keen cyclist and has great cycle routes through beautiful countryside on his doorstep.
“All-in-all, Cumbria offers me a great quality of life in a friendly and supportive community,” he said.