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Curriculumvitae: Clare Barker

Describe your current job

I am chairman of the Equity Release Solicitors Alliance, which formally launched this January as a portal and enables intermediaries and consumers to gain access to specialist independent legal advice in equity release transactions. My role as chairman involves speaking out on issues affecting the equity release market and educating home owners that equity release is now a safe and regulated product. I also head Equilaw LLP, a law firm dedicated to equity release, so I am responsible for business development, compliance and keeping quality standards high.

Describe your first and last jobs

My first job at 15 was as a shoe shop assistant. I didn’t stay long – the hot summer and other peoples’ feet were not a good combination. My first proper job – if you don’t count Saturday jobs, bar work and being an au pair – was as a trainee solicitor. I took the traditional training route and moved to my current firm on qualification. I’ve been with my current firm nine years – it is my first and last job.

What have you done in between?

Unfortunately, I have acquired more wrinkles.

How do your jobs to date compare with your career aspirations when you were younger?

When I was about nine, my parents asked me whether I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. I can’t stand blood, so the choice was made for me.

What has been the defining point of your career to date and why?

Creating a business that has proved successful enough to carve into a niche firm. Equilaw, to my knowledge, is the only law firm in the UK entirely dedicated to equity release. The launch of ERSA was also a proud moment. We comprise seven solicitors firms and I am delighted that other lawyers share the same vision as me.

And the most embarrassing?

Getting lost in Leeds on my way to a roadshow due to spiteful satellite navigation. The organisers had to talk me through the route and then sent me onto the stage through the back curtains while someone else was mid-speech.

What work ambition would you like to achieve by retirement?

To see equity release destigmatised and brought into the mainstream arena. It’s vital home owners have choices in retirement and equity release is a valid option.

How many mortgage payments do you have left?

About a billion. I bought a money pit three years ago and it needs a lot of work.

Up close…

Age: 34

Where do you live?

Gloucestershire/Herefordshire border

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

If I was to go abroad, it would have to be the south of France. A destination closer to home would be a trip to Pembrokeshire.

What’s your tipple?

A nice glass of dry white wine.

What one thing would you take to a desert island and why?

I’d take a jet-ski – I would not be content on just one island, so I’d island hop.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Matt Damon. He looks pretty handy to me.

What’s the most embarrassing album you own?

The list is long and horrifying, but 1980s Movie Hits has got to be up there with the best.

What’s the craziest hobby you’ve ever attempted?

A relatively uncommon and unwise hobby known as stair surfing. I broke my hand in two places and haven’t tried it since.

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