A mere six years ago, Andra Enescu started law school at Bond University on Australia’s blissful Gold Coast. Soon after graduating, she landed a coveted job as an associate in the securities group at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, a leading business law firm in Toronto. We talk to Andra about her time at Bond, what it takes to make it on Bay Street and what she loves about her job.
Precedent: What made you decide to go all the way to Australia for law school?
Andra: I wanted to get out of Canada. I think studying abroad is the best way to travel, to hit two birds with one stone. So I looked at all the legal systems that are similar to Canada’s and I found Bond. It was one of the top law schools in Australia.
What was the best thing you learned at Bond?
Confidence in my own abilities. I think everyone’s innately good at something, and Bond gave me the opportunity to harness and develop my skills in practical scenarios.
What do you miss most about Australia?
The weather. The beach. That beautiful atmosphere made the challenging task of law school so much easier. There’s so much beauty to the place that it’s reinvigorating — it keeps you going.
Do you keep in touch with your Bond classmates?
Yeah, some of them are actually here in Canada. The Bondies!
How was the transition from Bond to Toronto?
It was a bit challenging to get my bearings. It’s a bit like immigrating here. Nobody’s waiting for you with a sign saying ‘Hey, welcome back, let me guide you through everything.’ It’s definitely a hustle, but if you stay focused, you’ll get it done.
What do you like best about working on Bay Street?
It’s a very proud feeling. A lot of people said, “It’s very, very difficult, maybe set your bar a little lower. Start at a small securities boutique as opposed to going straight to Bay Street. So I think knowing that I didn’t listen to that, and even though the economy is as bad as everyone says it is, I still ended up here. So Bay Street symbolizes this huge step I took.
What do you like most about working at Cassels?
The working environment. You feel like you’re part of a team. And I’ve noticed it on every floor — it’s not just the securities team. Everyone I meet seems happy in this environment, and that creates longevity. Without the teamwork, you fall apart; you become unhappy in your workspace.
What keeps you grounded?
The way my life has developed. I lost my mom very young, so my friends have become my family. I put my own money into law school. I’ve done a lot on my own since I was very young. Every time I make a mistake it’s at my own cost, my own expense.
What do you do for balance?
In the summer I play sports. I spend a lot of time with friends. I’m a big movie person, even international films. I’m very big on the gym — I do bootcamp, boxing. I usually go to the gym at about 5:30 in the morning, four times a week. I’m very, very big on fitness. Healthy body, healthy mind — that’s been my approach even in law school.
What’s the secret to your success?
I don’t know, what is it? (Laughs.) The secret to my success is, I conquer my fears. Nothing is too great a challenge. Knock on enough doors, one will open. I guess my secret is, I love people and I love challenges and I think that amazing things happen every day. So why can’t they happen to me?
What advice would you give to a law student?
Experience everything around you. Students should be like sponges. Everybody has something to offer you. And it doesn’t have to be academic. Everybody you meet should be a new experience, and you should take a little bit of that person with you. You never know who your clients will be. You never know who you’ll work for. You’re meeting different personalities all the time. The only way to develop people skills will be to pay attention to people. And it’s not just the ones you want the job from. It’s everyone.
This content was paid for by Bond University. Learn more about Bond at bond.udu.au/faculties/law
Photography by Nick Wong