This is another of our occasional articles that track down some of our alumni and see their progress through life and their careers.

by Lillian Leptos

Eve Younan graduated secondary school in 2006. Very clever, hardworking and with a great capacity to get on with people, her future sparkled with possibilities. Today, Eve is very much the successful, young professional, working as a lawyer for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the government regulator that has in recent times investigated the questionable behaviour of banks and generally works to protect consumers from fraudulent practices.

From Year 9, Eve had an interest in psychology and law, but it was a personal experience that cemented that interest. When Eve’s father was injured in a workplace incident that left him for years with an inability to work, she saw firsthand that the law could be an instrument for justice.

At first, Eve pursued her interest at La Trobe University, but by the end of the first year, it became clear to her that the law was her calling. La Trobe allowed Eve to study a double degree in psychology and law. This she completed in the accelerated stream and capped it off with honours. Her final year, Eve remembers as the most pressured of her life. 

“I was preparing for exams in two areas and completing my thesis for honours. At the same time I was also working part time at a local chemist shop,” she says.

She simply had to find a way of balancing everything.

Law and psychology proved to be an excellent combination as in the practice of law, understanding people and working successfully with them is what leads to successful outcomes. Eve sees the law as dealing with “real life situations” with a person at the centre. 

“The job of the lawyer is to minimise the risks and do the best for the client,” she says.

Straight out of university, Eve walked into a position with a city law firm, Brian Ward and Co. A boutique law firm to a range of large-scale clients, the company acted almost as in-house lawyers for these companies. Working across a range of teams, Eve gained valuable experience in many areas including commercial law, dispute resolution involving litigation through the courts and consumer protection. She acted both for wronged employees and on the other side of the fence, for employers. 

It was the “phenomenal experience” in consumer protection that led in five years’ time to her move into consumer protection and financial law services. It is this part of ASIC’s work that Eve has worked in for the last three years.

Eve is quick to correct any misconceptions. 

”Working for a city law firm or as an ASIC lawyer is not at all like the TV series Suits,” she says. “It is not glamorous and the hours can be ridiculous. It can certainly eat into your private life. It can be challenging balancing expectations, but you are dealing with real life situations that have significant outcomes for those you represent and so it’s enormously satisfying.”

When asked about her memories of the old school on the Radford Road site, Eve does not mention the decrepit building and the potholed playground. Her enduring memories are of the staff and students that not only made those years so full of fun, but helped her to build the foundations for the life she currently enjoys. 

“I remember Mr Mazzeo, Mr Hernandez, Ms Ferri, Mr Castellarin, Ms Haidar … of course we worked hard but they made sure we were having fun,” she recalls.

“They brought out the best in us.”

Eve remembers that stressful period just before the final exams and the day-long study sessions organised by Ms Leptos for her English class. 

“The word got out that our class was having them and students from all the classes turned up. The whole VISY centre was full. We knew that our teachers really cared for us.” 

Her school years instilled in Eve a discipline and tenacity. 

“Have goals and work towards them one step at a time,” she says.

“Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed or overawed by the end game. Keep positive and hard work will get you there.”

This focus and attitude has underpinned Eve’s success to date. Eve is now focussed on progressing through ASIC and taking advantage of the opportunities it offers.  

“ASIC is an equal opportunity and culturally diverse employer. I can see there will be opportunities for advancement in the organisation,” she says.

Eve still keeps in touch with her closest friends from her school years. 

“People like Santina Stuto, Adela Camarda, Frank Ortisi and Anne-Marie Valentini were so important to my secondary school years,” she says. 

“To get the most out of those years you need a good, close, honest, genuine and supportive group of friends and I was lucky to have these people around me.”

 

Today, with the pressures of work, like the rest of us, a lot of the contact is over social media but the group is still close and Eve talks about it as a ‘lifelong friendship’.