elena davies headshot

Elena Davies had been considering a career in criminology, but it was the field placement program that attracted her to Carleton.

“I heard about a student with a placement in a law firm and thought, ‘Hold on. You’re going to court and getting credit for it?’ I’m signing up,” she recalls.

As a Carleton student one year later, Davies was chosen for a field placement at Engel & Associates, a criminal law firm in Ottawa. “I remember the first time I was sent to court by myself,” she recalls. “A lawyer had trusted me to go on their behalf and I absolutely loved it. It changed my life.”

The field placement program from Carleton paved the way for Davies to be accepted into law school. After she graduated from Carleton with a Bachelor of Arts, Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2007, she earned her law degree from the University of Ottawa and officially joined Engel & Associates as an associate lawyer. Davies worked at the firm for over a decade successfully defending a wide range of criminal cases, including sexual assaults, impaired driving, human trafficking, fraud, assault of a police officer and many others.

Today, Davies is an Assistant Crown Attorney in the Ottawa office.

She says she still draws on her coursework in criminology, particularly the psychology and sociology courses. “We didn’t get any of that in law school,” she says, noting how important the knowledge she gained in those courses is to her day-to-day work as a lawyer.

Davies also credits her field placement, alongside her experience competing on the Carleton University Moot Team, with contributing to her courtroom skills. “That made me a familiar player in the courthouse: I already knew the judges, the lawyers and the crowns.”

Davies came full circle and became a mentor for over twenty Carleton field placement students in her years in private practice, and maintains close relationships with many of them still today.  Davies is a firm believer and supporter of the field placement program as it gives many students the chance to test pilot a potential career. 

“Even if it isn’t right for them, it’s beneficial,” she explains. “It gets them out of the classroom and gives them a chance to apply their skills in a new environment. It’s an invaluable opportunity.”

Written by Michelle Hennessy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024 in , ,
Share: Twitter, Facebook