Less than a decade ago she was living amongst skyscrapers and taxi-polluted streets of Canada’s financial district, foregoing sleep to reach the top floor. Today, she’s a sought-after tax attorney in Foley, AL with Caldwell, Wenzel & Asthana, P.C thanks to hard work and a few chance encounters.
When Your Hometown Grows Foreign
Born in Canada, Asthana moved to her parent’s birth country of India at three months old. She grew up outspoken and opinionated- or “rude” as she describes it for a woman in New Delhi. Unbeknownst to her, these traits would go on to make her a successful business owner, but as a child her personality stood out in a neighborhood enveloped in traditional societal roles. One of these roles calls for Indian fathers to make professional decisions for their daughters. Asthana academically excelled early-on – education being one source for her opinions- so her father decided she’d return to Canada’s McMasters University, where he taught during her birth, to study chemical engineering. Admittedly not passionate about the subject, she respectfully agreed. In hindsight, it was a major stepping stone to becoming a partner at Caldwell, Wenzel & Asthana, P.C.
During her final year she attended a conference about engineering opportunities for recent graduates. There she listened to a woman share how she transitioned from engineering to law. By the end, this chance encounter sparked a passion in Asthana. The following year she enrolled at the University of Western Ontario where she received her Juris Doctorate with an emphasis in tax law. With a long list of accolades at graduation, she was an ideal job candidate winning awards for best paper, highest average in tax law courses, and academic excellence. She also found some time to meet her now husband and fellow law student, Drew Wenzel.
Balancing the Scales of Justice
Determined to climb the competitive rankings of tax attorneys, she landed her first job with a law firm on Bay Street, Toronto’s financial district. Her mind set on owning her own law firm in the future, she was working extended hours, living in the heart of the hustle and bustle, money-making city and skillfully maneuvering through the male-dominated profession. But while her career goals were on track, she says she worried about her other dream- starting a family and managing it with her hectic schedule in a major, expensive city.
Despite these trepidations, Asthana married Wenzel and shortly after gave birth to their daughter, Ava. Six months later, the three visited Wenzel’s family in Foley, Alabama. They snuck away for a lunch with one of his childhood friends and fellow attorney, Randall Caldwell, who proposed a way for Asthana’s work and family life to cohesively collide- the three of them should open their own firm. Equal partner, family nearby, and more control over her career, Asthana says it was one of her easier decisions.
The Final Move
Six months later the family of three left Canada for a one-way trip to Foley, Alabama and opened Caldwell, Wenzel & Asthana P.C. Today, the firm is well-known throughout Baldwin county. While all three attorneys have international experience – and Asthana can still practice in Canada- they also boast their commitment to the community, noting the Caldwell and Wenzel names have resided in Foley for over 100 years. Asthana says the firm excels in two main arenas: strategically preparing for trial and crafting creative solutions to complicated legal disputes. And keeping in tune with her graduate days, she has a history of winning cases to back this claim up.
Most notably, Asthana took lead counsel to a confidential seven figure acquisition of Glenlakes Golf Club located in Baldwin County. She represented the group of investors and after six months of negotiations, she won the war of attrition against the owners of a Fortune 500 company. She is now the buyer’s ongoing counsel.
Already making Asthana a staple name in Foley as well, she says she’s happy with her decision to make Alabama her home. The focus is on family, from spending more time with their daughter to their family owned law firm.
At the firm, Asthana specializes in estate planning, estates and trust litigation, business matters, probate, and of course, tax. Caldwell, Wenzel & Asthana P.C. is a full-service firm with other practice areas in personal injury and accidents, elder laws, general litigation, family law and misdemeanor criminal defense.