VW Blog

Nic’s First Week Working in Lisbon, Portugal

March 9, 2017   |   By Nic O'Brien

Lisbon is beautiful. From the picturesque graffiti street murals to the 17th century mosaic tiled streets, a touch of modern is entwined with the city’s aging architecture. Including, the LX Factory.

The LX Factory is the co-working space in Lisbon where GlobeKick participants work. We have 24/7 access to this beautiful space. The LX Factory is located in between blocks of refurbished factories and warehouses and underneath an overpass that connects to Lisbon’s version of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is clear why LX Factory has become the technology hub of Lisbon, facilitating the city’s ascension to the forefront of innovation in Europe. It’s perfect for collaboration and remote working.

Read what Nic is doing in Lisbon in “Como Pode Ajudá-Lo Hoje? How May I Help You Today?

Notwithstanding minor challenges, technology has greatly reduced the transition to working remotely. With the use of a VOIP phone app, I can receive calls at my office extension. So a client dialing my Dallas number can call me directly in Portugal. What an amazing world. But the wi-fi connection must be solid.  When I’m in the LX Factory, the calls go off without a problem. When I’m at the delectable mom-and-pop restaurants near my apartment, the connection can be problematic. (My colleague Meaghan Johnston can attest to the fact that it’s difficult to have a conversation when you can only hear three-word intervals of sentences.) However, with one Google search, I have found coffee shops and restaurants with the strongest internet connections for when I need to take calls or work later at night—plus there’s always the VW Lisbon office, LX Factory!

Another aspect of remote work is paring down your tools to the essentials. Unlike our Dallas office, where we have excellent staff that provides me with everything I need, in Lisbon I have to bring all parts of my mobile office with me daily. Consequently, I now realize I can do my job with just a laptop, phone, chargers for both, and an electrical-outlet converter. And while a small laptop screen isn’t as useful as the dual monitor setup in my office, the ability to see the world while working outweighs any downside.

As smooth as my transition has gone, it has not been without difficulty. I do miss Torchy’s queso, and I think everyone in Lisbon would too if they had tried it before. But this beautiful city begs me to explore it every day before leaving for work—one of the benefits of the time difference is a morning of exploration before an afternoon at the office.

This morning, I rode the famous tram 28. This tram has transported Lisbon’s citizens for nearly nine decades, and riding it allowed me to see the city through their eyes. Moreover, venturing from American cuisine, I’ve tested Portuguese takes on octopus, sea bass, and a codfish risotto, which have all been delightful. After a short ferry ride, I experienced a wonderful dinner along the Tagus River. Another evening after surveying the Lisbon skyline, I became lost in a residential district that took a turn from the typical artistically designed Lisbon graffiti to more run-of-the-mill negative epithets about cops that made me question where Google Maps was taking me. Yet each moment, from food to graffiti, was a moving experience. And, it all happened during the work week.

Read our thoughts on Desk Independence in “Why We’re Sending A First-Year Attorney to Portugal

In fact, even while exploring, my job has remained unchanged. I have helped draft equity incentive option agreements, performed diligence on a potential debtor and an acquisition target, amended company agreements and bylaws, drafted corporate governance documents, and facilitated membership transfers. Some of these tasks I was performing for the first time, which demonstrates that not only can I work remotely, I can receive training as well.

Ordinarily, my weeks consist of work, the gym, maybe a little reading, and a steady stream of Netflix, which truly can’t compare to the wonders Lisbon has to offer. Thus, I look forward to what the rest of the month brings and the coming weekend full of exploration; I plan to head to Cascais, a coastal town lined with a beautiful beach that is only a 19-mile train ride from Lisbon. I’ll bring my office with me (laptop and phone) just in case I’m needed; I won’t mind taking a call from Cascais to answer your legal questions.


Posted in Desk Independence, VW Life
Nic O'Brien
Nic is an associate at Vela Wood. He focuses his practice in the areas of entity formation, capital raises, mergers and acquisitions, and general business transactions. You can see Nic's attorney profile HERE.