Desk Independence

Desk Independence is our belief that excellent work can be done remotely and that travel develops more motivated, well-rounded employees. It’s not actually the work that keeps people chained to their desk; it’s this notion that the work can only be done at the desk. Here at Vela Wood we’re sharing this belief with our employees by offering them the ability to work remotely, from another country, for a month at a time.

Desk Independence
Why We’re Sending a First-Year Attorney to Portugal
Law Firm Innovation

We are honored to have been awarded Clio’s first ever Reisman for Law Firm Innovation. Learn why we are so passionate about what we call Desk Independence.

*Super Lawyers recognition featured in this video is a Thomson Reuters service.

Read More About Our Experiences
1 of 7 Desk Independence
Why We’re Sending a First-Year Attorney to Portugal
2 of 7 Desk Independence
Como Pode Ajudá-Lo Hoje? How May I Help You Today?
3 of 7 Desk Independence
Nic’s First Week Working in Lisbon, Portugal
4 of 7 Desk Independence
The Road Forward – Week 2 Working in Portugal
5 of 7 Desk Independence
Week 3 in Portugal: Exploring the “City that Works”
6 of 7 Desk Independence
Saying Goodbye to Portugal
7 of 7 Desk Independence
What a month in Croatia taught me about entrepreneurship in the U.S.
Professional Exchange Programs

Vela Wood has been fortunate enough to participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellow Program twice in recent years. 

YLAI seeks to empower entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas in order to contribute to the social and economic development of their communities. YLAI selects 250 entrepreneurs (out of 2500 applicants) from Latin America and the Caribbean to participate in a four-week fellowship with a US company in their field of expertise. 

Our partner Kevin Vela was selected as a fellowship mentor for two startup attorneys and Vela Wood hosted each fellow in our office for a month. In 2017, we hosted Arístides Rubio from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and in 2018 we hosted Fabio Cendão from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Read More About the YLAI Program
1 of 3 YLAI Program
Meet Our Entrepreneur In Residence From The Dominican Republic
2 of 3 YLAI Program
From The DR To Dallas: What Arístides Learned At Vela Wood
3 of 3 YLAI Program
Bringing Startup Culture To Law In Brazil

Twice since the fall of 2016, Vela Wood has had the pleasure of working with American Councils on their Russian Business Leaders fellowship program (RBL).

RBL is a program for young Russians engaged in business leadership positions to gain exposure to work in the US private sector with the goal of creating partnerships between companies and young entrepreneurs in the United States and Russia.

Our Austin office was selected to host two startup attorneys from Russia through this program; Dmitry Makarov in 2016 and Rustam Rafikov in 2019. In each instance, Vela Wood hosted Dmitry and Rustam for a month, providing them with legal experience and education within the U.S. After each time hosting an RBL fellow, our partner Radney Wood was selected for the RBL outbound program where he was able to travel to Russia for two weeks (once in 2017 and once in 2019) to speak at different accelerators, incubators, universities, law schools, and the US Embassy about startups and small businesses.

Radney regularly keeps in touch with both Dmitry and Rustam and the American Council’s team. In 2021, he assisted American Councils with their virtual RBL program by putting on a virtual presentation for Russian-based attorneys and founders to discuss social benefit companies and raising capital.



Read More About the Russian Exchange
1 of 1 Russian Exchange
Dmitry Makarov, Russian Professional Exchange In Vela Wood Austin

Pitch Americas is a Latin America focused pitch competition born out of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) that Vela Wood co-founded with Arístides Rubio, the first attorney we hosted through YLAI in 2017. After the completion of each YLAI program, we have participated in a reverse exchange program where we travel to the home city of our fellow to meet startups, discuss entrepreneurship, and host a pitch competition.



Read More About Our Experience with Pitch Americas
1 of 1 Pitch Americas
Startup Ecosystems Are Bridging the World
See Some of Our Adventures