"At the end of the day you realize that, no matter where you come from, we’re all very similar"
Ana Festas Henriques
Ana Festas is an associate in TMT— Technology, Media and Telecommunications—law at Vieira de Almeida & Associados (VdA) since 2017. At the practice, Ana has collaborated on various transactions, mostly regarding IT technologies, emerging technologies, IP, e-commerce, data privacy, and cybersecurity, among other areas.
Ana earned the Master in International Business Law, and upon completion of the LL.M. she worked in TMT at CCA ONTIER in Lisbon, where she stayed for almost five years. “In Lisbon I had the opportunity to do a secondment at one of the largest telecommunications operators in the world,” says Ana.
Ana Festas Henriques, Portugal
- Program studied
“My first work experience was in the summer of my second year of studies. My parents had given me a car, but they wouldn’t cover the costs! I went to a law firm (António Leitão & Carlos Serafim – Sociedad de Abogados) and I immediately knew I had made the right decision in studying law. In order to learn even more about the profession, I also did internships at other firms (Coelho Ribeiro & Associados Sociedade Civil de Advogados RL and CCA ONTIER). This allowed me to discover what I really liked in the field of law—Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT)—and also helped me secure my first job,” she says.
What stands out for you from your experience in the LL.M. program?
What stands out most from my experience in the program was coming into contact with people from all over the world, something that really opened up my mind and helped me see the world from a different perspective. At the end of the day you realize that, no matter where you come from, we’re all very similar.
What has been the most important project in your career?
Creating a multidisciplinary team to provide legal advice to startups and SMEs: CCA ONTIER’s Startinnovation Team. The team earned the award for Business Development Innovation at the Legal Week Innovation Awards. It was the first time that a Portuguese law firm won this award.
What excites you most about your profession?
The constant challenges. When you work in TMT, everything is new, so every day there’s a new challenge that you have to overcome.
Who has impacted your professional career?
Many people have impacted my professional life and inspire me, but I’m going to highlight just one: Professor Maria da Glória Garcia (the first female rector of the Catholic University of Portugal). She is a woman who does what she’s passionate about with great perseverance, and who always sticks to her morals, striking a balance between her personal and professional lives. She’s also a very happy person.
What advice would you give to future lawyers who are beginning their professional careers and want to develop a career that’s focused on technology and data protection?
The most important thing is to do what you enjoy, so they must be certain that they enjoy this area. If that’s indeed the case, everything will be much more simple, because you’ll be spending a lot of time working and studying non-stop. I’d also advise them not to choose a firm or a company, but rather a boss: one who will be a good mentor, guide them on their professional path, and believe in them. That way they’ll go much further. Finally, it’s important not to forget about your personal life, since it’s only possible to be successful if you maintain a balance.