Offices at Mockingbird Station. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Vela Wood, a corporate law firm with an office at Mockingbird Station in Dallas, is taking many of its employees to Portugal this summer.

The company believes in an idea it calls desk independence, which is the thought that good work can be done from anywhere and that travel creates more well-rounded employees.

This is a thought the firm has held since 2017, long before the pandemic popularized remote work. Since then, employees have been allowed to work from a different country for a month at a time. Some places they’ve been stationed are Brazil, Croatia, Dominican Republic, England, Peru, Russia and Spain.

Now, the firm is launching a program called VW Abroad. This summer, about 20 employees — about 50% of the firm’s total employees — and their families are heading to Lisbon, Portugal. Vela Wood is providing a stipend to offset travel and housing costs. Some clients are invited to meet the Vela Wood staff in Portugal, and the firm plans to host events with members of the local startup community.

Lakewood neighbor Kevin Vela, the chairman of the board of the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association, which puts on the St. Patrick’s Day parade, is the managing partner at the law firm.

“Vela Wood is committed to cultivating a global perspective in the workplace, and the firm is excited at the opportunity for employees to integrate into Portugal’s culture this summer,” Vela says.