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International Womens' day

Adelina Villalobos

Partner, BLP, San Jose, Costa Rica

    Adelina Villalobos

I come from a family with history in the law - growing up, I was very influenced by my father who was a judge. I always had great admiration for his sense of justice. It made me want to be a lawyer to be able to contribute to change in our society, as I believe that the fundamental concept of the law should be to improve people’s lives. 

However, a career in law for women can still be a challenging path, particularly if you are ambitious - unfortunately, in our jurisdiction, we still have very few women as law firm partners or in key justice roles. 

That said, at the age of 30, when I was an associate, one of the partners at the firm said to me, “If you want something, you have to say it.”  While this is a very simple piece of advice, I found it very enlightening, as sometimes as a woman it can be difficult to effectively communicate what you want for your professional development, without being afraid of sounding pretentious.   

I was promoted to partner in 2018, four years after my son was born, so being able to combine motherhood and doing what I love was a challenge, but I persevered and found a way to make it work and still set myself career goals.   Fortunately, my career has given me the opportunity to work on many interesting and significant projects, not only in my area of expertise, which is corporate and mergers and acquisitions, but also pro-bono projects which make a positive impact in my country. One of my next goals is to be able to help support law students or young professionals, helping to provide the opportunities I have had. I would love to teach at a local Law School or be a mentor for new talent.

That said, encouraging more women into law is part of a cultural change that we need to address, and one I am deeply committed to being a part of. My advice to any women wanting a legal career would be to never question your capabilities and to always take risks. There will be many alternative ways to reach your goals and fortunately, there are many fellow legal professionals willing to become your mentors and help you grow.