When you think of family businesses, a law firm isn’t typically the first kind of establishment that comes to mind. But for Antonio Assumpcao, that’s exactly the mom-and-pop business he grew up in: his grandfather was the chief justice of the State Supreme Court in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and after retiring from that position, Assumpcao’s grandfather opened an independent law firm. At the age of fourteen, Assumpcao began shadowing his grandfather at work. “My grandfather was my first mentor, role model, and law professor,” he says proudly. Every day after school, Assumpcao would head over to his grandfather’s office to study a certain law or case, and at the end of the day, he would present his findings to his grandfather.
This after-school activity not only trained him for a future profession but also reinforced Assumpcao’s desire to do the work he felt he was meant to do. “I never had any doubt in my mind that I was supposed to become a lawyer,” he says. “The practice was never imposed on me, but it was certainly the most natural progression for me.”
A Taste of the World
In addition to holding multiple law degrees and licenses in two different countries, Antonio Assumpcao is also a certified French Wine Scholar and an aspiring sommelier. He was drawn to the study of wines by the “journey that each different type of wine allows you to take,” he says.
Though he is particularly well versed in wines originating in the Bordeaux region, Assumpcao enjoys all types of French wines. “It’s really about finding the wines that taste good to you, then studying the areas they come from and sampling other wines from that region,” he advises.
Building on the skills, Assumpcao attended law school in Brazil and rejoined his grandfather’s firm following his graduation. “I stayed at the firm for a couple of years, but I knew that I always wanted to have an experience outside of Brazil,” Assumpcao explains. “I decided to go to the United States to do my LLM in comparative law. I never looked back.”
After completing his LLM at the University of Miami School of Law, Assumpcao went on to intern for Motorola, a subsidiary of Lenovo. “That’s how I started my career in the United States. Little by little, I was promoted, and I spent about eight years supporting the Latin American group,” Assumpcao recalls. By the end of this eight-year run, he was a senior attorney for the group. Assumpcao then pivoted to heading up legal for the North American group for Motorola.
Last year, his career came full circle when he stepped into his current role as legal director of North America and Latin America at Lenovo. “I spent a lot of time working in the Latin American sector; I knew the business and the people. I am from Brazil so the language is no problem for me. I also speak Spanish—it just made total sense,” Assumpcao says of his position.
Today, Assumpcao’s team oversees contracts from all across the two regions, from Patagonia to Alaska. With such a far reach, one would expect the legal director’s work to entail a number of challenges. But according to Assumpcao, the diversity and tenacity of his team has enabled them to successfully overcome all obstacles.
“We are a group of eight people: four women and four men. It’s a very diverse group—we have people from multiple nationalities speaking different languages,” Assumpcao remarks. “Each person brings such different, incredible perspectives and knowledge to the table.” Assumpcao himself also personally strives to add to the energy and vigor of the team, stating, “I wake up every day and try to do more than I think is expected of me.”
Beyond the inspiration that he draws from his team, Assumpcao’s excitement for his role draws from the work done by Lenovo, a leading technology company headquartered in Morrisville, North Carolina, and Beijing. “I have had the pleasure of working for quite a long time for the same company, and it’s a super cool company,” he says. “We are the cutting edge of technology—phones, laptops, tablets.
“You see our tech on TV on a daily basis, and it’s almost like I see myself on television,” Assumpcao continues with a laugh. “Everything really goes through my team, and every person has a little bit of credit to take.”