- Lucía Goy, a Harvard Law School graduate, quit Skadden, a prestigious law firm, at age 29.
- She then opened her own tax-law firm, Goy Gentile, which has an international client base.
- She said she learned to persevere despite initial setbacks and not to take them “so personally.”
This is a translation of an article that originally appeared on Business Insider España on March 8, 2022. It has been edited.
Lucía Goy Mastromiechele runs Goy Gentile, a law firm she set up in 2016 that employs more than 20 lawyers. The firm mostly deals with international clients who are seeking tax advice when opening a business in Spain.
At 35 years old, the Harvard Law School graduate has already left two prestigious law firms during her career to pursue her dream of running her own firm.
After getting her degree at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Goy began working at the law firm Uría Menéndez, but she quickly realized that she wanted to work in a more international environment.
Goy was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, to an Italian mother, who was a tax inspector, and a Spanish father.
“With the parents I have, I can’t conceive of a life that isn’t international,” Goy said.
In 2010, she began a master of laws at Harvard Law School.
“In Spain, most of the students came from a more or less similar situation. At Harvard, I found a place where everyone came from a different part of the world with a different experience and different points of view,” she said.
But after finishing Harvard, Goy said she sent her résumé to countless firms in New York but heard nothing back.
Finally, Davis Polk & Wardwell, a firm that had initially rejected her, gave her a chance.
“When you start out, it’s very important to keep trying in spite of all the rejections. I got my opportunity from a place that had rejected me at first. I think it’s an interesting lesson for younger people,” Goy added.
She later moved to Skadden, a company that promised a stable, prestigious, and lucrative career in one of the most established law firms in the US.
But, in 2016, a 29-year-old Goy left Skadden to fulfill her dream of establishing her own legal startup.
“What I gave up most when I left Skadden was the chance to learn. Being in a place like that is being at the center of the world with absolutely brilliant people,” Goy said.
“You miss out, for example, on deals like the merger of Iberia and British Airways. I was told countless times that I was wrong, that I would regret it. I answered the same way I did at Uría, that some days I would certainly regret it, but that others, perhaps, not so much,” she added.
“To succeed is to enjoy what you’re doing. It’s not that it’s necessarily a failure not to, but I do think that success is something very subjective, it’s achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself and enjoying it,” Goy continued.
Goy felt that, if she had to fail, she’d rather do it fast.
The first clients came in slowly, she said, adding that she was constantly calculating how long she could afford to keep the venture going. This was in spite of the relatively low costs of maintaining the firm, which she said was essentially just a computer in a small office.
“At the beginning, it’s easy to lose confidence,” Goy said. She added that she’d tell her past self that “if things don’t go well, that’s fine, but not to take things so seriously, so personally.” “In general, I would tell her that with calmness and tranquility things work out better,” Goy continued.
Goy said that many of her mentors didn’t hesitate to refer clients to her when they heard about what she was doing.
Goy Gentile has won awards as it’s grown and now works across the US, UK, Spain, and Argentina.
Goy said many of the firm’s Latin American clients were interested in the Spanish real-estate market, while it worked with European and American clients more on private-equity investments and Spanish industry.
“We want to be the firm of reference for foreign investors,” she said.
Goy added that the firm also worked on tax issues with young people who were looking to build startups or invest in cryptocurrencies.
She said her next step was to open a new office in Miami this year.