501 Boylston Street, 10th Floor

Boston, MA 02116



Tena Zara Herlihy

Tena Photo HS

Attorney, Member of the Firm
Office Phone: 617-699-3849
Email: tena@outsidegc.com

Venture-backed startups of all sizes as well as prestigious universities look to Tena for a unique level of in-depth collaboration, creativity and dedication as a trusted advisor.

Tena counsels clients in a wide variety of corporate matters including negotiating license agreements that allow companies to capitalize on and protect their intellectual property assets. As a founder of several high-growth technology companies, Tena understands the unique challenges of operating in a rapidly evolving startup environment in a way many lawyers can't.

Tena’s experience includes patent, copyright and trademark licensing, open source software, international contracts, non-profit governance, board relationships, mergers and acquisitions and more.

Recently, as a part of Outside GC, Tena represented MIT-spin out dataxu in its $150M acquisition by Roku, serving as the sole in-house counsel for the ad-tech company. Her current clients include a mix of biotech, ed-tech, software and education clients including TetraScience, Zillion, Health Data Decisions, Veracross, Riff Analytics, Middlebury College, Six Red Marbles and 21st Century Software.

Tena was co-founder, VP of Business Affairs and then General Counsel & Secretary of edX, an educational platform offering courses from the best universities in the world. She joined edX from MIT, where she was Counsel and Assistant Director of the MIT Technology Licensing Office. EdX spun out of Harvard University and MIT which provided its initial $60M in funding. Tena and her team drafted and negotiated agreements with 100 of the best universities and corporations in the world as part of the edX consortium. She led successful negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice about the accessibility of edX’s website, resulting in no fines and no admission of wrongdoing on the part of edX. She worked with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets & Control and the U.S. State Department to provide worldwide access to edX courses.

Serving as founding General Counsel & Secretary for Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), another MIT spin out with $300M in funding from governmental and university sources, Tena was instrumental in setting up the first-ever university patent pool for advanced fabric technologies. She put in place funding mechanisms for companies to collaborate with AFFOA in an effort to create dual-purpose technology for use by the military and commercial success, working with companies across the country including Nike, New Balance and Vans.

Before going in-house, Tena was in private practice at Sunstein LLP, Goulston & Storrs and Holland & Knight.

Recently, Tena was involved with the launch of Off Their Plate, a non-profit that partners with restaurants to provide meals for those serving on the front line in the COVID-19 pandemic including security guards, patient transportation staff, and janitorial teams, as well as physicians, nurses, and other clinical workers. Founded in Boston, the organization is now operating nationally.

Tena received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, where she received a full-scholarship as the first woman to win the Grantland Rice award for sports writing.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston College Law School. 

She enjoys cycling, swimming, kayaking, sailing, running and most of all, spending time with her family and friends.