Day in the Life: During the Coronavirus

Thomas Chow

Thomas Chow

General counsel and secretary


Redwood City, CA but remote working during the shelter in place

7:30 am

Alarm sounds, but I hit the snooze button a few times over. (I stayed up late trying to get an Amazon Fresh delivery window, but no luck.) I realize that I don’t need to get the kids ready because they have online classes for at least a month while their school is closed.

8:15 am

After snoozing for longer than I ought, but somehow not waking up our cute toddler, I get up and begin the workday. I check my email for anything urgent that showed up from EMEA or the US East Coast.

8:30 am

I spend some time updating an executive communication document about Q2 variable compensation changes to account for the COVID-19 epidemic. We want to ensure that we set proper expectations while maintaining a sense of security in these unprecedented times.

8:55 am

Help set up the Zoom meetings for both of our elementary school-age children who have homeroom at 9:00 am.

9:00 am

We have our weekly sales/go-to-market (GTM) management team meeting for three hours to kick off the week and get everyone in sync. We alternate our focus weekly between advertisers (advertising agencies, large direct brands) and publishers (websites, content creators, and mobile app developers). Then I multitask on the call as I review an outside counsel letter regarding a potential commercial lease dispute. We’ll have to strategize reasonable options forward given the pandemic.

11:15 am

Our sales/GTM call mercifully ends early, and I use the opportunity to wash up. Transitioning to work from home has made things like personal grooming a bit more random in terms of scheduling. Then I review the data licensing and privacy provisions for an amended master agreement with one of our largest partners. Given the looming specter of California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), I review all key partnership agreements for data privacy issues.

12:20 pm

Go downstairs for lunch with the family. It’s nice to see the kids interacting (aside from our constant reminders for them to sit down).

12:55 pm

Back upstairs for a meeting with another GC in the advertising technology industry. It ends up getting postponed last minute due to that individual being pulled into emergency COVID-19 planning. Review and respond to some employment agreement related issues for an executive we are asking to relocate within the Asia Pacific region.

2:10 pm

Get kicked out of my bedroom office space because our toddler needs to take her nap. Once I find my new workplace, I update my Q2 legal spend budget. In light of the pandemic, we’re trying to rein in costs.

2:50 pm

help my daughter with a math problem she can’t solve in Khan Academy. I am so glad there are free online resources like this.

2:55 pm

Respond to an email requesting a delay of payment. I expect this will be the first of many such requests. I then discuss open source licensing issues with the chief technology officer. Like any good lawyer, I find myself saying, “it depends” quite a bit.

3:45 pm

Take a snack break. While I munch away, my wife and I try to figure out why the school district’s Google Classroom login instructions are not working.

4:00 pm

Review the updated Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Limited Service Provider signatory list — a CCPA compliance mechanism for the advertising industry. I am pleased to see another important partner on the list, but I’m disappointed that many of our competitors continue to resist.

4:30 pm

Call with outside counsel regarding sending a matter to arbitration given that courts locally are impacted by the order to shut down non-essential businesses. Try to power through emails that have poured in much of the afternoon, including way too many listservs about COVID-19 issues.

5:30 pm

Take a break to get outdoors. Instead of taking a walk, I do a small home improvement project in the garage.

6:00 pm

Now back to work. Review an amendment to a master partnership agreement with an advertising agency. I then turn my attention to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) related information requests that show up for our privacy and data protection officer aliases.

6:40 pm

Take a break and set up for dinner. It’s hard to log off when my inbox is crying out, but I need the mental break. We have Korean style chicken stew over rice. After dinner, I get a haircut at home since all the local salons have been closed. Good thing no one will notice the imperfections on the back.

9:00 pm

After cleaning up, we put the kids down for the night.

9:30 pm

Get back to my email as some questions around international tax and currency conversion have come up. I also review a detailed regulatory strategy document from outside counsel — it’s an exciting time to be in adtech and not for the faint of heart!

10:30 pm

Trade emails with one of my staff who is providing HR support. Because both of our respective kids are down for the night, it’s one of the most productive times during the lockdown.

12:00 am

Finally get an Amazon Fresh slot. (I’m excited to get hard-to-find items like Spam.) It’s time to call it a night.