A Day in the Life: Arlene Chow
“Invariably I am woken up by one of my children in the morning, usually at about 7:00 a.m.," Arlene laughs. She is a mother of two young children ― Adele, 3 years old and Juliet, 7 months. "My husband and I usually hang out with them in the morning, getting prepared for the day until about 8:30 a.m. Then one of us will take our older daughter to preschool. It's really important for me to spend quality time with my children, which is why we chose to live in New York City. I only have a 15-minute subway commute to work. I read my emails in the morning and on the way into the office."
More about Arlene...
But her marriage involved some initial relocation for her spouse. Arlene moved from San Francisco, CA, to Washington, D.C. and finally to New York. Her husband, Thomas Healy, now teaches Constitutional Law at Seton Hall. Another upside, Arlene has bar admissions in California, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Not many lawyers can claim to have a "typical" day, and Arlene says her days in the office may include phone conferences with clients or the court, writing a brief, taking a deposition, analyzing a patent, strategizing on a case with other team members, or working on due diligence for an IP transaction. “Her favorite days” she says are those she spends in court for a hearing or at trial.
"I love my job. It's such a great mix. There are so many days when I feel like I've used every ounce of my brain. It changes day to day. It's such a good career fit for me. I'd rather be challenged than bored. My brain has to be agile."
Since the combination of Hogan Lovells, the nature of Arlene's cases has expanded. "My matters are almost always in the district courts, but I recently worked on a large International Trade Commission matter. The case came in through a Munich partner. A partner in Washington, D.C. was in charge of the case and reached out to me. The case was a great example of our one-firm approach. It was done with so much collaboration and cooperation between different offices. I got to know a wonderful group of lawyers that I had never worked with in the past."
Arlene has worked on numerous cases for Japanese clients. "Although the cases are run out of New York, it has been a great partnership with the Tokyo office. One of the beauties of working with our colleagues in Tokyo is that there is always someone available for our clients on their time zone. Because we have native Japanese speakers in that office, we can circumvent any language issues. That's one of the biggest pluses of being a global firm."
In addition to her IP work, Arlene is also the Chair of the firm's New York Diversity Committee. On a given day she may be chairing a meeting, planning an event, or having a mentoring lunch with an associate.
"I love being involved with the Diversity Committee. It's really shown me that the firm has a heart and a conscience. It's a great way of seeing first-hand how the firm dedicates itself to maintaining its culture and good citizenship, a core value of the firm. My committee work has proven to me that this firm cares about mentoring and retaining its associates. It's also helped me get to know partners and associates across the firm that I may not have otherwise known," she explains. "Hogan Lovells is made up of people. These personal ties are the ones that bind you and make you want to be around a couple of decades."
On average, Arlene leaves the office at roughly 6:30 p.m. for one very specific reason that is close to her heart. "I believe my family should all sit down for dinner together to a home cooked meal, just like my mother did for me every night when I was growing up." The concession she makes, "I believe dinner should not take longer than 15 minutes to prepare. I cook a few big meals over the weekend that we can heat up or I will do a quick stir-fry or broil. Invariably, we are all sitting down to eat together by 7:15 p.m."
On a (comical) personal note, Arlene shares a story: "When I was expecting my first child, about four years ago, my husband and I were vacationing in France. We were thinking about names for the baby and I found out that Adele was his mother's middle name. We both liked it a lot, but before we decided my husband went online to check out what popped up when we plugged the name in. The website for the singer Adele came up. My husband's famous last words were, ‘Don't worry, she won't make it big.’ A week after their daughter was born, Adele ― the singer ― was named "Young Artist of the Year" and worldwide praise showered on her. I will never let him forget that comment!"
Her children are both in bed by 8:30 p.m. That's when Arlene fires up her computer again and usually works until about 10:00 or 11:00 p.m., depending on her case load. She also tries to get to the gym during the week and sometimes gets a game of tennis in with her husband.
In her spare time…just kidding. But Arlene used to have a jewelry business before she had her children. "I kept it up for five years, going to an indoor market in SoHo every Saturday called the Young Designers' Market. No one knew I was a partner at a law firm. My jewelry has been in three indie films (two of which have been featured at the Tribeca Film Festival) and dozens of weddings." She worked in sterling silver and with beads, in a style called wirework. "Sometimes I'd get hedge-fund type guys who would try to negotiate on pricing. I used to think, "You don't know who you are trying to bargain with, mister!"
"I do miss doing things with my hands," she says. "I intend to pick up my jewelry work again one day when my children get older but on a smaller scale, and maybe do two artist shows a year. People still ask me around the holidays or on special occasions if I will make something."
Her thoughts on her legal specialty: "One thing I really love about working in patent litigation is all the different technologies it touches upon. I've worked on drugs, spinal medical devices, diagnostic testing, LCD panels, ATMs, bar code scanners, just to name a few. My average case lasts about two to two-and-a-half years, and during that time, you really acquire a lot of knowledge about a field. Since I juggle cases, I am always learning new things. There is always a sense of freshness. It's perpetual learning and discovery."