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Advertising Law Institute 2014

Author(s): Liisa M. Thomas, Holly A. Grochmal
Practice Area: Intellectual Property
Published: Oct 2014
PLI Item #: 47519
CHB Spine #: G1196

Holly Grochmal is the Lead Interactive Advertising Attorney for Pandora Media, Inc., where she leads a team responsible for supporting Pandora’s advertising products and revenue operations.    She regularly is involved in negotiating commercial transactions with top advertising agencies and advertisers in connection with Pandora’s digital advertising platforms.  In addition, she frequently negotiates complex agreements with ad networks and ad tech vendors.  Holly also provides guidance on advertising issues and works with the Pandora sales and product teams to develop company policies.

Holly also advises on domestic and global advertising initiatives for legal and regulatory compliance, including privacy and data use.    

Prior to joining Pandora, Holly was an Assistant General Counsel at E. & J. Gallo Winery where she focused on advertising law, social media and marketing sponsorships and promotions as well as alcohol beverage law.  Before joining Gallo, Holly spent 9 years in private practice as a corporate associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP (Paris, France and Menlo Park) and Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass working on a wide-variety of commercial matters and corporate securities transactions.  Holly holds a J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School and a B.A., magna cum laude from Colby College.



Advertising, Consumer Protection, & Entertainment Disputes, Advertising, Promotions & New Media Counseling & Transactions, Brand Enforcement/Trademark Litigation, Intellectual Property, IP/IT Transactions & Licensing, Privacy & Data Security, Trademark Prosecution


Food, Beverage & Agriculture, Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment, Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices, Retail & Consumer Products, Sports


Illinois, District of Columbia


University of Chicago, JD 1996

Haverford College, BA 1993



Liisa Thomas, a partner based in the firm’s Chicago and London offices, is the chair of the firm’s Global Privacy and Data Security Practice. Her clients rely on her ability to create clarity in a sea of confusing legal requirements and describe her as “extremely responsive, while providing thoughtful legal analysis combined with real world practical advice.” According to Chambers, clients are quick to praise her “hard-working, business-focused, and detail-oriented approach to matters” and describe her as “keeping [clients] one step ahead of where [they] need to be.” 

Ms. Thomas, who was born in Finland and has lived in France, Egypt, and Spain, frequently coordinates global efforts in the privacy area for her clients. Clients value her global insights and familiarity with business systems outside of the United States. With Ms. Thomas’s assistance, her clients—which include major consumer brands, advertising agencies, and consumer research companies—are able to navigate thorny data breach disclosure issues, use emerging interactive advertising techniques, and create compliant security programs all while effectively managing their legal risks. She assists clients with a variety of legal issues, including:

  • Identifying and investigating data breach incidents
  • Coaching clients through the data breach notification process
  • Creating information protection and security programs
  • Simplifying privacy policies to better protect corporate clients
  • Developing compliant text message and mobile marketing campaigns
  • Navigating the complex legal world of online behavioral advertising
  • Ensuring compliance in social media promotions
  • Counseling on children’s advertising and privacy issues

Ms. Thomas has been recognized by the Leading Lawyers Network, Chambers, and Legal 500, and was recently selected to Cybersecurity Docket’s inaugural “Incident Response 30,” which honors 30 incident response professionals critical to managing data breaches. She has also been honored for her leadership in the legal field by the Illinois Diversity Council (awarding her a Multicultural Leadership Award). In 2014, Ms. Thomas was named by CorporateLiveWire as the Illinois Advertising Lawyer of the Year and as one of 15 practitioners nationwide in the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Annual List of Rainmakers. Ms. Thomas is often quoted by the press and has spoken and written extensively on cutting-edge privacy law matters, including authoring the top-selling Thomas on Data Breach: A Practical Guide to Handling Worldwide Data Breach Notification, described as “a no-nonsense roadmap for in-house and external practitioners alike.”

Ms. Thomas is currently an adjunct professor in Northwestern University’s Masters of Science in the Law Program, and has taught privacy courses at several other Chicago-area law schools, including DePaul University and the University of Chicago. Ms. Thomas is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee, chairs the International Trademark Association Bulletins Committee, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Thomas received a B.A. in History from Haverford College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She is an avid sailboat racer and plays violin in the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra made up of lawyers and judges.