To hear Lynne Hermle tell it, the high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit brought by Ellen Pao struck the right issue at the right time, but with the wrong set of facts. Pao’s case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers attempted to put the “boys club” culture of Silicon Valley on trial. But Hermle, an employment law partner with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe who led the defense of the venture capital firm, said she was convinced from the start that Pao’s portrait did not match her client.

And in March 2015—after a long and at times emotional legal battle—Hermle and Orrick’s Jessica Perry convinced a jury of the same, saving Kleiner Perkins millions in damages and helping it avoid reputational ruin.

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