Labor & Employment

Judge Denies Venture Capital Firm's Arbitration Bid in Lawyer's Discrimination Case


Calling a lawyer’s filings “terrific,” a California judge said he was nonetheless not persuaded that a venture capital firm is entitled to arbitrate a former BigLaw attorney’s high-profile sex discrimination and retaliation suit against the partnership.

Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn gave defense attorney Lynne Hermle the bad news Friday, after earlier making the same ruling on a tentative basis and giving Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers a chance to present new arguments on the issue. The firm has already said it will appeal, Reuters reports.

The discrimination case is being brought by Ellen Pao, a junior partner at Kleiner Perkins. The former Cravath Swaine & Moore associate earned an engineering degree from Princeton University as well as both a master’s in business administration and a law degree from Harvard University.

Perceived by a number of observers as a rare example of a professional woman publicly battling a male-dominated Silicon Valley work culture, the suit has been closely watched and made headlines throughout the country.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Still in ‘Caveman Era’? Ex-BigLaw Associate with Star Credentials Sues Venture Capital Firm”

ABAJournal.com: “Kleiner Perkins to Make New Arbitration Bid in High-Profile Silicon Valley Sex-Discrimination Case”

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