Three Orrick Partners Honored with 2017 CLAY Award


Orrick employment partners Lynne Hermle and Julia Riechert, and public finance partner John Knox have each been selected by the Daily Journal and California Lawyer as “California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year”. This annual award recognizes the lawyers throughout the state whose achievements had a significant impact on the law, the legal profession, a particular industry, or the community.

Lynne and Julia were chosen for securing a complete defense verdict on behalf of client SpaceX in an $8 million gender discrimination and retaliation suit brought by now-former employee Zhoei Teasley. Following a strategy the Daily Journal described as “audacious and risky”, a Los Angeles jury in October 2016 rejected the plaintiff’s claims, a verdict upheld by the judge earlier this month. The publication called the outcome “another triumph for Hermle,” observing that her “string of successes for tech clients fighting off gender harassment and discrimination claims got longer.”

The Daily Journal noted that Lynne “set the bar high in 2015 when she persuaded jurors to absolve venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC of gender discrimination against worker Ellen Pao in a landmark San Francisco trial.” Lynne won a CLAY award in recognition of that defense victory, making this year’s win her second CLAY award in a row.

John, who received a CLAY award in 2005 and 2012, was selected this year for his innovative use of social impact bonds to renovate nearly 1,000 dilapidated homes in the city of Richmond. “I saw the disconnect between the hot Bay Area housing market and these rundown properties," John told the Daily Journal. “There are plenty of people out there wanting to buy fixer-uppers and flip them”. The publication noted that other communities around the country are now exploring ways to replicate John’s first-of-its-kind strategy, and that the innovation has attracted attention in the public finance sector. “The industry took note,” the Daily Journal wrote.

The CLAY recognition is the latest in a string of accolades for these attorneys and their practice groups. Among other recognitions, Lynne was recently inducted as a fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers. The Daily Journal previously recognized the SpaceX win as a “Top Defense Verdict of 2016”. Orrick’s employment group was named by The Recorder as a 2016 Labor and Employment Defense Firm of the Year. The firm’s public finance practice has been #1 ranked bond counsel in the U.S. since 1998.