Lynne Hermle


Silicon Valley

Lynne Hermle, a Silicon Valley employment partner, has a decades long track record of winning high-profile jury trials on behalf of industry-leading clients and defeating class certification on discrimination and wage class actions.

Lynne has significant experience successfully defending complex discrimination and wage-and-hour class actions for global leaders in the retail and technology sectors including Microsoft, Twitter, The Gap, Genentech, Sears, Burlington Coat Factory, Gymboree, Spencer’s Gifts, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn Kids, among many others.

Lynne led the trial team that obtained a complete defense verdict for Kleiner Perkins in Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, the high-stakes gender discrimination and retaliation case that garnered intense international media scrutiny. In naming Lynne “Litigator of the Week” for this victory, American Lawyer described her effective voir dire and how she “steadily poked holes in Pao’s testimony.” The Recorder called Lynne’s cross-examination “masterful” and Bloomberg reported that her “charismatic, intimidating oratory made her the trial’s breakout star.”

Following Pao, Lynne secured a complete defense verdict for SpaceX in an $8 million gender discrimination and retaliation suit. The Daily Journal 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 publication also pronounced Lynne to be “arguably the most feared employment defense attorney in California.” Eight months later she followed that up with another jury defense verdict for SpaceX in a wrongful discharge and retaliation case.

In recognition of these successes and her high-profile career trial work, Lynne was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2017. She is a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and many other trial related organizations.

  • Lynne serves as an Early Neutral Evaluator for the Northern District of California and has been appointed by that court to serve as a mediator in complex cases. In addition to training and counseling employers, she teaches classes on trial advocacy and substantive employment topics.

    Before coming to Orrick, she was in-house counsel for AT&T, where she handled employment matters for a several-state region.

  • Additional Representative Actions:

    • Microsoft and Twitter. Lynne led the defense of both of these discrimination class actions, in which the courts denied certification of both class actions.
    • SpaceX. Secured a defense verdict in Los Angeles Superior Court in a $6 million whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former technician. This trial performance earned her American Lawyer's "Litigator of the Week," June 2017. In addition, Lynne secured a defense verdict in a separate trial regarding sexual harassment in 2016. 
    • Class Actions. Represented large employers in wage-and-hour class actions, including The Gap and Burlington Coat Factory. Bucking the legal tide, Lynne defeated class certification in statewide wage-and-hour class actions for Banana Republic, Old Navy, Pottery Barn Kids and Burlington Coat Factory and has had other cases dismissed on summary judgment and other grounds.
    • AMD. Obtained a quick defense verdict in the high-profile trial of Maghribi v. Advanced Micro Devices on behalf of AMD. Plaintiff, a senior Arab Muslim executive, sought $200 million in lost salary, bonuses and stock options and emotional distress damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees, alleging post-September 11th discrimination. After a several-week trial, the jury returned in less than two hours with a defense verdict.
    • Morgan Stanley. Obtained dismissal of unlawful deduction class claims in New Jersey multidistrict litigation, addressing issues of long-standing concern to the financial services industry.
    • Inland Container Corp. Obtained direct verdicts for Inland Container in Thrush v. Inland Container Corp., a case involving allegations of disability discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and related claims after several weeks of a federal jury trial.
    • City of Tracy. Obtained directed verdicts for the City of Tracy and individual defendants in Vizza v. The City of Tracy on all nine claims brought by the City’s former Director of Public Works, including constitutional and common law claims, after five days of jury trial in federal court.
    • IBM. Obtained a defense verdict on all claims on behalf of IBM in Pi v. IBM, a hard-fought jury trial alleging claims of retaliation for sexual harassment complaints.
    • Varian. Obtained dismissal of all wrongful discharge claims asserted by plaintiff David Kern in Kern v. Varian Associates, Inc., and obtained a verdict of more than $3.5 million on Varian’s cross-claim for trade secret theft. Mr. Kern served time in a federal prison for that theft.