Ellen Pao could take the stand as early as Thursday in her gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins, where she used to be a junior partner.
Pao is seeking $US16 million from Kleiner, alleging she was retaliated against after having an affair with another partner. She also claims Kleiner failed to prevent discrimination from occurring at the firm.
Kleiner Perkins has denied Pao’s allegations. Lynn Hermle, its lead attorney, has repeatedly emphasised that Pao didn’t have the necessary skills to become a successful venture capitalist.
As the plaintiff in this case, Pao is expected to testify for around 10 hours, likely spanning multiple days. She’ll be on the stand longer than any other witness.
Pao’s testimony will cover her employment history at Kleiner, her job search after being fired, and her current job as the CEO of Reddit, according to court documents.
We’ll likely hear more about incidents already raised by Pao’s lawyers like an allegedly uncomfortable cross-country jet trip with partner Ted Schlein, and her relationship with John Doerr, who she worked for as chief of staff when she first joined Kleiner.
On Wednesday Doerr claimed Pao had reoccurring interpersonal issues Pao had with other partners at the firm, specifically with Trae Vassallo, a former Kleiner partner.
On Tuesday, Doerr said Pao and Vassallo had an “explosion” outside his office.
There’s a lot at stake here, both for Pao and for aspiring female venture capitalists. Pao wanted to be a senior partner at Kleiner. In that role she could have easily earned millions each year.
If Pao wins, however, it could make VC firms reluctant to hire female partners.
Some limited partners — the investors in venture capital firms — have signaled their reluctance to back firms with female partners because of the litigation risk.
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