It’s time to vote! Your voice matters in selecting the people who will lead BALIF as members of the Board.BALIF is proud to present your candidates for the BALIF Board below.
Elections will be online from April 3 until 4 pm on April 13. You can also vote in person at the BALIF Annual Meeting and Election Happy Hour on Thursday (April 13) at the Sausage Factory from 6 - 8:30 pm. In-person voting will end at 7 pm, and the election results will be announced at the end of the meeting.
Check your inbox for your personalized e-ballot. If you don't receive your e-ballot on April 3, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* = Board Incumbent
Female Candidates for 4 Open Positions:
- Jamie Dupree*
- Felicia Medina
- Annick Persinger
- Meaghan Zore
Male Candidates for 3 Open Positions:
- Charles Bruce
- Mario Choi*
- Stephan Ferris*
- Nima Ghazvini
- Dustin Helmer
- Nicholas Niiro
- Raymond Rollan
- Michael Stevens
- George Tran
Non-Conforming/Non-Binary/Genderqueer Candidates for 3 Open Positions:
- Nyla Moujaes
- Jennifer Orthwein*
- Lindsey Rosellini*
Law Student Female Candidate:
Law Student Male Candidate:
Female: 4 Candidates for 4 Positions
Hello BALIF! This is Jamie Dupree and I am asking for your vote (again!) for a position on the BALIF Board.
I have served on the BALIF Board for the last six years. The past two years, I have been the Programs Chair, and put together such events as BALIF’s Past, Present and Future panel and panels with ACS on transgender rights and Obergefell. I also host monthly BALIF Partner Exchange lunches. Previously, I was BALIF’s Co-Chair and Gala Co-Chair.
I love BALIF and truly enjoy working with our board and membership. This past year, I also became the Chair of the BALIF Foundation, and am working hard with its Board to get it up and running.
Given my busy practice and family life (I have a wife and two sons), I thought long and hard about whether I should run for the BALIF Board again. I decided I would run again because I wanted to help with several things:
1. In the year(s) ahead, BALIF plans to engage in more advocacy in response to the Trump administration’s challenges to everything I believe in;
2. I want to facilitate the Foundation’s coordination with BALIF;
3. I want to ensure that BALIF continues to keep women and legacy members involved;
4. I want assist BALIF to focus on intersectionality issues between the LGBT community and other minority communities; and
5. I want to work on preserving BALIF’s history.
Plus it’s fun! I appreciate your consideration for another term. Thanks.
Hi BALIF. I want back on this awesome organization’s board! I’m a past board member and active member of the CCBA Committee. CCBA is a legislative arm of a coalition of state bar associations. This year the CCBA BALIF Committee has proposed a record number of resolutions concerning justice issues that affect the LGBT community and the intersectional identities it encompasses. Can’t wait to represent BALIF at the annual conference come October!
BALIF is a great legal networking organization that stands for equality and resistance. The true potential of our organization lies in acknowledging the plight of marginalized people in our community. In these trying and emotional times, we should remain vigilant and work harder to create safer spaces for the underrepresented among us in order to expand our coalition and, therefore, our vision and reach.
Now the resume part: I’m the Managing Partner of a national plaintiff side firm’s San Francisco office. I specialize in gender and race employment civil rights class actions. In my practice, and as one of the few queer women of color in a leadership position, I work (very) hard to ensure LGBTQ individuals, people of color, women, and those with intersecting identities are given a voice via the law.
Now the ask. VOTE!
I am sincerely interested in serving as a member of the BALIF board. As a lesbian working in Plaintiff’s-side class action law, I believe I bring a unique perspective. My dedication to advancing LGBT rights also makes me well-qualified to serve.
I graduated magna cum laude from UC Hastings College of the Law in 2010. I then completed a year-position as an attorney in complex litigation at the San Francisco Superior Court. Currently, I am a senior associate at Tycko & Zavareei, LLP in Oakland. Prior to joining Tyco & Zavareei, I worked as an associate at Bursor & Fisher, P.A., a consumer class action firm.
As shown by my volunteer work at the S.F. H.R.C., on the “No on 8” campaign, and with the E.E.O.C., I have a long standing commitment to advancing LGBT rights and raising LGBT issues. I have published two papers on LGBT issues in the Hastings Women’s Law Journal. One addressed the special challenges for aging LGBT community members and the other evaluated police response to domestic violence in same-sex relationships.
Prior to law school, at U.C.S.D., I worked for Counseling Services to provide a support group for queer women. I also started an organization called the Queer Women’s Coalition, and worked as a manager at the LGBT resource center.
In short, it would be my pleasure and privilege to join the BALIF board. I hope to be of service.
I previously served for 3 years as BALIF's Membership Committee Chair. Since leaving the Board, I’ve enthusiastically remained involved in BALIF’s CCBA committee.
This year, the CCBA committee submitted an astounding 16 resolutions to the Conference of California Bar Associations!
I’m responsible for 5 of those resolutions, including a resolution to protect the privacy of LGBTQ individuals. For the LGBTQ community, privacy is not merely a matter of convenience, but carries with it significant physical and economic security ramifications. My proposed resolution would ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement. Trips to the psychiatrist, the AIDS treatment center, or gay bars by members of the LGBTQ community may be recorded by cameras set up by law enforcement in locations to record public spaces. This not only transforms the nature of public spaces, but harms the LGBTQ community, especially queer people of color who are likely to be disproportionately impacted in a negative manner. BALIF’s sponsorship of this resolution exemplifies one of the many ways the proud legacy of BALIF continues to grow.
If re-elected, I will proceed to support and expand BALIF's legislative and advocacy work. I will work hard to increase the value of BALIF membership by elevating awareness around the organization’s unique ability to positively transform society for LGBTQ individuals through the law.
For these reasons, I would very much appreciate your vote. Thank you for your consideration.
Male: 9 Candidates for 3 Positions
I consider myself a reluctant activist. By that, I mean that I would love to live in an accepting, empathetic world. But sometimes we have to be the change we seek. I am very proud to have interned with the Aids Law Project of Pennsylvania where I provided public benefits advocacy and ultimately led to a Staff Attorney position at the Homeless Action Center (HAC) in Berkeley, CA. In my present role managing the Pro Bono program at HAC, I have the great honor to share our unique approach of providing barrier free and respectful public benefits advocacy with volunteer attorneys from a variety of practice areas.
To me, BALIF represents the best of lawyering. It is a place where LGBT lawyers from widely divergent practice areas can come together to promote social justice issues that not only affect each of us, but everyone. In the present political climate, we will need to demonstrate our strength and resolve to protect the advances that we have made over the 37 years of BALIF history and to propel us forward. It is for these reasons that I am asking for your consideration.
I believe that my experiences working with some of the most vulnerable individuals, including those living with HIV/AIDS and the homeless, have made it very plain to me that organizations like BALIF are vital to creating my dream world of acceptance and empathy. I would be honored to have your vote.
I'm Mario Choi, currently serving as your Treasurer on the BALIF Board. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you, our members. From serving first as your Communications and Technology Chair, to running the Connections mentoring program as your Young Lawyers and Law Students Chair, to being a Gala Co-Chair, and now as BALIF's money-manager, I continue to be amazed by the work BALIF does and by what you all do for the community. I have enjoyed partnering with you, meeting you, and making things happen. But, like anything we do, it continues to be a work in progress. There is always more to be done, new ideas to put into practice, a different perspective to provide, and things we can do better. And that is why I am seeking your vote for another term on the BALIF Board. Thank you for your vote.
| Stephan Ferris*|| I have spent the entirety of my adult life in San Francisco and currently serve as a Law Student Representative for BALIF Board of Directors. I am again running for the Board and identify as a queer, HIV-positive, polyamorous, leather man. I offer transparency and honesty about my identity in an attempt to reduce stigma surrounding my community through active visibility. |
My advocacy for the community manifests in service. I have participated as a cyclist in AIDS Life Cycle for three consecutive years, volunteered in the office at Folsom Street Events, and even traveled to New Zealand to film and promote a documentary pertaining to modern HIV prevention. During my legal studies, I was hand-selected by a prominent LGBT magazine to produce an editorial to educate readers on PrEP, PEP, and HIV Treatment AS Prevention (TASP).
I turn my advocacy into action. My journal note, Sex, Panic, & Videotape, was selected for publication by the Hastings Women's Law Journal. The knowledge I acquired from this research allowed me to craft a compelling argument that persuaded my BALIF colleagues to publicly come out in opposition of and to draft a statement against California's recently defeated Proposition 60. Additionally, I helped organize and promote a campus tour promoting the NO on Prop 60 Campaign.
I am ready to sharpen BALIF’s political teeth by driving more focus towards political issues. BALIF can be so much more than a social organization. I envision a BALIF that can socialize, organize, unite, and ignite.
I would like to be considered for your vote to the BALIF Board of Directors because I believe in its mission to combat all forms of discrimination. As a member of the LGBT family BALIF’s mission and its achievement is particularly close to my heart. I have been a member of other minority bar associations and served on the boards of Iranian American Bar Association’s Los Angeles chapter and Alameda County Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. I was particularly inspired to lend more time to serve the LGBT community after hearing about the incredible history of BALIF and its accomplishments in the Past, Present and Future program this past October. In this troubling time in our nation’s political atmosphere in which many minority groups are rightly anxious about their rights and liberties, I would like to see BALIF continue and strengthen its commitment to building coalitions with other minority bars and civil rights organizations. Through outreach, education, as well as social events, we will prove to be stronger together.
My name is Dustin Helmer and I am a former BALIF Law Student Representative and staff attorney at the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
I first connected with BALIF in law school - meeting other LGBT individuals who were passionate about the law. As a Law Student Representative, I planned substantive events for law students focused on networking/career development and sent over 20 students to Lavender Law via generous donations through BALIF and firms.
BALIF's mentorship program has had a particularly important role in my professional development. As the first lawyer in my family, the mentorship program provided guidance in helping me land my first, full-time job. Through BALIF, I connected with ALRP. I now have the privilege to work on behalf of the one most marginalized of communities to ensure their access to legal representation.
If elected, I plan on continuing the tradition of supporting our law students via BALIF's robust mentorship and career development programs, such as the "Making Your Mark" event on April 8th. I would continue to develop substantive events which address the concerns of our community, like events focused on immigration and transgender rights, and how BALIF can further support those who are most at risk of victimization.
I have the experience required to best serve BALIF's members. BALIF has provided me the opportunity to grow as an attorney and as a young, gay man and I want to provide the same experiences for other BALIF members. I hope to have your vote in the election!
I believe my work with OutLaw and serving on two non-profit boards gives me the experience to be a proactive BALIF board member who can hit the ground running. While in law school, I was an OutLaw Board Member and Social Chair. I organized several educational events for our members, including a series on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, transgender legal issues, and the legal challenges to Prop 8.
After graduating, I have participated on two non-profit boards. In 2014 and 2015, I served as board member and Treasurer for Tsunami – an LGBT swim team in the City. And since 2014 I have served as board member and Secretary for the Low Impact Hydropower Institute – an organization that certifies hydropower projects as environmentally friendly. In my positions on both boards, I have had various administrative responsibilities and worked as part of diverse groups consisting of members with sometimes opposing views. I have enjoyed this work and believe that we accomplish the most by listening, collaborating, and working towards common goals. I also participated on the BALIF Gala Committee for the 2017 Gala. The
I would be honored to serve on the BALIF Board and grateful for your vote. Thank you.
My name is Raymond Rollan. I have had the privilege of being a BALIF member since my 1L year, and it has had a tremendous impact in my life, both during and after law school. As a prospective Board member, I plan to give back to BALIF by contributing my personal and professional experiences as a Filipino LGBT lawyer in the bay area.
As a first generation college student, and the only LGBT individual in my family, I benefited greatly from BALIF's scholarship and mentorship programs. As a law student, I received BALIF's Novak Druce Scholarship, which allowed me to travel to Washington D.C. to attend the Lavender Law Conference. Through BALIF, I have also been able to connect with amazing lawyers, such as Dennis Raglin, David Tsai, Sharif Jacob, and many others who have showed me the true meaning of selfless giving and mentorship. These experiences have inspired me to become a better person and attorney and I am extremely grateful to BALIF for them.
As a prospective board member, I aim to contribute my experience as Membership Co-Director and LGBT Chair of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, as well as my involvement with the Earl Warren American Inn of Court. One of my goals is to figure out new ways to celebrate the intersection of identity and ethnicity, and to encourage a more robust conversation between the different affinity bar associations in the bay area.
I hope to have your vote for the 2017-2019 BALIF board.
In light of the new administration, organizations such as BALIF will be even more critical to serving the needs of vulnerable groups. Effective resistance requires visibility, coordination, and outreach, and BALIF is very effectively positioned to play an important role in advocating for the LGBT and other marginalized communities. I would be thrilled to join the board of this organization.
I am a senior associate at Seyfarth Shaw and a longtime supporter of BALIF. I’ve been practicing law in the bay area for nine years, and have a longstanding dedication to legal organizations serving the LGBT community. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, and am on the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Leadership Council of Lambda Legal.
In these roles, I’ve learned a great deal about the LGBT bar in the bay area, the resources of attorneys in government, non-profit, and private practice, and the needs of our community. I would be honored to join the BALIF board to help marshal these resources, and aid the training and development of the next generation of LGBT attorneys and judges currently in law school. Thank you for your consideration.
Having grown up gay in a conservative community as a son of Vietnamese refugees and having faced intolerance, I wanted a legal career fighting for those without a voice. And in 2009 when I joined BALIF as a bright-eyed 1L, I was immediately inspired by BALIF members making things better for future generations. This is why I would be honored to serve for this organization which stands up against intolerance and hate, and makes positive impact in the LGBT+ community.
I am currently a Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County. In my 4 years as a prosecutor, I have also served in San Francisco, Sonoma, and Placer. I am a graduate of UCLA and UC Hastings. I currently live in San Jose with my dog.
I am dedicated to:
-Focusing on diversity and coalition building with other minority bar associations throughout San Francisco and Silicon Valley;
-Increasing attorney and law student members from the wider Bay Area communities, especially Santa Clara County where no active LGBT Bar exists;
- Planning social activities, like the annual Gala, for members to connect, celebrate, reflect, and have fun;
-Stewarding student members and young attorneys.
In 2017, I will serve as Vice Chair on the Asian American Bar Association’s LGBT Committee. My prior service includes:
–Board Member, Sonoma County Prosecutors’ Association (2015);
–Sonoma County Representative, NAPIPA (2015);
–UC Hastings: Secretary of the Black Law Students Association, organizing career/networking events for members; Secretary of ASUCH (student government) as a voting member; member of OUTLAW.
Gender Non-Conforming: 3 Candidates for 3 Positions
As a triple minority and first-generation child of immigrants, I have not always felt my multiple identities are adequately represented across the legal community, particularly in positions of power. As a gender non-conforming queer person of Middle Eastern descent, I am inspired by the continued existence of BALIF and the prospect of working with my fellow LGBTQI colleagues for the greater good in these trying times.
While active with BALIF in law school, my friends and I protested the military’s recruitment of students with a discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in place. I have advocated for women in prison facing medical neglect, termination of parental rights, and requesting compassionate release. I have also represented Middle Eastern and Muslim noncitizens rounded up during NSEERS to be detained and deported post-9/11. I’d like to see more advocacy that takes on greater social importance and intersectionality.
I am currently a Managing Attorney at the Homeless Action Center in Berkeley, where we represent poor and homeless people living with mental and physical illnesses with their claims for public benefits. Previously, I was Supervising Attorney for Positive Resource Center, a non-profit previously known as AIDS Benefits Counselors founded in the late 80’s during the tragic epidemic that took the lives of so many. These experiences inform my desire to work with BALIF to continue its legacy of social justice activism through the law. I would be honored to serve our community as a BALIF Director. Thank you for your consideration.
| Jennifer Orthwein*
It has been a privilege to serve on the BALIF Board as Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee for three years and Chair of the Community Activism Committee this past year. It is my hope to continue to serve on the BALIF Board through this very challenging time. I believe it is imperative BALIF continue to enhance its commitment to justice work at the intersections of marginalization through racial, gender and economic equity practices.
I am an attorney and psychologist with a private legal-psychological consulting practice that provides consultation and expert testimony in cases involving LGBTQ prisoners. Previously, I was Senior Counsel for Transgender Law Center’s Detention Project, a psychologist in the California correctional system and a law clerk at NCLR. These experiences inform my work. I have been very fortunate to extend my passion to advocate for our community through BALIF.
The Community Activism Committee was new this year. Under my leadership, we focused on collaborating with local nonprofit organizations. In conjunction with these organizations and other BALIF thought leaders, we submitted eight resolutions to the California Conference of Delegates, provided a legal letter writing workshop on LGBTQ issues in prison and connected BALIF members to training opportunities related to protest activities. We are currently working with a coalition of advocates to support legislation to remove discriminatory criminal laws that target people living with HIV. I would love to continue this work and much more as your third-term Director.
| Lindsey Rossellini*
My name is Lindsey Rosellini and I currently serve on the BALIF board as the Community Ambassador Chair. My priorities as a board member of BALIF are to increase diversity and increase visibility of intersectional identities within our LGBTQ legal community. As Chair of the CAC, I get to celebrate and sponsor the endeavors of our Bay Area minority bar organizations within the Minority Bar Coalition. This is through our gala ticket exchange, creating joint scholarships for our law students and sponsoring our fellow MBC organizations' events. I love what I do.
If I have the honor and privilege of serving on the BALIF board another term, I am determined to strengthen BALIF's efforts toward racial justice and gender diversity for transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer, trans* and/or non-binary, etc. members of the community.
I look forward to serving you again! Thank you for your support!
Student FEMale: 1 Candidate for 1 Position
My name is Jaclyn Gross, and I would love to serve as BALIF Student Representative. I’m a bisexual, cisgender woman and currently serve as the President of UC Hastings OUTLAW and the Northwest & Northern CA Assistant Regional Chair for the National LGBT Bar Association Law Student Congress. I believe that my past career as a Production Coordinator, my experience in law school thus far, and the relationships I have already built through BALIF will all be crucial to my being a valuable member of the BALIF Board. Throughout my life I have found ways to be involved in LGBTQ+ activism, starting with my religious high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. In my undergraduate experience, I joined social groups as well as voter registration coalitions in order to share information and help promote change on local and federal levels. Now, at UC Hastings, I can expand upon what I have already done and approach the importance of LGBTQ+ rights from a legal perspective as well. I look forward to using the resources I have accumulated to maintain an effective bridge between students and attorneys. By fostering these connections, we can also create a bridge between our rights as they are now and what they should be. Serving as Student Representative would be a great opportunity to gain experience and build a foundation for future work with an organization that is absolutely vital to the survival and happiness of our community.
STUDENT MALE: 1 CANDIDATES FOR 1 POSITION
Greetings BALIF members,
My name is Kevin Jones, I am a second-year at University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Because of my incredible experience in BALIF, I am running for one of the student representative positions for the upcoming term.
I believe that my previous experience in LGBTQ spaces make me well-suited for the position. As the outgoing co-chair of Queer Caucus, I worked with queer students of various intersections, administrators, and other affinity groups to address issues of inclusivity within the law school campus. As co-chair, I created two mentorship programs to provide better academic and professional support for queer law students. In addition to Queer Caucus, I worked as a research assistant for Professor Russell K. Robinson on his work related to HIV public health policies. I am also in the process of developing a publishable note titled “Veiled Refuge: Examining How LGBTQ Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Have Unequal Legal Coverage.” Outside of the law school, I run the San Francisco chapter of Varsity Gay League, the largest LGBTQ recreational sports organization in California.
In addition to its networking purpose, I believe that BALIF is inherently political and should position itself an advocacy organization for LGBTQ legal issues. Therefore, in addition to the social and networking programs provided by BALIF, I believe that we should further our support for existing LGBTQ advocacy groups and pro-bono projects.
Thank you for your consideration and I hope to serve as one of the student representatives!