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Your Voice Matters


It’s time to vote! Your voice matters in selecting the people who will lead BALIF as members of the Board.

Elections will be online from April 2 until 4 pm on April 12. You can also vote in person at the BALIF Annual Meeting and Election Happy Hour on Thursday (April 12) 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 2, please email balif@balif.org.

BALIF is proud to present your candidates for the BALIF Board below.

* = Board Incumbent    

Women Candidates for 2 Open Positions:
  • Jane Aceituno
  • Sarah Davis*

Men Candidates for 4 Open Positions:
  • Tyler Alexander
  • Dustin Helmer*
  • Kevin Jones*
  • Jeff Kosbie
  • Austin Phillips

GNC/Non-Binary Candidates for 4 Open Positions (only 1 candidate running):

  • Sam Potts

Law Student Candidate (Woman):                      
  • No one running
Law Student Candidate (Man):    
  • Michael Riggins
Law Student Candidate (GNC/non-binary):    
  • Ary Smith


    Women: 2 Candidates for 2 Positions

    Name Statement
    Jane Aceituno

    I am passionate about LGBT activism and want to take what moves me to the BALIF Board. I started as a first year in college after being kicked out of my house when I came out in high school. I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I’ve carried that passion with me from my education in Boston to working as a family law attorney in San Francisco. I was on the LGBT Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Commission for several years. I served a year on the Board of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club and, as a volunteer, helped to organize women’s programming at the LGBT Center. I was also an advocate against LGBT smoking in the action groups Butt Out and Freedom From Tobacco. Outside of strictly LGBT activism, I’ve done pro bono/volunteer work for Legal Aid at Work, the Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Bayview/Hunters Point Community Legal Clinic. I’m interested in serving on the social action related committees as a Board member. I’ve been a BALIF member for a number of years and am finally ready to step up to the next level as a Board member.

    On the personal side, I’m married to a wonderful woman and fellow attorney. We have a gorgeous daughter named Clara, who is the proud owner of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg children’s book “I Dissent.”

    Sarah Davis*

    Hello BALIF! I just finished my first term on the BALIF Board, and I feel like the two years have flown by. The Trump Era has changed and challenged our community as LGBTQI activists, lawyers, and (let’s be honest) as humans. I would love to continue to be a part of the resistance as a BALIF board member.

    These past two years I have chaired the Gala Committee ensuring both that everyone has a great time, at a great party, connecting with friends new and old, and that BALIF gets the funding that it needs to do all of its important work. 

    With this experience under my belt, I know I will be an (even more) effective board member this time around should you choose to honor me with your vote. My goal is to ensure that BALIF remains an active networking association and continues to build upon its rebel rousing and activist history in this new and frequently scary era.

    On a personal level, I am a senior associate at Morrison & Foerster, and I live in Oakland with my girlfriend and our two handsome gentlemen cats.

    MEn: 5 Candidates for 4 Positions

    Name Statement
    Tyler Alexander

    I would be honored to receive your vote to serve on BALIF’s Board.  My commitment to supporting LGBT causes began in college, shortly after I came out as a gay man, by working with the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC – Portland, OR) to fulfill a capstone requirement.  I continued my involvement in LGBT causes/advocacy through out law school by participating in my school’s OUTlaw chapter.  Then, upon graduation I joined the LGBT Bar Association of Oregon’s (OGALLA) Board as its Secretary in 2015.  I served the Board in this capacity up until I relocated to the Bay Area this past fall.  With OGALLA, I had the opportunity to help prepare and submit testimony in support of an anti-discriminatory bill affecting the transgender community.  It was a truly gratifying experience, and is one example of the type of work that I’d like to accomplish with BALIF if given the opportunity to serve.

    For additional background, I am an Oregon native that honestly regrets not moving to California sooner (gasp!).  The City has been wonderful to explore, and as I have begun training for the Aids LifeCycle ride in June, surrounding areas too.  Professionally, I have worked in government affairs for a trade association, as a researcher at Baker McKenzie, and have recently joined the legal division of Delta Dental.  Lastly, I am a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School (’15) (OR Bar, ‘16).  Please feel free to reach me at 541-324-9394 or @ tmalexander90@gmail.com with any questions.

    Dustin Helmer*

    Greetings BALIF! I am once again running for the BALIF Board after serving as your Gala Development Co-Chair for 2018 term. I received a call from the board to fill unexpected vacancies - a challenge I happily accepted. Since then I have not only served as the Gala Development Co-Chair, but have been very active in the Judiciary and Young Lawyers committees, respectively. I first connected with BALIF as a 1L in 2011 - meeting other LGBT individuals who were passionate about the law. Since then BALIF has had a particularly important role in my professional development. 

    I am first generation immigrant child and a first generation professional - BALIF's 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 given the opportunity to serve on BALIF's board, I will strive to push BALIF towards a further inclusive, sensitive and progressive organization. BALIF has undergone major changes within the last few years, and I want to continue to be a part of that change that will transform BALIF into a better organization than ever before. I have the experience, integrity and grit which makes me the ideal candidate to represent the needs of all of our diverse BALIF membership. I would be honored and humbled to have your vote. Thank you!

     Kevin Jones* Hello BALIF Members, 

    Because of my rewarding experience working with the BALIF over the past year, I have decided to run for re-election. 

    I have worked with my co-law student rep to introduce new programs in order to better transition students into their legal career, including our new judicial networking program. While working on these programs often in conjunction with the young attorney’s committee, I have noticed that BALIF provides a strong foundation for law students; however, few programs are designed for attorneys who are a few years out of law school. This is especially a problem for those who attended law school outside of the Bay Area.

    I would like to work with the board into splitting the young lawyer’s committee into two committees, one that continues its vital work in student mentorship and a new committee that focuses on young attorney professional development. I envision that this new committee would host programs such CLE trainings and networking opportunities targeted towards young attorneys.

    I believe that BALIF is inherently political and should position itself an advocacy organization for LGBTQI legal issues. Therefore, in addition to BALIF’s social and networking programs, we should further our support for existing LGBTQI advocacy groups and pro-bono projects. I also believe that we need to continue the critical work on intersectionality that several board members over the past year have launched in order to make BALIF more inclusive. 

    Thank you for your consideration and I hope to continue to serve on the board!
    Jeff Kosbie

    From its earliest years, BALIF has played a key role in creating professional space for LGBTQ lawyers. While being openly queer is not the professional liability it once was, BALIF continues to play this role today in providing a space for addressing our concerns, as well as providing networking and fun opportunities. Throughout my career, I have interacted with BALIF, and the broader LGBT bar, in several contexts. Prior to becoming a lawyer, I wrote a dissertation and taught classes on the history of the LGBT legal movement that included extensive research into BALIF’s history. Since being admitted to the bar, I have relied on BALIF for professionalization and networking opportunities, and enjoyed attending its numerous events. As a board member, I intend to help the organization continue to adapt to the changing needs of the queer legal community, while preserving its historical legacy.

    Austin Phillips

    My name is Austin Phillips. I am running for the BALIF Board of Directors with the hopes of adding some new blood to the mix and bring a fresh perspective on how BALIF can serve the LGBTQI legal community more effectively. My practice is in intellectual property law and I am an Associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. I love being a lawyer! When I am not working, I am engaged with the local political community and spend my time and money invested in social and economic justice issues facing the residents of San Francisco and beyond, trying to do my part to ensure a more just, fair, and equitable city. I am passionate about community and inclusion. Let's work together.

    GNC/non-binary:  1 Candidates for 4 Positions

    Name Statement
    Sam Potts

    My name is Sam Potts and I am excited about the potential of rejoining the BALIF board. I previously had the privilege of serving on the board as a Law Student Representative from 2015-2017.

    I am a 2017 law school graduate with extensive criminal defense experience. Prior to law school, I worked at a preeminent criminal defense firm. While in law school, I continued my commitment to criminal defense and social justice through my participation in the Keta Taylor Colby Death Penalty Project, the inaugural Racial Justice Clinic ("RJC")/San Francisco Public Defender Bail Unit, the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic ("CJJ"), and as a research assistant to Professor Emeritus Sharon Meadows (RJC/CJJ director). Presently, I work as a law clerk for solo-practitioners on several appointed criminal matters.

    I believe my time on the BALIF board, coupled with my years of experience in criminal defense, aided in my selection to the inaugural class of the Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. I am eager to help BALIF become more inclusive and intersectional, and to explore the ways in which the ABA and BALIF might collaborate to address racial, gender, and economic disparities within the legal field. In particular, I hope to focus on the prevalent and persistent injustices inflicted upon marginalized communities caught in the criminal justice system and amplify those experiences.

    I'd be honored to have your vote. Thank you for your support.

    Woman: 1 Candidate for 1 Position

    Name Statement

    No one running this year for this catagory.


    Name Statement
    Michael Riggins

    When I was in the process of choosing which law school to attend, one factor titled me heavily towards Berkeley: I would get the chance to live in the Bay Area. For those who live here it is easy to forget that this community is a beacon to LGBT people throughout the world. While the weather and the architecture are wonderful attractions, it is the community that shines brightest. As soon as I arrived at Berkeley, I was embraced by BALIF’s amazing legal community. I now want to serve as a member of BALIF’s board so that I can continue this cycle of support and mentorship. As a law student in the current political moment, the importance of being involved in the spaces I cherish has been made clear. To that end, I hope to be able to serve this community and help it grow even stronger over the next year.


    Name Statement
    Ary Smith

    I am a 2L at Berkeley Law embarking on a career in public interest law, and I am committed to serving diverse LGBTQ communities through my work. BALIF supported my 1L summer at the National Center for Lesbian Rights through the BALIF Summer Fellowship program, and has provided me with an invaluable opportunity to meet and network with other law students, professors, practitioners, and judges. I'm interested in giving back to the organization as a law student representative and providing a voice on the board for gender-nonconforming law students, as well as developing more program opportunities for law students and new lawyers to plug into BALIF"s resources. I am also a member of the National Lawyers Guild, the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, & Justice, and I run the weekly Tenants Rights Workshops at East Bay Community Law Center. I look forward to getting to know BALIF's rich and diverse community even more through the coming year.


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