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  • 16 Sep 2022 9:15 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    BALIF's New Lawyers Committee is accepting applications for the 2022-2023 Mentorship Program! BALIF's incredibly successful mentorship program is back and we're hoping to recruit eager law students, post-bar graduates, and lawyers of every experience level to receive mentorship from a wide array of legal backgrounds and life experiences. As any lawyer will tell you, mentoring is an integral part to any professional's success in their career. 

    If you are interested in applying to be either a mentee or mentor (or both if you're a practicing lawyer!), please follow the links to the appropriate application (all responses are confidential, and the entire application can be completed in 5 minutes). Applications will close Wednesday, October 5th, and pairings will be released at BALIF's Annual Mentor/Mentee Happy Hour, which will take place on Thursday, October 13. Please check your email and the BALIF newsletter for updates. If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out to the New Lawyers and Law Students Co-Chairs at newlawyers@balif.org

    Click here for the Mentee Application.

    Click here for the Mentor Application. 

  • 19 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is pleased to announce that it has selected California Deputy Attorney General Lisa J. Cisneros to fill the magistrate judgeship recently vacated by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley upon her appointment as a U.S. District Judge.

    Ms. Cisneros will join the court from the California Department of Justice, where she serves as a Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Rights Enforcement Section. In this capacity, she has represented California and its agencies in complex affirmative and defensive litigation, primarily in the federal trial and appellate courts. Ms. Cisneros has led teams litigating cases in the areas of gender equality, immigration, healthcare, workplace safety, and antidiscrimination law.

  • 18 Aug 2022 4:57 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    Biden announced he nominated Judge Daniel Calabretta (nee Powell) to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. If confirmed, Calabretta would be the first openly LGBTQ judge to serve on the federal district court.

    Calabretta was a BALIF member, BALIF Board Member and Gala Chair for many years. Congratulations!

  • 24 Jul 2022 10:00 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Just last September, BALIF joined an amicus brief filed by the National Women's Law Center in support of the respondents in Dobbs v. Jackson.  

    On June 24th, a conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court devastatingly overruled the protections afforded by Roe w. Wade in that very case. BALIF stands with all persons impacted by this erroneous reversal of the right to an abortion, especially given that this decision may impact LGBTQ+ rights and the rights of other marginalized communities in the future. What may we do in the meantime?

    Let us continue to foster community, share our stories, and work together to support just policies, legislation, and jurisprudence. As we prepare to celebrate SF Pride and the end of Pride Month this weekend, please join your LGBTQ+ legal community before the SF Pride Parade on Sunday morning for our BALIF & Morrison Foerster Pride Breakfast, or for the SF Dyke Marchtomorrow.  

    In solidarity,

    The BALIF Board and Co-Chairs


  • 29 Mar 2022 6:33 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    A great way to serve the LGBTQI legal community and become more involved in BALIF is to join BALIF's Board of Directors. BALIF's Directors are elected by the BALIF membership and each Director holds office for two years. Any BALIF member is welcome to run for the Board or nominate another BALIF member. BALIF seeks a board that reflects the diversity of our LGBTQI legal community, and we specifically encourage people of color, women, transgender people, and non-binary/gender non-conforming people to run for the Board.

    To run for the Board or nominate someone else, please send a candidate statement of up to 250 words to our secretary (secretary@balif.org) and BALIF's Administrative Director, Katie Carlson (balif@balif.org) by April 14, 2022 at 5:00 pm. BALIF's bylaws require gender parity on the Board, with a certain number of positions allocated to Directors who identify as male, female, or other genders (a broad category including but not limited to non-binary, genderqueer, gender variant, and gender non-conforming). So if you are seeking a position, please indicate the category under which you plan to run. If you are interested in receiving an endorsement from the Nominating Committee, please submit your candidate statement no later than April 10, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

    Elections will be held online from April 15 to April 26. BALIF's annual general membership meeting will be held on Thursday, April 28, 2022 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. to meet the 2022-2023 Board and give the membership a year-end update.

    Thinking about seeking a position? Know someone who would make a fabulous addition to the Board? Want to learn more about BALIF and what's involved in being on the Board? Please contact Katie at balif@balif.org.

  • 02 Sep 2021 9:23 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    BALIF's New Lawyers Committee is accepting applications for the 2021-2022 Mentorship Program! BALIF's incredibly successful mentorship program is back and we're hoping to recruit eager law students, post-bar graduates, and lawyers of every experience level to receive mentorship from a wide array of legal backgrounds and life experiences. As any lawyer will tell you, mentoring is an integral part to any professional's success in their career. 

    If you are interested in applying to be either a mentee or mentor (or both if you're a practicing lawyer!), please follow the links to the appropriate application (all responses are confidential, and the entire application can be completed in 5 minutes). Applications will close Thursday, September 30th, and pairings will be released at BALIF's Annual Mentor/Mentee Happy Hour, which will take place in October. Please check your email and the BALIF newsletter for updates. If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out to Monica Valencia or Myell Mergaert at newlawyers@balif.org

    Click here for the Mentee Application.

    Click here for the Mentor Application.

  • 30 Aug 2021 9:19 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Dear BALIF Member,

    This fall, Californians will decide on whether to recall Governor Gavin Newsom from office.  

    As members and allies of LGBTQI+, BIPOC, immigrant, and other marginalized communities and identities, we cannot sit out this important election. If more than 50% of Californians vote to unseat Gov. Newsom, the replacement candidate with the most votes becomes governor. The outcome impacts us and our most vulnerable at a critical time in the pandemic.  

    Let us be clear: BALIF is not staking out a partisan position in calling on our members to oppose the election. BALIF is taking a stand for the integrity of our future democratic processes, not yielding ground to hard-won civil rights and liberties, and most importantly, protecting the rights of the LGBTQI+ community, immigrants and BIPOC, women, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and so many others.

    The BALIF Board strongly recommends you vote “No” on the gubernatorial recall.  

    August 30th is the last day to register to vote by mail. After which, voting may be done at a polling place, vote center or your county elections office through Election Day, September 14th.

    Sincerely,

    BALIF Board of Directors

  • 19 Mar 2021 6:59 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    We write on behalf of BALIF, as the nation’s oldest LGBTQIA+ bar association, to express our rage, grief, and condolences for the victims and their families affected by the shootings on March 16, 2021 in the Atlanta area at three massage parlors, the Gold Massage Spa, Young’s Asian Massage, and Aroma Therapy Spa.  As of this writing, an FBI Director and Georgia Sheriff stated that the shootings do not appear to be racially motivated.  However, of the eight people murdered on Tuesday, six were of Asian descent, and seven were women.  Not only was race a factor, but gender and an anti-sex work animus played a role as well. Organizations like Red Canary Song, a grassroots Chinese massage parlor worker coalition, have eloquently written about how to radically heal and mourn, and we want to uplift those voices in solidarity with the AAPI community and affirm BALIF’s commitment to work towards for a future in which low-wage workers, Asian and Asian-Pacific American/Asian-Pacific Islanders (AAPI) people, sex workers, and women are protected and respected to allow them to peacefully labor, prosper, and survive.

    Much has been said about stopping AAPI hate following this tragedy, and daily incidents of brutal violence against Asian elders in the Bay Area continue to come to light, coupled with the exponential increase in hate crimes against the AAPI community since the start of the pandemic.  These stories hit home for us, our families and friends, and our broader communities. 

    Esther K., a co-director of Red Canary Song, recently said in a Guardian article, “Removing the anti-sex-work component really removes the crux of what this specific kind of racism is about: the fetishization of Asian women’s bodies, the objectification of their bodies and the assumption that Asian women are obviously going to be providing sexual services at massage parlors,” and “the conflation of massage parlors and sex workers without any nuance is very specific to anti-Asian racism against Asian women.”  Due to sexist racialized perceptions of Asian women, especially those engaged in vulnerable, low-wage work, Asian massage workers are harmed by the criminalization of sex work, regardless of whether they engage in it themselves. 

    As a call to action, please consider signing up for the Bay Area Workers Support (BAWS), Attorney Referral Network to offer legal help to support sex workers. BAWS welcomes any sex worker allied attorneys in any field and experience level. If you are interested in being on this referral list please fill out the form or you can contact rhanileeremedes@gmail.com for more information about this project. This Sunday, GAPA is coordinating a rally and march beginning at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco at 11:00am. Please follow the event on Facebook for more information.  For more AAPI Anti-Hate Community Resources, please check out our BALIF Community Forum.

    BALIF supports the AAPI community in condemning these heinous acts that occurred on March 16, 2021.  If you are an ally, please educate yourself and others.  Look out for those in the AAPI community, train yourselves, and be there for others.  We ask you to all be gentle to yourselves, and give yourself some space and breaks to process, grieve, reflect, and express your anger.


  • 26 Jan 2021 1:18 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The BALIF Foundation is dedicated to increasing the number of LGBTQI judges on the bench through educational programming, supporting LGBTQI community organizations, and providing scholarships, summer stipends, and fellowships for LGBTQI law students and young attorneys seeking to help the LGBTQI community through legal work. 

    In 2020, we made donations to ALRP, the Transgender Law Center, and the BALIF Halloween Fundraiser benefiting TGIJP, in addition to awarding the below awards, fellowships and scholarships:  

    Inaugural Julius Turman Award - Rachel Schiff 

    Rachel Schiff graduated from UC Davis School of Law Class in 2020.  Rachel's accomplishments include hosting one of the law school's first Trans Day of Remembrance events and founding the UC Davis School of Law Gender Name Change Project in 2018, which serves trans and gender nonconforming youth seeking name and gender changes. The Project has assisted over 100 individuals since its inception.  Rachel is currently clerking in the Eastern District of California  

    BALIF Foundation Summer Fellowship - Nahlee Lin

    Nahlee Lin is a 2L at Berkeley Law, where she serves as a Co-Chair of the Womxn of Color Collective, Associate Editor on the California Law Review, and research assistant at the Othering & Belonging Institute. She has also interned at the Health & Welfare Clinic of the East Bay Community Law Center, served as a student counselor at the Workers' Rights Clinic, and volunteered at TGIJP Legal Mail Clinics. During her 1L summer, she worked at Oasis Legal Services assisting LGBTQIA+ immigrants to apply for asylum.   

    APABA-SV and BALIF Foundation Joint Scholarship - Ernest Fok

    Ernie is a 3L at Santa Clara University School of Law for the 2020-21 academic year. He is a member of Santa Clara Law's Equity, Justice and Engagement Committee, current Co-President of the Santa Clara Law Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, and former Co-President for EQSCU, Santa Clara Law's LGBT law student organization. After law school, Ernie will join Weil Gotshal's Silicon Valley office as a patent litigation associate, and he will continue to promote and advocate for the Asian American and LGBT legal community throughout his legal career.

    FBANC Foundation and BALIF Foundation Pamilya Joint Scholarship - Idrian Mollaneda 

    Idrian Mollaneda is a 3L at UC Berkeley School of Law.  He currently serves as an associate editor for the California Law Review and senior articles editor for the Asian American Law Journal.  Idrian previously served as co-president of the Queer Caucus and the Pilipinx American Law Society at Berkeley.  After graduating, Idrian will join Farella Braun + Martel as a litigation associate.   

    Law Student Association of the Year - Equality Santa Clara (EQSCU)

  • 05 Jan 2021 12:14 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF condemns in no uncertain terms the unprecedented effort by President Trump and GOP Members of Congress to mass-disenfranchise voters by overturning the electoral college vote.  This ongoing assault on our democracy culminated this past weekend with revelations that President Trump directly asked the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” additional votes.  In addition, several GOP Senators and Representatives have stated their intentions to challenge the electoral college votes from key states when Congress meets to count and certify the votes.

    As lawyers, we believe we have a responsibility to speak out and not remain silent when our legal system is threatened.  The President and his allies have mounted dozens of baseless lawsuits promoting a false narrative of voter fraud, but these have been uniformly rejected by courts because there is simply no evidence of fraud.  In many cases, courts have said that the lawsuits do not even allege the existence of fraud.  There is simply no constitutional, legal, or factual basis to support any of these claims.

    The assault on our democracy is particularly dangerous because it perpetuates a revisionist narrative that election protection is a partisan issue.  The past several years have seen an enormous success in increasing voter registration and turnout amongst communities of color and other groups that have historically low participation rates in elections.  We must stand in solidarity with these groups and continue to demand better access to voting and full implementation of voting rights.

    Amanda Hamilton & Jeff Kosbie 
    BALIF Board Co-Chairs

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