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  • 30 May 2020 2:49 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) Board of Directors is deeply disturbed and saddened by the events that have unfolded across the country in the last couple of weeks.  These events have reemphasized our country's history of violence against Black and African-American communities.  We condemn the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the harassment of Christian Cooper, and the police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade and the unacceptable countless other similar tragedies.  Enough is enough.

    BALIF condemns the deep injustice and pain this violence has inflicted on the families of those lost and the community at large.  This violence affects all of us.  BALIF must stand with the various Black and African-American communities during these painful times and always against police misconduct, bias, discrimination, and harassment on the basis of race, whether actual or perceived.  BALIF is a community of LGBTQI+ legal professionals that envisions a world where LGBTQI+ people live with dignity and equality under the law.  BALIF's mission is to lead our LGBTQI+ legal community through advocacy, justice, community empowerment, and professional development.  BALIF is committed to advancing the interests of all marginalized, underrepresented, and underserved communities through our power as an organization of attorneys.  We know we cannot fully realize our mission without advocating against the daily violence facing our Black and African-American community members.  While the State of Georgia and the Hennepin County Attorneys General have brought formal charges against those involved in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, justice has been unduly delayed for them and others.  We call for justice to be served, equally and fairly, and for these extrajudicial killings to end now.  BALIF has joined many other LGBT organizations in a letter committing to combating racial violence.  You can read the letter here.

    We call on our members to similarly oppose the over-policing of and violence towards Black, African-American, and POC communities by calling for police accountability, oversight, and the fair administration of the judicial process to ensure justice is served.  As members of the LGBTQI+ legal community we have a distinct role to play in the fight for equality.  As members of the LGBTQI+ community, we occupy intersecting identities stemming from our gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), physical and/or mental disability, and other characteristics.  And with this intersectionality, we have a special duty to not only fight for equality for ourselves, but for others within our community, our allies, and other marginalized communities who bear dual consciousness of their LGBTQI+ identity and race, and thus are doubly victims of bias and discrimination.  We must extend the political power some of us have achieved to those marginalized, underrepresented, and underserved communities that still suffer, for none of us shall find true liberation until all of us can live our lives with dignity and the equal protection of the justice system. 

    We cannot stand by as another Black, African-American or other person of color is murdered for going on a jog, bird watching, or encountering the police.  As Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissent in Utah v. Strieff

    We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are 'isolated.'  They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere.

    In solidarity, we invoke our members to take action in the way they individually find meaningful and possible to advance the issue.  We also invite our members to read Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual, created by the ACLU and designed to provide context, tools, and avenues to take action

    Lastly, we would like to encourage our members to continue providing feedback to the Board by emailing the Chairs at chair@balif.org or diversity@balif.org and to continue bringing issues of importance to our attention.  Please reach out to each other and those in your lives who are feeling impacted by this violence.  We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those lost and wish all of you reading this message safety and good health.


    On behalf of the BALIF Board,

    Daniel H. Galindo, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer

    Conference of California Bar Associations Committee Co-Chair

  • 20 May 2020 4:15 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    The BALIF Foundation has awarded the 2020 Summer Fellowship to Nahlee Lin is a rising 1L at UC Berkeley School of Law.  Over the summer, Nahlee will be interning at Oasis Legal Services, a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive legal immigration services to low-income, LGBTQIA+ clients.   At Oasis, Nahlee’s internship will be focused on assisting LGBTQIA+ immigrants in applying for asylum and supporting these clients through the asylum process from beginning to end. Oasis serves hundreds of LGBTQIA+ asylum applicants annually with a success rate of 99%. 

    Congratulations to Nahlee Lin! 

  • 21 Apr 2020 4:13 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    • Thank you to those of you who were able to attend our 40th Anniversary Gala: Over the Rainbow on March 6, 2020.  We were grateful our event was able to move forward, as the restrictions around COVID-19 canceled and postponed events like ours soon thereafter.  Our gala brought over 500 of us together and allowed us to celebrate 40 amazing years as an organization.  Thanks to our sponsors and individual ticket purchases, we raised over $200,000 with 85 sponsors, over a fifth of whom were brand new supporters of the BALIF gala.  Check out the photos here or on our Facebook page. We hope you had a blast, and we look forward to seeing you again soon! 

      Congratulations again to our awardees:

    •  Oasis Legal Services (2020 Legal Services Award) Oasis Legal Services is a leading legal services provider for LGBTQ immigrants on the West Coast, serving hundreds of asylum seekers every year. Through holistic representation Oasis empowers our clients to ensure those fleeing persecution are protected from deportation so they can live safely and love freely. 
       
    • Openhouse (2020 Community Service Award)  For over 20 years, Openhouse has enabled San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ seniors to overcome the unique challenges they face as they age by providing housing, direct services and community programs. Right now, they’re partnering with Mon Ami to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to address food insecurity and social isolation.  If you would like to volunteer your time, you can find more information here.

    •  BALIF Founders (2020 Trailblazers Award) See the founders’ video here.

    Don’t be a stranger!

    The BALIF Gala is often the one time of year we can count on seeing old and new faces, whether members or not, in celebration of our wonderful organization and all the good we do for the LGBTQI legal community.  We hope you will stay connected and engaged with us!  We’ve just elected our 2020-2021 Board, and are so proud of our 2019-2020 Board and how much we have accomplished in a year!  We want to hear from you about how we can best support and serve our members through the coming months. Hope to see you at the next (virtual) happy hour

    Amanda Hamilton & Mark Fickes
    2020 Gala Committee Co-Chairs


  • 25 Feb 2020 10:17 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    Thinking about running for the BALIF board, or know someone who should run? BALIF seeks a board that reflects the diversity of our LGBTQI legal community, and we especially encourage people of color, women, transgender people, and non-binary/gender non-conforming people to run for the Board. 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. Serving on the BALIF board is a great way to serve the LGBTQI legal community by developing the programming and events that support BALIF’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession on behalf of all LGBTQI people.

    How To Run
    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 Administrator, Katie Carlson (balif@balif.org) by April 2, 2020 at 5:30 pm. BALIF's bylaws require gender parity on the Board, with an equal number of positions allocated to Directors who identify as male, female, and trans/gender non-conforming. The following seats are open in this election: 3 trans/gender non-conforming seats; 2 male seats; 1 female seat; and 3 law student representative seats. Please indicate in your statement whether you are running for the male, female, or trans/gender non-conforming seats.

    Board Member Expectations

    The board retreat is currently set for May 2 and May 3, 2020, subject to change based on shelter-in-place requirements. All board members must attend the retreat. Board members are generally expected to attend monthly board meetings. We are a working board, and therefore it is expected that Directors actively support BALIF by organizing programs, attending events, participating in our mentoring program, and through other means. Board members generally find service on the board to be very rewarding, and the time commitment manageable.

    Due to COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place order, elections will be held solely online. After the deadline for candidate statements closes, BALIF will announce the names of the candidates and will circulate instructions on how to vote online. 

    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.

  • 14 Jan 2020 11:26 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF Foundation to seek nominations for the First Annual Julius Turman Award. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of BALIF's founding, and we're spending that year celebrating and reflecting on four decades of work organizing LGBTQI lawyers in the Bay Area to advocate for a more just world. As a way of recognizing and supporting emerging leaders in our community, the BALIF Foundation has established an annual award intended for Law Student Advocates.

    The Julius Turman Award will be granted by the BALIF Foundation to one law student each year who has shown outstanding commitment to advocacy for LGBTQ individuals, especially for the more marginalized communities of color and trans individuals. The recipient must be currently a member of BALIF, enrolled at a Bay Area Law School, identify somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and must be available to receive the award at the BALIF Gala on March 6, 2020. The awardee will receive a stipend of up to $1,500 to be used in support of attending Lavender Law or another appropriate conference or purpose (as identified by the award recipient and award committee). BALIF is working on and may be able to offer additional benefits at the Lavender Law Conference as part of the Julius Turman Award.

    As a BALIF member, we hope you'll take this opportunity to lift up the voices of emerging leaders in our community by submitting a nomination. To submit a nomination of yourself, or someone in your community, please complete the nomination form hereNominations must be received by Friday, January 31, 2020 to be considered. Finalists for the award will be invited to participate in an interview in early February.

    If you have any other questions about the Julius Turman Award, please feel free to write direction to the lawstudentrep@balif.org

  • 05 Nov 2019 6:38 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    We hope you enjoyed our Halloween Fundraiser that benefited the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA).   BALIF partnered with the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) to throw an unforgettable party where we were able to raise over $8,500 for GAPA!  GAPA envisions a powerful Queer Trans Asian and Pacific Islander community that is seen, heard, and celebrated. We work to unite our families and allies through inclusion, advocacy, and love. Learn more about GAPA here. Thank you to all those who supported and were able to join us last week!


  • 22 Oct 2019 6:43 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    This year's BALIF delegation to the Conference of CA Bar Associations (CCBA) is returning home with several wins and inching closer to passing a resolution to establish the Homeless Bill of Rights.  Please join me in thanking the delegates who lobbied hard for these resolutions and donated their time and resources to represent BALIF at this state-wide conference:  Jen Orthwein, Felicia Medina, Annick Persinger, Michael Wolchansky, Stephan Ferris, and Ari Jones.  

    The CCBA Committee would also like to thank past delegate, Meaghan Zore for a resolution she authored that went on to become AB 1793 and signed into law in 2018.  This law requires the CA Dept. of Justice to affirmatively identify past convictions for cannabis-related offenses that are eligible for recall, dismissal, or redesignation pursuant to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.  Signed into law in the 2019 cycle, BALIF supported SB 495, which prohibits considering a parent's  sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in determining the best interest of the child in custody proceedings.

    Each bar association delegate is eligible to vote on every resolution, which means the larger our delegation, the more BALIF members' voices are represented. We hope to have more participants at next year's September 2020 Conference in San Diego.  If you'd like to attend or would like to draft a resolution, email ccba@balif.org for more information.

    BALIF RESOLUTIONS APPROVED:

    1. Changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day 

    2. Banning oxybenzone and octinoxate in sunscreen

    3. Making Election Day a paid holiday in California;

    4. Extending the statute of limitations for all claimants of death and personal injury tort claims against government entities to one year to file the government tort claim (from the currency 6 months) and a full 2 years from rejection notice to file a civil suit in state court. (Re: incarcerated individuals)


    BALIF RESOLUTIONS DISAPPROVED:
    1. Homeless Bill of Rights (5 votes short)
    2. Affirmative defense of consent for assault and battery. See BDSM community (4 votes short)

    BALIF RESOLUTION VOLUNTARILY WITHDRAWN:
    1. Decriminalization of sex work

    APPROVED RESOLUTIONS BALIF DELEGATES ARGUED & SUPPORTED:
    1. gender-neutral language in the evidence code;
    2. adding transgender as a protected status under the Fair Employment & Housing Act;
    3. requiring hospitals to provide patients with the estimated cost of anticipated services;
    4. allowing transgender employees access to workplace lactation/wellness rooms for post-surgical care; and
    5. banning plastic bags for newspapers.

    Approved resolutions will now be proposed to legislators to be introduced as bills in the 2020 legislative cycle.

  • 20 Aug 2019 12:53 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    BALIF's New Lawyers Committee is accepting applications for both Mentors and Mentees for the 2019-2020 year! BALIF's incredibly successful mentorship program is back and we're hoping to recruit eager law students, post-bar graduates and new lawyers to receive mentorship from experienced attorneys 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 for either a mentee or mentor position, please follow the links to the appropriate application (all responses are confidential).  Pairings will be released close to the end of September, with the annual BALIF Mentor/Mentee Happy Hour to take place in early October. Please check your email for updates. If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out to Stephan Ferris at newlawyers@balif.org.

    Click here for the Mentee Application.

    Click here for the Mentor Application.


  • 13 Aug 2019 8:23 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Women Lawyers of Alameda County will again be awarding one $5,000 law student scholarship this year, courtesy of the Stuart and Rhoda Hing Charitable Trust.  The scholarship will be presented by the Hings at the WLAC Annual Judges’ Dinner on October 24, 2019, at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant in Jack London Square.

    The WLAC/Rhoda and Judge Stuart Hing Scholarship was created in 2018.  As an attorney, Judge Hing was a Board member of WLAC, and even after his appointment to the Alameda County Superior Court in 2008, he continued to serve for almost a decade as a judicial liaison to the Board.  This Scholarship represents a continuing commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equality, values shared by WLAC and the Stuart and Rhoda Hing Charitable Trust.

    The ideal candidate for this scholarship is:

    1.     Diverse*;

    2.     A law student**;

    3.     An individual with a demonstrated commitment to advocating for issues impacting women and/or the advancement of women in the legal profession;

    4.     Engaged in a leadership role in her/his/their community or demonstrates significant leadership potential;

    5.     Actively engaged in the Alameda County legal community; and

    6.     Able to attend the WLAC Annual Judges’ Dinner to receive the Scholarship.

    _____
    *   Has two or more intersecting background factors: e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.
    **  Has completed at least one year of law school and is currently in good standing.

    Interested candidates should email the following submissions in a single pdf file to Dorothy Chou Proudfoot at womenlawyers@gmail.com, with the subject line “WLAC/Hing Scholarship Application”: 

    ·          A copy of a certified law school transcript (including proof of good standing); 

    ·          A current resume or curriculum vitae;

    ·          A personal statement of NO MORE THAN TWO DOUBLE-SPACED PAGES, addressing why the candidate exemplifies the description above;

    ·          Up to one (1) letter of recommendation addressing the candidate’s suitability for this scholarship; and

    ·          A statement confirming availability to attend the WLAC Annual Judges’ Dinner on October 24, 2019. A ticket to the Dinner will be provided to the scholarship recipient.

    Finalists will be contacted in September to schedule an interview time on September 24 or 25, 2019.

    APPLICATION DEADLINE: AUGUST 30, 2019  



  • 26 Jun 2019 11:24 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The BALIF Foundation is proud to announce that Joseph Fordjour of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, has been selected to receive the Foundation's Summer Fellowship.  Joseph is a founding member of Equal Rights for Everyone, a student-led organization addressing intersectional issues.  Joseph will be working this summer at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCL) in the HIV/AIDS Project which addresses varied legal issues of low-income, HIV-positive residents, as well as with the Public Benefits Justice Project addressing access to care issues.  Joseph will also work in the EBCL's Name and Gender Change Workshop which assists clients in the process to obtain a court-ordered name and/or gender change and helps folks update identification to reflect their gender identity. 

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