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  • 04 Feb 2014 8:57 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The countdown to Standing Proud, the 2014 BALIF Gala, continues - it's only few weeks away! This year's event is on Friday, February 28 at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco. We will be honoring Judge Vaughn Walker and LYRIC, a local LGBTQQ youth organization, for their service and contributions to our community. It's not too late to sponsor BALIF for 2014 or purchase individual tickets to the Gala.


    Looking ahead to the spring, elections are coming up for open positions on BALIF's Board of Directors. Each Director holds office for two years, and we invite all BALIF members to nominate themselves or others for open positions. BALIF specifically seeks candidates who will contribute to the diversity of the Board. More information will follow, but in the meantime, please save the dates of April 3 as the deadline for candidate statements, and the evening of April 24 for the annual meeting of BALIF members and the election of new Directors.


    See you at the Gala on February 28!



    Julie Wilensky

    BALIF Secretary & CCBA Committee Chair

  • 28 Jan 2014 8:46 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    It is hard to believe Standing Proud, the 2014 BALIF Gala, is now only one month away! This year's event will be held on Friday, February 28, 2014 at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco and it will be a night to remember! In addition to the food, drinks, dancing, and festivity that always make the BALIF Gala the best lawyer party of the year, we will be honoring Judge Vaughn Walker and LYRIC, a local LGBTQQ youth organization with awards for their service and contributions to our community.


    If you have not already done so, please consider sponsoring BALIF in 2014. Each sponsorship comes with many perks, including complimentary tickets to the Gala. Individual tickets are also available to the Gala on our website. Your sponsorship of BALIF and attendance at our Gala will help BALIF to continue to provide the quality programming and networking opportunities that you've come to expect from the nation's oldest and largest LGBT Bar Association. See you at the Gala!





    John Unruh

    BALIF Treasurer & Gala Co-Chair
  • 28 Jan 2014 10:42 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Last month at the holiday party, BALIF honored Munger, Tolles & Olson as its pro bono counsel. In 2013, Munger Tolles represented BALIF on a pro bono basis in amicus briefs before both the United States Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Munger Tolles authored the briefs, and helped coordinate dozens of other organizations as co-amici with BALIF. BALIF recognized Jerome Roth, partner at Munger Tolles, as lead counsel on each of the amicus briefs for his dedication to BALIF and BALIF’s causes.

    Thank you Jerry and Munger Tolles!

  • 28 Jan 2014 10:27 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF is proud to announce the endorsement of Therese (Terry) Stewart for a position on the California Courts of Appeal.  The press release can be found here.

    If appointed, Terry, who is currently the Chief Deputy Attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, would be the first out lesbian appellate judge in the California state court system.  The decision was made by the BALIF Board of Directors after the unanimous recommendation of the BALIF Judiciary Committee based on Terry’s decades of tireless and successful advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community, women, minorities, and other marginalized communities.

    “Therese Stewart is an ideal candidate for the California judiciary, and we are pleased and honored to deliver BALIF’s endorsement,” said Elizabeth Pritzker, partner at Pritzker Law in San Francisco and BALIF Judiciary Committee Co-Chair. “Therese will bring to the Courts of Appeal a multitude of strengths: a brilliant legal mind, an exceptional aptitude for solving difficult legal questions, and a great judicial temperament.  If successful, her appointment to the appellate court will be a significant legacy for the LGBT community.”

    Terry has led a distinguished career as a top litigator, as one of the first female partners at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin (now Arnold & Porter LLP) in San Francisco, and since 2002, at the City Attorney’s Office.  As Chief Deputy Attorney, she was instrumental in securing the rights of same-sex couples to marry, from representing San Francisco when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom first attempted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, to winning marriage equality at the California Supreme Court in 2008, and finally successfully challenging Proposition 8 in Federal Court.  Terry is a former member of the BALIF Board of Directors and the recipient of the 2013 American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Women’s Lawyers of Achievement, the highest award for a female attorney in the United States.

    Check out Terry’s It Gets Better video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haZgvvw0-8Y

  • 22 Jan 2014 8:39 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    It's hard to believe that January is almost over! However, there is no shortage of BALIF action and we have some great events coming up on the horizon.


    For law students, BALIF is hosting its first ever "Need For Speed" Speed Resume review and Interview Skills workshop January 30th from 6-8pm at Pillsbury-Winthrop. This is a unique, BALIF member-only event just for law students and space is limited! Come get some valuable one-on-one advice on how to answer those tricky interview questions and see where you can improve on your resume, followed up by a reception at the end. To RSVP for this not-to-be-missed event, simply email BALIF at lawstudentrep@balif.org or sign up on the BALIF website at www.balif.org


    BALIF's 34th Annual Gala, Standing Proud, is coming up quickly on February 28th!  Sponsors of Standing Proud get complimentary tickets and many other awesome benefits.  Contact John Robert Unruh at gala@balif.org or go to the BALIF website at www.balif.org for sponsorship information and how to become more involved. BALIF knows how to throw a party, so don't miss THE gala of 2014! 


    Dustin Helmer

    Law Student Representative 

  • 22 Jan 2014 9:35 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    CWL is now accepting nominations for the ROSE BIRD MEMORIAL AWARD. This annual award is named for one of CWL's founding members and is given to a jurist from Northern California.


    The candidate should be from the Northern California area and will be evaluated on excellence as a jurist with longstanding or groundbreaking public service and inspiration to women lawyers in California.

    The nominations will be reviewed by the Awards Committee and the Board of Governors will announce the recipient of this honor on March 7, 2014. The Award will be presented at the Northern California Judicial Reception to be held in April of 2014. The awardee must be available to attend the reception held in their

    The nomination should consist of the following:
    A. Nominee's Resume/Bio - Include the nominee's resume or biography.
    B. Nominee's Photo - Include a high resolution photograph of the nominee.
    C. Supporting Statement - A letter supporting the nominee as a worthy recipient of this honor with a description of the candidate's qualifications for this award.
    D. Articles and Letters - To present a comprehensive picture of the nominee, you may include news/magazine articles written by or about the candidate and letters of support from individuals or organizations.

    The nomination and supporting materials should be sent to co-chairs of the Awards Committee, Jaimi Groothuis at Jaimi@bermanandmore.com and Amee Mikocich at Amee.Mikacich@sedgwicklaw.com.

    As they say in Hollywood, "May the odds be ever in your favor!"
  • 22 Jan 2014 9:12 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Lambda Legal is pleased to announce its posting for the 2014-2015 Tyron Garner Memorial Fellowship for African-American LGBT Civil Rights, expanded in 2013 from a summer position to a year-long funded fellowship. Lambda Legal is a national nonprofit organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Founded in 1973 and headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas. The Garner Fellowship is a paid, full-time, year-long legal internship awarded to a recent law graduate to work in any of Lambda Legal’s five offices.

    Lambda Legal’s law reform, policy, and education work encompasses a wide range of areas critically important to LGBT people and those living with HIV, such as federal and state constitutional law issues; sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV discrimination in employment, schools, youth in out-of-home care systems, health care, identity documents, the criminal justice system, and other areas; asylum and immigration policy; and harassment and violence. Lambda Legal has been involved in numerous landmark United States and state Supreme Court cases, including Lawrence v. Texas, Romer v. Evans, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, University of Alabama v. Garrett, In re Marriage Cases, Varnum v. Brien, Benitez v. North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group, and Brandon v. County of Richardson. For more information about Lambda Legal, visit www.lambdalegal.org.

    This fellowship honors the memory of Tyron Garner, one of the men Lambda Legal represented in our groundbreaking Supreme Court victory Lawrence and Garner v. Texas (which struck down all remaining state sodomy laws in the country) and helps expand Lambda Legal’s work in African-American LGBT communities. Tyron Garner died in 2006, after his case vindicated the constitutional right to express sexual intimacy in adult relationships.

    The fellowship constitutes one of Lambda Legal’s efforts to increase the diversity of attorneys within the LGBT movement. Through the Garner Fellowship, we seek to encourage and mentor law students dedicated to LGBT issues within African-American communities to become engaged in civil rights work on behalf of LGBT individuals and people living with HIV. The Garner Fellowship will contribute to Lambda Legal’s expansion of our current work to serve more communities of color and address the intersection of LGBT discrimination and racism, sexism, and poverty that affects African-American LGBT communities.

    Qualifications and Responsibilities: We are looking for recent law school graduates who have first-hand understanding of the issues that affect communities of color and have demonstrable interest in working with LGBT and HIV issues affecting African-American communities. The Garner Fellow will work with colleagues to:

    • identify and connect with key African-American leaders and organizations to further inform and guide our efforts to serve African-American LGBT communities;
    • identify important LGBT and HIV legal issues that affect African-American communities, particularly considering inequities and barriers that disproportionately affect African-American LGBT communities;
    • identify poverty-, class- and race-related legal issues that particularly affect African-American LGBT communities that Lambda Legal should address;
    • develop legal resources focused on the specific challenges of people living with HIV in LGBT African-American communities;
    • develop legal resources focused on the specific challenges LGBTQ youth of color face in school, foster care, shelter and juvenile justice systems.

    Compensation: The salary for the Fellowship is $50,000 for the year, and includes health insurance, vacation and other employment benefits. Excellent employer-paid benefits package including medical, dental, life and long-term disability insurance. Generous vacation.

    Application: The position is open until filled. The fellowship anticipates an early fall start date, but may be flexible depending upon the successful candidate’s needs. Please send résumé, writing sample, and letter of interest indicating the Lambda Legal office(s) in which the applicant would be interested in working; a description of experience working in African-American communities; a description of interest in addressing LGBT and HIV issues in African-American communities; and particular areas or legal issues of interest relating to the position to:

    Amy Shapiro, Legal Administrative Manager
    Lambda Legal
    120 Wall Street, 19th Floor
    New York, New York 10005-3904
    Fax: 212-809-0055

    Include the words “Tyron Garner Memorial Fellowship” on the first line of the address of the envelope or the subject line of the email transmitting your application materials. Please indicate which of our offices you would consider.

    NO CALLS PLEASE. Due to the high volume of applications, Lambda Legal cannot return phone calls about the position and does not notify applicants of status except when an interview is granted.

    Lambda Legal is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, transgender people and people with disabilities, including HIV, are encouraged to apply.
  • 14 Jan 2014 8:27 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The new year is in full swing and so is BALIF!  The Communications and Membership Committees have reinstated BALIF Buzz to our Newsletter to show off all the great things our members are doing, and the Membership Spotlight on our website to highlight members of our community.  If you would like to let our Newsletter readers know about the exciting things happening in your life (i.e. a new job, promotion, new baby, marriage, etc) please write us at membership@balif.org to have it included in BALIFBuzz


    Law students, join us for the BALIF Law Student Speed Networking & Resume Review Event Thursday, January 30th, 2014.  Space is limited to the first 40 law student BALIF members who RSVP, so be sure to to let us know as soon as possible if you would like to attend.  More information on the event is below.  


    Standing Proud, BALIF's 34th Annual Gala, is right around the corner on February 28th!  Sponsors of Standing Proud get complimentary tickets and many additional benefits.  You may contact John Robert Unruh at gala@balif.org or go to the BALIF website at www.balif.org for sponsorship information.   We hope to see you there!


    Jennifer Orthwein

    Communications Chair

  • 07 Jan 2014 4:14 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Happy New Year!


    We are excited to bring BALIF law students Speed Networking and Resume Review on Thursday, January 30th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm at Pillsbury Winthrop in San Francisco. Please RSVP ASAP as there are limited spots available.


    Join the Pride Law Fund for the Gay Ski Bus to Tahoe on January 25th and for its third annual Boat Cruise around the Bay on May 31st. PLF promotes legal rights for LGBT people and people living with HIV, in part, by providing fellowships to law students and new lawyers who are willing to fight for such rights.


    The grand jewel of all BALIF events, the Annual Gala, is right around the corner on February 28th. With all the recent legal victories related to Marriage Equality, this year's theme is "Standing Proud."


    And if you enjoy events such as the BALIF Gala, the Community Ambassador Committee might be the perfect fit for you. Among other things, Committee members attend the annual Galas and Dinners presented by fellow members of the Minority Bar Coalition.  If you are interested, please email me at communityambassador@balif.org.  


    May 2014 bring you peace, prosperity and happiness.


    Edward Joy

    Community Ambassador Chair
  • 18 Dec 2013 2:43 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends-

    Happy Holidays!

    As we enter the holiday season, we think about how important it is for all of us to give and support the people and causes we care about so dearly. The Social Action Committee has been a flurry of activity, planning service events for 2014 and continuing our work with the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Horizons Foundation, and the Council for Global Equality to identify and execute initiatives to help improve the lives of our brothers and sisters in Russia.

    As the situation in Russia continues to get dire, even in the bright international limelight of the upcoming Sochi Olympics, LGBT Russian civil society needs help. Fortunately, there's something Americans can do: support the Russia Freedom Fund.

    There are fewer than 20 paid staff for LGBT groups in Russia in a country of over 140 million people, a depressingly low number for a country of its size. Persecution of LGBT people, especially LGBT community leaders and youth, continues to carry on at a worrying pace. By supporting the Russia Freedom Fund, we have the opportunity to strike back against Putin's grotesque clampdown on civil society and his efforts to single out and demonize a minority group, all for the sake of appearing anti-Western to shore up his power.

    We hope that you will join celebrities, athletes, and community leaders with the Uprising of Love campaign to spread the word and support the Fund. If you love social media, than this campaign is tailor-made for you!

    Also, if you are interested in helping LGBT immigrants seeking asylum or refugee status in the U.S., especially here in California , please stay tuned for pro bono opportunities and an important announcement from the Horizons Foundation.

    We look forward to celebrating 2013 and seeing everyone at the BALIF Holiday Party this Wednesday, December 18 from 5:30 - 9:00pm at Tank 18 wine bar. Please RSVP here!

    Jessica Bogo
    BALIF Social Action Committee Co-Chair

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