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  • 27 Feb 2014 9:31 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    FEB. 27, 2014 - San Francisco - Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) thanks members of the Minority Bar Coalition (MBC) in joining BALIF in urging Governor Jan Brewer to veto legislation passed by the Arizona state legislature last Thursday that, under the guise of religious freedom, would enable discrimination against individuals who identify as LGBT.  Governor Brewer announced her veto earlier yesterday.


    "We thank our Minority Bar Coalition allies for standing with us.  It is clear that the bill was vetoed in part because Governor Brewer feared the political backlash caused by pressure by organizations like ours," said Jamie Dupree, BALIF Board Co-Chair.  "We must remain vigilant as similar bills across the country are still pending."


    The Asian American Prosecutors Association, Asian Pacific Bar Association of Silicon Valley, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, Korean American Bar Association of Northern California, Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California, Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, Queen's Bench Bar Association, East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association, Board Members of the Iranian American Bar Association, Northern California, La Raza Lawyers Association of California and Thai American Attorneys of Northern California are among the MBC members who stood with BALIF to condemn the legislation. These bar associations have a long-standing commitment to supporting the civil rights of all members of our community.


  • 25 Feb 2014 9:25 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Our annual Gala is upon us! I cannot wait to see all of you this Friday at the Bently Reserve!!!  Just in case you have not bought your tickets, you can do so here!
    Photo by Trish Tunney Photography
    As we reflect on another amazing year of advancing the rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters nationwide, let us look at the most recent opinion overturning Virginia*s legislated prohibition on same-sex marriage:

    *Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships. Such relationships are created through the exercise of sacred, personal choices--choices, like the choices made by every other citizen, that must be free from unwarranted government interference.* Bostic v. Rainey, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19080 (E.D. Va. Feb. 14, 2014).

    While we hold these truths to be self-evident, we must remember that the fight against LGBT discrimination is far from over.  More importantly, it cannot be fought alone.  At the Gala this year, look around the room of 600+ attendees.  It is because of these generous, wonderful, thoughtful, creative people that BALIF is able to advance this fight.   



    Peter Catalanotti 

    BALIF Board Outreach Committee Chair 

  • 19 Feb 2014 9:19 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    New clients!


    Who doesn't want (or need) more?


    In our ongoing effort to address the needs of our membership, BALIF is finally giving some love to a group that has long deserved more attention - our partners and firm owners.


    Partners and firm owners have always been the bedrock of the BALIF community. These are the folks that are first to pitch-in when BALIF events need to be staffed. They're always on the front line when it comes to sponsorships, donations, and gift-giving. They're also the go-to contacts for job referrals, resume reviews, and mock interviews that have helped so many of our members find employment. 


    In appreciation for all that our Partners and firm owners do, Jamie and I created the BALIF PARTNERS EXCHANGE. Our goal was to create a vibrant and thriving LGBT environment that invites networking and an exchange of business among the LGBT community. 


    We held our inaugural luncheon last week at the San Francisco City Club. We had ten spots - which "sold-out" within hours. Our topic was Business Development: What Works and What Doesn't? We brought together a wonderful and diverse collection of BALIF partners and firm owners - all of whom were interested in generating more clients.


    We plan to do this every month - with varying topics, and at different locations. But the basic foundation will be helping each other develop new clients and business. If you're interested in becoming a part of the innovative group, shoot me an email at on.lu@novakdruce.com. We want BALIF to be the source of your next new client.


    I look forward to seeing you soon...



    On Lu

    BALIF Board Co-Chair


  • 11 Feb 2014 9:12 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    What a whirl-it's that wonderful, busy time of year for BALIF! We've had a rush of events in the past few weeks, and I'd like to thank everyone who came out to our first ever BALIF Law Student "Need for Speed" Networking event this past January 30th! We had a great event, and we could not have done it without the participation of our wonderful BALIF community.


    Thanks to everyone who came out for our Sochi Happy Hour co-sponsored by ALRP and supporting Horizons Foundation, an organization helping LGBT Russian refugees. We hope that you'll all join us at the end of February when, we will be Standing Proud at the 2014 BALIF Gala! We hope to see all of you on Friday, February 28 at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco to honor Judge Vaughn Walker and LYRIC, a local LGBTQQ youth organization. Mark your calendars and purchase your individual tickets to the Gala or sponsor BALIF today!



    Midori Hirai

    Law Student Representative

  • 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!"

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