Log in


  • 13 Mar 2014 9:36 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    A great way to serve the LGBT 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's bylaws reflect the Board's commitment to "equality, parity, and diversity," and we specifically encourage people of color, women, and transgender and/or gender non-conforming individuals to run for the Board. All Directors must attend BALIF's Board Retreat the evening of Friday, May 9 and all day Saturday, May 10, 2014.


    To run for the Board or nominate someone else, please send a candidate statement of up to 250 words to Julie Wilensky (secretary@balif.org) and BALIF's Administrator, Katie Carlson (balif@balif.org) by April 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm. BALIF's bylaws require gender parity on the Board, with a certain number of positions allocated to Directors who identify as male, female, and gender non-conforming. So if you are seeking a position, please indicate the category with which you identify.


    Elections will be online starting on April 10, and there will be an opportunity to vote in person at BALIF's annual general membership meeting on Tuesday, April 24, 2014 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. The results will be announced at the end of the meeting.


    Questions about the Board? Thinking about seeking a position? Feel free to contact Julie Wilensky at secretary@balif.org.

  • 12 Mar 2014 9:35 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Although we continue to relish over this year's successful gala and the amazing photos you can view here, our committees are busy organizing a whole variety of upcoming events! From BAILF's Career and Networking Expo on March 29th to an East Bay Family Friendly Social on April 5th to a Mixer with Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) and the Minority Bar Coalition (MBC) on April 10th, opportunities to be social and connect with attorneys and law students from around the Bay Area abound! Check out all of the upcoming opportunities to network and just be social below!


    The BALIF committees are also busy taking action for LGBT rights! The Amicus Committee just drafted and filed an amicus curiae brief last week with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the right of same-sex couples in Utah and Oklahoma to marry. The Judiciary Committee continues to encourage and promote LGBT judges to the bench and the BALIF Board of Directors organized and drafted a letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer urging her to veto SB 1062.


    A great way to serve the LGBT legal community and become more involved in BALIF is to join BALIF's Board of Directors and the time to elect our new directors is just around the corner! To run for the Board or nominate someone else, please send a candidate statement of up to 250 words to Julie Wilensky (secretary@balif.org) and BALIF's Administrator, Katie Carlson (balif@balif.org) by April 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm.


    Hope to see you all at one or two of the many upcoming events! 



    Jennifer Orthwein

    BALIF Board Communications Chair

  • 04 Mar 2014 9:32 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Greetings BALIF-ers!

    Thank you for all who attended BALIF's 34th Annual Gala! It was an incredible event with amazing company, food and atmosphere. A big round of applause is in order for BALIF's Gala Chairs Lilah Sutphen and John Unruh and the Gala Committee for putting on yet another outstanding party.

    Coming up quickly is BALIF's hugely successful 2nd Annual BALIF Career Expo on Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 12:30pm-6pm hosted at Golden Gate University. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for law students, baby lawyers, and attorneys looking for a change of scenery. We will have panel discussions about how to network, what to do if you don't find that dream job, and what kinds of law careers are out there. Then after the panels, we will host our Career Fiar with over 30 employers from all fields of law from big firms, solo practitioners, non-profits and government agencies to share with you what they do and how they can help you find that next job.

    If you are an attorney and interested in tabling for this event, please contact Mario Choi at younglawyers@balif.org.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    Dustin Helmer

    BALIF Board Law Student Representative

  • 04 Mar 2014 2:17 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF filed an amicus curiae brief today with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the right of same-sex couples in Utah and Oklahoma to marry.  A three-judge panel from the court will hear Kitchen v. Herbert, on appeal from the District of Utah, and Bishop v. Smith, on appeal from the Northern District of Oklahoma, in April.  The press release can be found here.

    “These two cases are particularly important, because without judicial intervention it is unlikely that marriage equality will come to states like Utah or Oklahoma any time soon,” said Nickolas Kacprowski, partner at Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco and chair of BALIF’s Amicus Committee.

    The brief argues that because the sole purpose and effect of the Utah and Oklahoma bans on same-sex marriage is to impose inequality on same-sex couples, the bans are unconstitutional in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor.  Further, because Windsor opened the door to federal recognition of same-sex marriage, the tangible benefits associated with same-sex marriage and denied to same-sex couples by the bans are substantial.

    The brief was filed with pro bono support from the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olsen.  Jerome C. Roth and Nicole S. Phillis of Munger Tolles led the effort.   Another great effort by Munger Tolles and the Amicus Committee!

    Click here for the Amicus Brief.

  • 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

Call or Email Us
Office: +1 415 874-3045


P.O. Box 193383 San Francisco, CA 94119