Committees


Amicus

The Amicus Committee solicits and works with pro bono counsel to write amicus briefs on behalf of BALIF and other organizations in cases raising issues of concern to the LGBT community and our allies. In the past several years, BALIF has submitted amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and five of the U.S. Courts of Appeals. The Amicus Committee seeks members who can assist in monitoring cases and legal developments affecting LGBTs and our allies, have contacts in organization championing issues of concern, or have contacts in firms that would be interested in writing briefs. For more information or to join the committee, please email Julie Wilensky at amicus@balif.org.

Communications and Technology

Whether it be through the BALIF website, social media groups, emails, newsletters, or press releases, the Communications and Technology Committee has the important task of keeping BALIF members and the community informed about BALIF events, opportunities and accomplishments. The committee was created, in part, to help keep BALIF technologically up-to-date and more environmentally conscious at the same time. In the process, a number of mediums have been created to help BALIF members stay connected and informed. The listserv through Google Groups provides an opportunity for members to interact with each other about issues important to the community. Social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn also provide venues for individuals to learn about upcoming events and discuss them. The weekly e-newsletters, delivered directly through email, are incredibly informative. They highlight upcoming events, opportunities and other relevant information important to the community. If you have a technology or communication idea that would benefit BALIF, please contact us at technology@balif.org

Community Activism 

This is a new committee aimed toward providing services related to social activism to vulnerable and/or marginalized communities in the Bay Area. The Committee will facilitate outreach and interaction with local organizations and minority bar associations. It will also coordinate and administer support services such as legal information, resources, and/or attorney volunteers for movement building events/actions. To learn more or get involved, please contact Jennifer Orthwein at activism@balif.org

Community Ambassador

The Community Ambassador Committee is focused on action (1) through personally attending key events of other minority bar associations and community groups and (2) by developing strong personal relationships and strengthening coalitions with such groups. We also promote key BALIF events or issues with other minority bar associations and community groups, and we assist such groups with promoting their key events or issues with BALIF. We strive to be the face of BALIF with other minority bar associations and community groups. We would love to have you join this amazing committee! If you are interested, please contact Lindsey Rosellini at communityambassador@balif.org.

Conference of California Bar Associations

Each year, BALIF sends a contingent to the Conference of California Bar Associations, a group of attorneys from local, specialty, and minority bar associations across the state that are focused on improving California’s laws. The CCBA then helps the resolutions approved at the Conference become law.

BALIF’s representation and participation at the Conference are crucial to ensure visibility of the LGBT legal community at the statewide level and to bring LGBT issues before the Conference. This year, BALIF is sponsoring a resolution to reduce sexual violence in prisons, a problem that disproportionately affects LGBT inmates.

If you want to weigh in on the proposed resolutions and/or join BALIF’s delegation to the Conference in Anaheim, California on October 9-11, 2015, please contact Meaghan Zore at ccba@balif.org.

Gala

Like to throw a good party? The gala committee is responsible for BALIF’s annual event. We plan the program, choose the entertainment, and do everything else involved with making sure our members and friends have a great time. Come help us build on the tremendous success of previous Gala's held at the Bently Reserve and Terra Gallery by joining our committee! Get in touch by emailing us at gala@balif.org.

Judiciary/Endorsements

The BALIF Judiciary Committee has the important responsibility of vetting judicial candidates for all the Courts in the Bay Area that seek BALIF’s endorsement for both elections and judicial appointments. We are working on many other exciting projects to diversify and increase the judicial pipeline. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact BALIF Judiciary Co-Chair(s) at judiciary@balif.org.

Law Student Representatives

BALIF’s law student representatives serve as the liaisons between Northern California law schools (Berkeley, Stanford, Davis, McGeorge, Hastings, USF, Golden Gate, Santa Clara, SFLS) and the area’s LGBT legal community. The Law Student Committee works with the BALIF Board of Directors and law school LGBTQ student groups to organize career development events for law students, plan social events, coordinate BALIF’s mentorship program, and raise funds to send local students to the annual Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference. Join us! Being a part of the Law Student Committee is a great way to meet other Bay Area LGBT law students and lawyers, immerse yourself in the latest LGBT legal issues, and access some of the area’s myriad LGBT resources. Plus, it just may help land you an internship or your first job! If you’re interested in becoming involved with the committee, e-mail us at lawstudentrep@balif.org. We’d love to work with you!

Membership

The membership committee creates value for BALIF members. We work to increase BALIF’s membership be highlighting the many benefits associated with being a BALIF member, while also creating new reasons to join. For 2016-2017, the committee will be focused on the following:

  • BALIF’s member discount program, which will provide partner pricing at various establishments, including many local, community establishments and legal services providers. In additional to providing our members with discounts on goods and services, the member discount program provides an opportunity to highlight organizations that support BALIF’s mission.
  • The affinity group micro-grant program will provide micro-grants of $100-$500 to smaller gatherings within the BALIF community. Want to host a networking brunch in Walnut Creek for 7 BALIF members? Great! We want to help. Maybe you'd like to host a happy hour for BALIF legal professionals who specialize in family law. Please reach out to us! Affinity group grants provide a means for BALIF to support our members' varied interests on a smaller scale than our typical BALIF social offerings. If you'd like more information about this program, please contact, please contact Alex Touma & Shauna Madison at membership@balif.org.

Programs

The Programs Committee organizes events for our diverse members, working closely with other BALIF committees. We create opportunities for members to socialize and network; encourage professional and community involvement; and promote collaboration with other legal, LGBT, and minority bar organizations. This past year, Programs organized monthly BALIF Partner Exchange Lunches for BALIF members with 7 or more years' experience who are owners/partners at their firms, and held a "Give 'em L LGBT Ladies Salon Event." We also co-sponsored a panel concerning Obergefell with the American Constitution Society and "So you want to be a Judge?" with BASF's LGBT Committee. In past years, the Programs Committee has organized the LGBT Ladies Salon & Talk Show!; BALIF's first-ever Homecoming; a Lesbian Comedy Night; a joint event with the Alameda County Bar Association; and a reception honoring Justice Humes' appointment to the California Court of Appeals. In other words, Programs organizes a wide-variety of event involving content and/or fun!

Social

Socializing is what BALIF members do best. The Social Committee organizes BALIF happy hours, picnics, the annual holiday party, and other social events throughout the year. Come join our awesome events that will give you an excuse to network, socialize, and have a great time. To learn more, get in touch with Lauren Pietsch at social@balif.org.

Social Action

The Social Action Committee is aimed at connecting members and the community in the spirit of service undefined having fun while doing good. The Social Action Committee works closely with other BALIF committees and facilitates collaboration with a diverse group of non-legal entities, providing both legal and non-legal service for the Bay Area and beyond.

This past year, Social Action worked with the Horizons Foundation, the Jewish Community Relations Council, ORAM, and other organizations to form a coalition and nonprofit fund to assist LGBT Russian Refugees seeking refuge in the Bay Area. Social Action then teamed with the AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP) and Horizons for an inaugural happy hour on the night of the Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony to raise money for the LGBT Russian Refugee Fund, which drew nearly 100 participants and raised nearly $2,000 for the cause. This year Social Action also organized a day of service at Glen Park Elementary, enjoying a day of sunshine and good company while assisting with the school’s grounds beautification effort, and in 2015 we have many exciting volunteer opportunities in the pipeline including work with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights’ (LCCR) Second Chance Legal Clinic and BASF’s Justice and Diversity Center’s Housing and Negotiation Project (HNP).

Want to have fun while doing good? Keep an eye on the BALIF calendar for the dates of our upcoming events! And if you have ideas and/or would like to help organize, email us at socialaction@balif.org.

Young Lawyers & Law Student Programs

The Young Lawyers & Law Student Programs Committee serves as a resource for Bay Area LGBT lawyers who have been practicing for fewer than 10 years and Bay Area LGBT law students. The Committee’s activities include:

  • Mentorship program, pairing law students and young lawyers with more senior LGBT attorneys for one-on-one mentorship and career guidance (see program guidelines)
  • Career development and networking events for young lawyers and law students, such as “Speed Mentoring” resume review and a Career Fair.
  • Law student social events, with input from and planning by BALIF’s Law Student Representatives

We are currently seeking Mentor-Mentee Pairings for BALIF’s 2016-2017 mentorship program. If you would like to participate, please contact us at younglawyers@balif.org.