It's almost time to vote! Your voice matters in selecting the people who will lead BALIF as members of the Board. Voting will be open from Thursday, April 13, 2023 until Thursday, April 20, 2023 to elect the BALIF Board of Directors for 2023-2024. We have a fabulous and diverse group of candidates this year! We will announce election results online on Thursday, April 20, 2023 online after our in-person BALIF's Annual Membership Meeting & Elections.
Consistent with our bylaws, the NomCom was appointed by our board and included four current BALIF board members. The NomCom managed advertising and recruitment for the board and evaluated candidates based on their qualifications and diversity they would bring to the board. The committee sought diversity with respect to race and ethnicity, gender, practice area and years in practice, and geographic location within the Bay Area. NomCom has formally nominated a group of candidates, and we are delighted to announce their endorsed candidates below. If you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NomCom solicited candidate statements by April 3, 2023. Of the candidates reviewed, NomCom endorsed 4 candidates indicated below based on the majority of votes by the committee’s members. The endorsements are indicated below. Candidates who submitted statements after the deadline were not reviewed. The symbols below provide more information about the candidates.
* = board incumbent or previous board member
+ = endorsed by NomCom
Women (4 open positions)
- Alyssa Aguilar *+
- Raisa Dyadkina
- Lauren LaVare +
- Jane Migachyov *
- Dani Tishkoff Chidester +
Men (3 open positions)
- Jamal Anderson
- Dustin Helmer *
- Myell Mergaert *
TGNC/Other Genders (5 open positions)
Law Student Women (1 open position)
Law Student Men (1 open position)
Law Student TGNC/Other Genders (1 open position)
Candidate Statements and Candidate Forum Event
Please click here to read all candidate statements! We truly appreciate everyone who submitted their candidate statements and expressed interest in running for the board.
Elections will be online from April 13, 2023 until 4 pm on April 20, 2023. You can also vote in person at the BALIF Annual Meeting and Election Happy Hour on Thursday (April 20) at the Sausage Factory from 6 - 8:00 pm. In-person voting will end at 7 pm, and the election results will be announced at the end of the meeting.
Check your inbox (and spam folder) for your personalized e-ballot. If you don't receive your e-ballot on April 13th by 11pm, please email email@example.com.
You must be a current member of BALIF in order to vote. Please make sure your membership is current!
Women: 5 Candidates for 4 Positions
Hello everyone, my name is Alyssa Aguilar and I’m a 3L at Santa Clara Law, set to graduate this May. My legal interests are intellectual property, Internet law. privacy, and advertising and marketing law. It has been an absolute pleasure to serve as a Law Student Representative for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 Boards. As a queer woman of color, I look forward to continuing to further BALIF’s commitment of representing intersectionality in the legal profession and supporting my community.
At Santa Clara Law, I am the Co-President for our school’s LGBTQIA+ organization, Equality at Santa Clara (EQSCU). There, I have organized and promoted events, and worked to grow the organization, our outreach, and impact. As a BALIF Board Member, I have been a Co-Chair of the Law Student Committee, Communications Committee, and CCBA Committee. This year, I, along with my Co-Chair and other BALIF members, successfully amended a proposed CCBA resolution. We advocated to remove the religious exemption included in the proposal to enshrine the right for everyone to marry in the California Constitution.
As a soon-to-be attorney, I know mentorship is absolutely critical in this profession and especially in law school. I would love for us to continue to improve upon what is already an incredible mentorship program and bring more events to the South Bay. Most importantly, I want to continue to work with law students and put on programming that helps provide them tools for success, while also connecting with more law students from other schools.
||Dear BALIF Members:
My name is Raisa Dyadkina, and I’m seeking to become more involved in BALIF by joining BALIF’s Board of Directors and serving on the Community Activism Committee. As a longtime supporter of BALIF, I was encouraged to apply to be part of the Board as a great way to serve the LGBTQI+ legal community.
As a Board Member, I would seek to advance BALIF’s mission through my service and by working with the BALIF community. I would work to help strengthen the ties BALIF already has among the LGBTQI+ legal community members. Further, I would seek to build and support relationships with local queer organizations and other minority bar associations. Most recently, I served on the planning committee for the San Francisco Bar Association’s Barristers Annual Meeting and am currently on the advisory Board for the San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association. I’ve seen the struggles of bar organizations and dipping membership levels these past few years. As we all return to more in-person events, I hope to help recruit new members (especially barristers) and retain existing members. I believe that my leadership experience with other bar organizations will help me advance BALIF’s goals pragmatically, efficiently, and meaningfully.
I understand the importance of providing support to and for the LGBTQI+ legal and non-legal community. As a recipient of incredible support from BALIF members over the years, I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to give back. I am committed to addressing the issues that our community faces, and I hope to do so more through serving on the BALIF Board. Thank you for your consideration.
| Lauren LaVare +
Hello, my name is Lauren LaVare, and I am running for a board position. I am an Associate Attorney for Boise Schiller & Flexner, representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex trial and appellate litigation, focusing on Data Privacy and Security, Class Actions, and Antitrust.
Before joining the firm, I worked as Federal Policy Counsel for the National LGBTQ Task force working with the Biden Administration to promote and protect the rights of queer individuals across the U.S. and rapidly respond to constitutional violations against our community. Before law school, I had a career in human rights and served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. I have gained valuable experience in advocacy, community organizing, and leadership. I believe this role is critical to uplift and support BIPOC and queer lawyers and if elected, I would promise to continue the fight for human rights and dignity by, first and foremost, uplifting the voices of all marginalized communities.
During my time in the Peace Corps, I worked with local organizations and community leaders to promote gender equality and increase access to education for girls and young women. I know how vital community is in ensuring any sustainable change occurs.
If elected to the board, I would bring my experience in advocacy, community organizing, and leadership to promote the organization's mission and goals, including fostering diversity and inclusivity within the legal profession. I am committed to using my skills and experience to advance the organization's and its members' interests. Thank you for your consideration.
| Jane Migachyov *
I am passionate about LGBT activism and want to take what moves me to the BALIF Board. I started as a first year in college after being kicked out of my house when I came out in high school. I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I’ve carried that passion with me from my education in Boston to working as a family law attorney in San Francisco. I served four years on the BALIF Board organizing 4 highly successful Halloween fundraisers benefitting crucial local queer organizations. I’ve been active in other arenas. I was on the LGBT Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Commission for several years. I served a year on the Board of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club and, as a volunteer, helped to organize women’s programming at the LGBT Center. I was also an advocate against LGBT smoking in the action groups Butt Out and Freedom From Tobacco. Outside of strictly LGBT activism, I’ve done pro bono/volunteer work for Legal Aid at Work, the Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Bayview/Hunters Point Community Legal Clinic. I’m interested in serving on the Community Activism committee. I’ve been a BALIF member for a long time and am ready to resume a role as a Board member.
On the personal side, I’m married to a wonderful woman and fellow attorney. We have a gorgeous daughter named Clara, who is the proud owner of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg children’s book “I Dissent.” I’m also interested in organizing COVID safe social activities and am starting a COVID cautious Girl Scout troop.
| Dani Tishkoff Chidester +
My name is Dani Tishkoff Chidester (she/her) and I’m a litigation assistant at Gibbs Law Group, where I primarily work within the financial fraud and sexual assault practice areas, and with our marketing and mass client communication teams. I heard of this opportunity through my colleagues, Jeff Kosbie and Lindsey Kincaid, and have enjoyed learning about their work on the board; most recently, I was moved by Jeff’s gala interview with Justice Kelli Evans.
I graduated from Scripps College in 2019, where I was active in our student-led coffee shop, a refugee advocacy network, and Challah for Hunger. I subsequently worked in the legal department at a social services organization that helped New Yorkers access housing and healthcare services and public benefits. Some of the most rewarding aspects were collaborating with other organizations, getting to know our clients, and helping them navigate bureaucratic and frustrating processes. I’m hoping to carry these experiences into supporting the community outreach, mentorship, and coalition-building that BALIF engages in. My interest in the legal field has always been motivated by a desire to work with people in tough and unfair situations, and to learn from innovators who are challenging discriminatory systems.
I’m a queer, cisgender woman from Oakland, and I’m excited to become active in mission-driven organizations like BALIF that are helping build a more just and inclusive world. On a personal note, I love to run, play ultimate frisbee, listen to podcasts, and explore the food and music scenes of the Bay Area.
MEn: 3 Candidates for 3 Positions
Hi. My name is Jamal Anderson and I currently serve as an Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office where I focus on the prosecution of Hate Crimes and Elder Abuse. Prior to joining the San Francisco District Attorney's Office I worked as a Senior Associate at the Renne Public Law Group and as a Deputy District Attorney in the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. Before becoming an attorney I worked as a political aide to a number of elected officials in Washington, DC.
Since the start of 2023, state legislatures across the country have introduced more than 450 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, which makes clear that our community is under attack. Fortunately, organizations like BALIF exist and continue to do incredible work to advocate on behalf of the community -- but there is more work to be done.
I am particularly passionate about issues related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and if given the opportunity to serve on the Board, I hope to support the ongoing efforts in those areas and identify new ways to better serve and support our diverse membership. I also have a long-standing interest in and commitment to mentorship and very much believe in the importance of supporting personal and professional growth. To that end, I also hope to support BALIF's efforts to provide meaningful mentorship opportunities to all members, but particularly our law students and newer attorneys.
I would be honored to serve on the Board and respectfully ask for your vote.
Dustin Helmer *
|Hello! Guess whose back, back, back, again? My name is Dustin Helmer and I’ve served on BALIF’s board for several years as a Law Student Rep and then on the Judiciary and New Lawyers committees. With the alarming attacks on LGBTQ+ individuals, specifically our trans community – it’s more important than ever to be involved, use our privilege and power as attorneys to affect change and improve the lives of others. Since my last stint on the board, I’ve gained wisdom, new life experiences and a lot of weight. I hope that I get your vote to continue the great work that I and many of your other BALIF board members have done since the organization’s inception.
|Myell Mergaert *
As a proud LGBTQI+ Black attorney, I am reapplying to serve on the board to advance BALIF’s mission during such an exciting time for our organization.
During my last two years on the BALIF Board, I have spearheaded the social and new lawyers committee. As the head of the social committee, I hosted multiple happy hours that supported new queer businesses across the Bay. I also created our newest BALIF tradition of the Oakland Pride Brunch to celebrate pride with our East Bay based community members. As the leader of the new lawyers committee, I successfully paired over 100 attorneys and law students in our signature mentorship program. In the next few years, I hope to restart our professional development offerings for new lawyers like our resume workshop and mock interviews.
By being a board member, I have learned that BALIF is in a unique position to enact meaningful change as a community-centered space for understanding, growth, and action. I want to continue building that space for our community by creating new opportunities for our community to engage with one another. I also want to continue being a diverse voice on this board. BALIF’s members span across all races, classes, genders, and sexualities and I think it is critical for our leadership to reflect that diversity.
I appreciate your time and consideration, thank you!
TGNC/OTHER GENDERS: 2 CANDIDATES FOR 5 POSITIONS
I am proudly
nonbinary, pansexual, Asian American, and an alumnus of UC Davis Lambda. I
credit members of their current board with helping me actualize my own
nonbinary identity. I currently serve as a Deputy Public Defender in Solano
County with the goal of helping my clients confront a racist criminal legal
I strongly believe
in radicalizing and increasing accessibility to grassroots community care – if
the space isn’t there, create it. I strive to educate and serve my Asian
community members who suffer from high rates of cultural stigma and related
mental health issues. While working in Washington DC, I hosted informal
queer/Asian healing spaces that eventually evolved into an action group seeking
to increase Asian American and Black solidarity through unifying our protest
actions in DC. Most recently, I was trained as a trans/gnc peer counselor
through Lavender Phoenix, a queer/AAPI org in SF that offers free drop-in
counseling and prioritizes low income, disabled, trans/gnc, and South/Southeast
Asian clients. I hope to work with BALIF to continue building a world and legal
profession that is more financially accessible and allows for self-determined
care, radical joy, and equity in opportunity and respect for LGBTQI folks.
Sam Potts *
My name is
Sam Potts and I am excited about the possibility of rejoining the BALIF board
of directors. I am a queer transgender man and recently barred attorney. BALIF has been an integral part of
my personal and professional development. I was first introduced to the
organization in 2006 when I had the opportunity to attend its fabulous gala.
Since then, I have had the privilege of serving on the board from 2015-2017 and
2018-2020, first as a law student representative and then as Social &
Membership Chair, Community Ambassador, and Secretary. Over the years, as both
organizer of and attendee at BALIF events, I have met amazing colleagues and
have had unforgettable experiences. I am eager to get back to service.
I have long worked in criminal
defense, but I have recently pivoted into the class action arena. However, I am
still focused on the persistent injustices inflicted upon marginalized
communities caught in the criminal justice system, and hope to bring my
experience and perspective back to the BALIF board.
I'd be honored to have your vote.
Thank you for your support.
LAw Student WomEn: 1 Candidate for 1 Position
|Emily Hunt +
Hi all! My
name is Emily Hunt (she/her). I’m a 2L at Berkeley Law. I’m passionate about
representing low-income people caught in the criminal legal system. I have
interned at the public defender offices in Contra Costa County, San Francisco
County, and Solano County. This summer I will be interning at the Alameda
County Public Defender’s Office. I have also logged over 200 pro bono hours
helping low-income clients secure post-conviction relief (like expungements and
sentence reductions) through the Contra Costa Reentry Project (CORE) at
Berkeley Law, which I also led this past year.
being queer myself, I also have experience in queer organizing. Before law
school, I worked with LGBTQIA people in prison through the organization Beyond These
Walls (BTW). There, I focused on recruiting new members to the BTW grassroots
advisory committee to center incarcerated people in organizational leadership.
My goal in
running for the BALIF board is to strengthen the connection between law
students and the BALIF professional community. I am grateful that BALIF Board
Secretary, Sam Potts, introduced me to the association, and I would like to
connect more law students with BALIF so they can take advantage of the
mentorship opportunities in the association.
I am also
interested in attending the California Bar Associations Conference as a BALIF
delegate to help draft and pass resolutions to secure greater substantive and
procedural protections for criminal defendants in California (like AB 1793).
Law Student MEn: 1 CANDIDATE FOR 1 POSITION
Hi There! My name is Caleb Krywenko
(He/Him), and I am running for a Law School Rep position on BALIF’s Board. I’m currently
wrapping up my 1L year at UC Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings).
Over the past nine months, BALIF has
proven to be a great resource for mentorship and professional development. I’ve
met many incredible, talented, and passionate advocates, and I hope to continue
to build relationships within this community. I would be honored to serve as a
member of the Board so I can continue to advance and iterate on the work of
prior Law School Reps.
If we haven’t met, here’s a little
bit about my background. Almost eleven years ago, I moved to San Francisco.
Prior to starting law school, I spent five years working in restaurants while I
earned my B.A., followed by a stint at an employment justice non-profit. During
this period, I developed a love of all things food and justice: these remain
two of my passions today. Later, I worked for the City and County of San
Francisco as an Aide to the Board of Supervisors, and eventually, I returned to
school to pursue a master’s degree in philosophy. After earning my M.A. (and
leading up to law school), I worked on expanding access to affordable higher
education at an education-tech start-up.
I care deeply about BALIF’s mission
and would be honored to earn your support. Thank you.
LAW STUDENT TGNC/OTHER GENDERS 0 CANDIDATES FOR 1 POSITION
|No Candidate Running