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  • 02 Jul 2014 9:57 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    I hope you all had a wonderful Pride weekend. I, for one, enjoyed the weather and all the festivities. I'm now looking forward to this long weekend! BBQ anyone?

    I want to give a shout-out to our own Therese Stewart, who, this past Saturday, was appointed by Governor Brown to the First District Court of Appeal. Subject to confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, Therese will be the first openly lesbian justice to serve on the California Court of Appeal. Congratulations, Therese!!

    And, don't forget that our July Happy Hour will happen July 10 at Blanc et Rouge from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Come out and savor a glass of white (or rouge) while you meet some new folks!

    Have a happy and safe Independence Day!

    Mario Choi
    BALIF Board Treasurer

  • 25 Jun 2014 9:49 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom Applauds Tenth Circuit Decision in Utah Marriage Equality Case
    Court Strikes Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

    JUNE 25, 2014 – San Francisco – Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) applauds the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision issued today in Kitchen v. Herbert, on appeal from the District of Utah. The decision upheld the District Court ruling striking down Utah’s discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

    BALIF Co-Chair Jamie Dupree said, “Amongst the recent unbroken string of decisions in favor of marriage equality, this decision is particularly significant as the first federal appellate court ruling since last summer’s decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. It is wonderful that this came out of Utah – a state where achieving marriage equality is unlikely to happen without judicial intervention.”

    BALIF filed an amicus brief arguing that following Windsor, the Utah ban is unconstitutional as the principle purpose and effect of the ban were to impose inequality on same-sex couples.

  • 24 Jun 2014 3:48 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    As the current Social Chair, I am looking forward to the many events that are being planned. Be sure to attend this year's Pride Breakfast on Sunday, June 29th graciously hosted by Jones Day at 555 California Street, 26th Floor from 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Come enjoy great food and drink before heading out to watch the parade. Trust me, this is an event you definitely want to attend! If there are any wonderful people out there interested in volunteering to help with clean-up after the Brunch (I promise not to keep you longer than 30 minutes), please e-mail me at

    Next month, be sure to attend our summer happy hour on July 10th at Blanc et Rouge from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Come enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and catch up with old friends and hopefully make some new ones.

    I am excited to be a part of the board. I have many plans and ideas for events this year and I look forward to meeting all current and prospective members of BALIF. Please check our website regularly and if you are not currently a member of BALIF, please sign up today!

    I leave you all with a quote by Dr. Seuss: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Happy Pride Month Everybody!

    Brandon Lawrence
    BALIF Board Social Chair

  • 17 Jun 2014 10:48 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    It's June, and Pride season is in full swing, as we are celebrating our past accomplishments, while looking to the future. I wanted to take this opportunity to give a little plug for a wonderful event happening this Thursday, June 19th.

    Celebrating Pride at the 50th Anniversary Of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Perspectives on Title VII and LGBT Employment Rights

    This panel discussion features a number of amazing speakers and is moderated by our very own BALIF member, Felicia Medina. I encourage you all to come June 19th, at 3:30 p.m. to the Phillip Burton Federal Building (450 Golden Gate Avenue) -the Ceremonial Courtroom (19th Floor).

    This event is just the start, as the Programs committee is working hard this year to organize a full calendar that will be of interest to our membership. This includes: MCLE trainings; opportunities for our members to get involved with the community, both locally and globally; working groups for attorneys with specialized interests; and other informative, yet fun events.

    I encourage you to get in touch with me or my Co-Chair Felicia, at with your feedback or ideas for future trainings, panel discussions, meetings, and other events. We want our programs to reflect the interests of all our members!

    Thank you for making me part of the BALIF Board, and I look forward to meeting all of you in the months to come!

    Dmitri Pikman
    BALIF Board Programs Co-Chair
  • 10 Jun 2014 10:58 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    It's that time of year again! BALIF's Connections mentorship program is seeking mentors and mentees for 2014-2015.
    The Connections mentoring program gives law students and newer lawyers the opportunity to be matched with established Bay Area attorneys who practice in a variety of settings, including large and small firms, nonprofit and public interest organizations, and governments. Mentors provide guidance about the nuts and bolts of careers in the law, as well as practical advice to help mentees build their job seeking and networking skills. For mentees, the Connections program offers a great opportunity for networking, skills development, and career building in the LGBT legal community by some of the best in the field, including judges, law firm partners, senior public interest and government attorneys, and corporate in-house counsel.

    BECOME A MENTEE or MENTOR! If you are a law student, recent law school graduate, or newer attorney seeking a mentor, or if you are an experienced attorney interested in serving as a mentor, please contact Julie Wilensky, Mentee applicants will be required to submit a brief questionnaire that will assist us in making a mentor-mentee match, including asking about the type of law you wish to practice and other specific information to help make your mentoring relationship a success. Mentors will be asked some basic questions to ensure that a prospective mentee is a good fit in terms of the mentor's practice area and time availability. Mentors and mentees must commit to meeting at least three times in person during the mentorship year (from September to May) and be willing to communicate more frequently by phone and email. Mentor/mentee pairs will be assigned on a rolling basis between July and September. Stay tuned for more details on a happy hour to kick off the Connections program this fall.
  • 10 Jun 2014 10:46 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Happy Pride Everyone!! Stay informed about Pride events and stay connected with other BALIF members on a variety of social mediums.

    BALIF has groups on LinkedIn and Facebook where group members can post events or comments. Just search for BALIF and request to join these groups. BALIF is also on Twitter, where you can follow us to see BALIF news, event info, #ThrowbackThursday posts, and more!

    All members who are not currently on the BALIF Listserv should have received an invitation to join through Google Groups earlier today. Once a member of the Listserv, you can communicate with other members on specific legal issues, request referrals, announce events, access professional support, enhance your practice and elevate your professional development. To join, just follow the instructions in the email invitation. If you do not respond to the invitation promptly, it will expire. If you did not receive an invitation today, please let us know by emailing

    BALIF also posts photos from events on our website, so check those out too. The website and Newsletter provide a wealth of information and resources of which every BALIF member should be aware. So please explore and use these fun and useful tools today!

    Jennifer Orthwein
    BALIF Board Communications & Technology Chair
  • 03 Jun 2014 10:45 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    As we enter Pride Month in San Francisco, let us look back at how far our movement has come in the past year. U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones put it most eloquently:

    "...that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded doctrine of "separate but equal." . . . In the sixty years since Brown was decided, "separate" has thankfully faded into history, and only "equal" remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

    We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history." Whitewood v. Wolf, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68771, 50-51 (M.D. Pa. May 20, 2014).

    Happy Pride Month BALIF Members, you deserve it.

    Pete Catalanotti
    BALIF Board Secretary
  • 27 May 2014 10:44 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! Membership has been busy creating new opportunities to add value to being a BALIF member. Be on the lookout for new BALIF Membership cards, which can be used to access discounts from local merchants thanks to our BALIF partners. Click on the "Member Discount" section of the website to view our current list of participants.

    I'm also excited to announce the new BALIF Affinity Group Grants. BALIF's new micro-grant program will provide financial support for BALIF members seeking to host small 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 gather BALIF legal professionals who specialize in family law for an outdoor hike. Please reach out to us! BALIF Affinity Group Grants provide a means for BALIF to support our members' varied interests on a smaller scale than our typical BALIF social offerings.

    I look forward to seeing everyone at the next BALIF event!

    Meaghan Zore
    BALIF Board Membership Chair
  • 20 May 2014 10:28 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    The Social Action Committee is a flurry with several upcoming opportunities to have fun while doing good! Please save the dates, and if you are interested in serving on the Social Action Committee, please email


    June 8:  Lazy river rafting down the Russian River with Pride Law Fund.


    Aug. 17:  Sunset Bay Cruise with Pride Law Fund.


    Aug. 26:  BALIF Volunteer Day with Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) (Training Aug. 20).


    We look forward to seeing you!



    Jessica Bogo

    BALIF Board Social Action Committee Chair


  • 13 May 2014 10:24 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    I hope everyone is enjoying this LA-type weather and is getting the requisite tan in the process (and one that will last you through the dark days of the impending San Francisco summer). After a flurry of activity over the past few months - including an eventful election night saw several new members welcomed to the Board - all is quiet on the BALIF front. This is typically the time where we hunker down and plan out the next year before the rush of Pride and summer-related events and activities overtake us all. That being said, it's never too early to start planning for Pride so keep your calendars clear and watch for periodic updates from your friends at BALIF.

    And, for those football fans out there, in case you missed it:

    Happy Tuesday.  

    Nick Clements

    BALIF Board Social Committee Chair

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