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  • 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

  • 06 May 2014 10:20 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Please join me in congratulating the BALIF members who were recently elected (or re-elected) to the BALIF Board of Directors:


    Denise Bergin

    Pete Catalanotti

    Nick Clements

    Brandon Lawrence

    Felicia Medina

    Dmitri Pikman

    Meaghan Zore


    Law student representatives:

    Midori Hirai

    Joseph Rocha


    Thanks to all those who ran for the Director positions. We had a great turnout this year for the online elections, and it was great to see many familiar and new faces at the BALIF annual meeting and election happy hour on April 24. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next BALIF event!



    Julie Wilensky

    BALIF Board Secretary & CCBA Committee Chair

  • 29 Apr 2014 10:18 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Last Thursday evening, the results of this year's BALIF Board of Directors' election were announced at our Annual Meeting and I could not be more excited about our newest directors. I know the 2014-2015 BALIF Board will carry on and build upon the amazing legacy that is BALIF. Our annual board retreat will be in early May where all the outgoing, incoming and mid-term board members will meet to discuss this past year and the year that is to come. We invite feedback from our members, so please reach out to me or any of the other current board members if you have feedback about how the board can better serve its members and the Bay Area LGBT legal community. Thank you and see you at the next BALIF event! 

    John Unruh

    BALIF Board Treasurer & Gala Co-Chair

  • 22 Apr 2014 10:15 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF has important events planned over the next couple of weeks that you won't want to miss!

    This Thursday, April 24th, is BALIF's Annual Meeting and Election Happy Hour. Please join us at the Sausage Factory from 6-8:30pm for our happy hour for BALIF members, meet the candidates for the Board of Directors, and cast your ballots if you have not already voted online. The election results will be announced at the end of the evening. Good luck to all of our candidates!


    Also next Thursday, May 1st, is BALIF's second GIVE 'EM L! LGBT LADIES SALON & TALK-SHOW: THE JUDGES' EDITION!  We have an amazing panel of judges -- Angela Bradstreet, Teri Jackson, and Tara Flanagan -- who will share their perspectives from the bench and touch upon issues concerning women, LGBT, and women of color in the legal profession and judiciary. This Salon promises to be a lively discussion and offers a fun opportunity to network and mingle. Register online today!


    We look forward to seeing you!


    Leah Nutting

    BALIF Board Programs Committee Chair

  • 15 Apr 2014 10:03 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    It's time to mix it up a little! It was great to see everyone who came out to the BALIF mixer with CAOC & the Minority Bar Coalition this past Thursday, and hopefully everyone is geared up for our discussion about the LGBT legal and political developments in Israel on April 17th and our 'Give 'em L!!' LGBT Ladies Salon & Talk-Show: Judge's Edition coming up on May 1st!

    As we move towards the end of our year, I hope that everyone does their due diligence and votes in our BALIF elections for next year's Board of Directors! Your vote is your voice, and your voice counts, whether it's online or at the Sausage Factory on April 24th. We have a great group of dedicated people running for next year's Board, so go vote!    

    Midori Hirai

    BALIF Board Law Student Representative

  • 08 Apr 2014 9:51 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Today, we discussed, "What business development technique(s) have you tried in the last 30 days?  What worked?  What didn't?" 


    It was a fabulous buffet feast at The SF City Club.  I had the opportunity to lunch with nine other BALIF partners and firm owners to learn from their experience and insight with regards to business development.


    What a dynamic exchange of ideas to stimulate my own thinking about how to attract more, and better, clients.  Here's a sampling...

    • Utilizing online key-word searches through professional marketing companies to attract more leads;
    • Joining BNI and other networking and business referral group;
    • Hiring a life coach to identify core values of my practice;
    • Leveraging creativity to pinpoint and then expand a client's business needs;
    • Selling the "person", as opposed to the firm;
    • Identifying the business development medium that you're best suited for, and using it.

    I also loved meeting new colleagues and catching-up with old friends - both of which are invaluable resources to refer/receive business leads.


    This is part of BALIF's PARTNERS EXCHANGE - an ongoing effort to create a vibrant and thriving LGBT environment that invites networking and an exchange of business.  Here's a peek at the incredible ladies and gentlemen that make up the Exchange and the specialties they bring to our community:


    We're always looking to welcome new colleagues.  Shoot me an email if you're interested in joining:


    I look forward to seeing you soon!



    On Lu 

    BALIF Board Co-Chairs

  • 01 Apr 2014 9:44 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    In the true spirit of Spring cleaning, the BALIF Judiciary Committee is streamlining BALIF's judicial endorsement process.


    BALIF's founding mission is to seek to diversify the state and federal bench with LBGT judges. To further this goal, the BALIF Judiciary Committee has streamlined the process for securing BALIF endorsements for judicial candidates.


    Historically, the endorsement process required a plebiscite. This meant that candidates vetted by BALIF's Judiciary Committee and recommended for endorsement had to receive an affirmative vote of 30 percent (later reduced to 20 percent) of the BALIF membership. The plebiscite was time consuming, costly (requiring thousands of dollars in election administration costs) and ineffective: in most instances, the required vote percentage was not achieved, and the BALIF Board would then take up the issue at its next regularly calendared meeting.


    On March 17, 2014, the BALIF Board unanimously voted to adopt the recommendation of the BALIF Judiciary Committee to do away with the plebiscite. Going forward, judicial candidates vetted and recommended by the BALIF Judiciary Committee for endorsement will automatically receive BALIF's endorsement unless three or more members of the BALIF Board request discussion and affirmative action by the BALIF Board as a whole. This streamlined process ensures that BALIF will continue to thoroughly vet candidates for the state and federal bench, and complete the endorsement process without delay and added expense.  


    We are the BALIF Judiciary Committee...and we want to recruit you!


    Diversifying the bench is a multi-faceted process. The BALIF Judiciary Committee and its Attorney and Judicial Advisory Committees are working hard to identify qualified LGBT candidates for the bench. The path to the bench includes several stages of formal evaluation, which include evaluation by the State Commission, the Commission on Judicial Nominations and Evaluations (JNE), and local county bar association judicial commissions. Each of these commissions need greater diversity and input from the LGBT legal community, and BALIF is urging its members to participate in the formal evaluation process by:


    1.       Applying to be a JNE Commissioner: The California State Bar's Commission on Judicial Nominations (JNE) assists the Governor in the judicial selection process by providing independent, comprehensive, accurate and fair evaluations of candidates for judicial appointment and nomination. We need LGBT representation on this 37-member commission. Please consider applying: Us/JudicialNomineesEvaluation.aspx. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2014.


    2.       Participating in your Local Bar Judiciary Committee: Each of the San Francisco Bay Area bar associations has a judiciary committee that regularly vets judicial candidates in contract with the Governor's Office. If you are active with your local county bar, or want to be, this an excellent way to increase LGBT participating in the judicial vetting process. BALIF can help facilitate your involvement with your local bar association judiciary committee. Email us at


    3.       Joining BALIF's Judiciary Committee: The Committee's ongoing work program is sowing the seeds for greater LGBT diversity on our state and federal benches. Get involved. Join us. We have lots for you to do. Email us at

    Grow our Judiciary with LGBT judges.


    There are an unprecedented number of vacancies on the state and federal bench - an historic opportunity for the LGBT community. There is one vacancy on the California Supreme Court, and at least two vacancies on the California Court of Appeals, First Appellate District. There are vacancies at many Bay Area Superior Courts. Some positions on the Northern District Court of California bench also are open.  


    Currently, however, there are no LGBT Article III judges in the Northern District of California. There are no LGBT judges on the California Supreme Court. There is only one openly gay justice serving on the California Court of Appeals.


    The time to get involved is now. Help grow our judiciary with LGBT judges by getting involved in the evaluation and selection process. We need you.


    For more information on how you can help, contact



    Elizabeth Pritzker & Andrew Vu

    BALIF Board Judiciary Committee Co-Chairs

  • 25 Mar 2014 9:39 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Happy Spring! We at BALIF have been actively planning a number of events to keep your social and professional calendars full. Here are two happening this week.


    This Thursday, March 27, from 6:00 to 8:00, join us for our March Happy Hour at Fusion Lounge (124 Ellis Street), graciously hosted by Courtroom Sciences. Have a drink, some good eats, and mingle with friends. And stay for the drag show that starts immediately after the Happy Hour!


    For those of you looking for a job or a career change, bring your resume and join us this Saturday, March 29, from 12:30 to 6:00, for BALIF's Second Annual CAREER & NETWORKING EXPO. Details, including registration info, are below, but with over 40 organizations presenting, a number of employers hiring, resume reviews, and panels that will teach you the skills necessary to land that job, you cannot miss this opportunity! And, join us for our post-Expo reception 111 Minna Art Gallery, from 6:00 to 7:30, generously sponsored by Robert Half Legal, to put those skills to work!


    Don't miss these events!





    Mario Choi

    BALIF Board Young Lawyers & 

    Law Student Programs Committee Chair

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