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  • 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

  • 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

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