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  • 16 Oct 2013 9:09 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    BALIF Members and Friends-

    Calling all those eager to improve the lives of others! The Social Action Committee is in high gear, with two exciting initiatives launching his month. And please welcome Dmitri Pikman of ALRP: our new co-chair of the Social Action Committee!

    First, we're excited to announce our Fall BALIF Service Day at Glen Park Elementary from 10am - 2pm on October 26, 2013. BALIF will be assisting GPE along with other community members in their grounds beautification project, planting trees, installing an irrigation system, and amending soil. This a great opportunity to help the community, soak up some sunshine, and enjoy the company of great people. Click HERE to register!

    We're also excited to announce BALIF's campaign to assist with the LGBT crisis in Russia. Led by Dmitri and Stan Sarkisov, BALIF is working in cooperation with multiple groups across the country including the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Council for Global Equality to identify and execute initiatives to help improve the lives of our brothers and sisters in Russia. The campaign is designed to be holistic-addressing more pressing concerns with the upcoming Olympics and with immigration possibilities and also identify and execute programs to assist with long-term improvement. If you are interested in assisting with this effort, please email Dmitri at

    Jessica Bogo
    BALIF Social Action Committee Co-Chair
  • 08 Oct 2013 10:47 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    BALIF members are experts in almost every legal specialization from antitrust to family law and we want to leverage our extensive media contacts list to raise the profiles of our experts. When a journalist needs an expert on securities law, prison law, employment law, or whatever your specialization is, she'll call you for that quote.

    If you want to be included in the BALIF Expert Directory,
    please send a short email with the following to

    Name, title and place of business

    Fields and/or sub-fields you are an expert in (E.g., Employment and ERISA)

    No more than 500 words on what makes you an expert: specific work experience, length of experience, published articles or books, and speaking appearances related to your topic.
    Please reply only if you can truly be considered an expert in your field; general guidelines are at least 7-10 years of practice and/or additional qualifications that separate you from other attorneys.
  • 07 Oct 2013 10:08 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    BALIF Board Members and Friends-

    BALIF Judiciary 2.0 launched !

    In this first week of October, as the justices of the United States Supreme Court begin a new term, we are excited to announce that BALIF has kicked off a very ambitious work plan for BALIF's Judiciary Committee this coming year. Our Judiciary Committee has long served as a key endorsement mechanism for LGBT candidates seeking positions on the federal and state judiciary. The Committee's new work plan is to supplement these efforts with a series of new initiatives that are designed to identify qualified LGBT judicial candidates, and to support and groom those candidates for successful appointment to the bench.

    The Judiciary Committee had quite a busy summer. We reformulated the Committee's goals and work plan for the year; recruited a brand new committee, bringing on a total of 17 committee members, and establishing 10 subcommittees spearheaded by the committee.

    The Committee's new strategic goals for the year are: establish ties with the Minority Bars Judiciary Committees to share intelligence and efforts regarding judicial appointments; establish connections to other CA state, out of state, and national LGBT judiciary committees regarding judicial appointments of LGBT candidates; establish connection to the Governor's Office; work to place LGBT / BALIF members on Bay Area county judiciary committees such as BASF Judiciary Committee; Alameda Judiciary Committee; San Mateo, Santa Clara; establish an LGBT Judges Council to advise our Committee and mentor our judicial candidates; establish an Advisors Council composed of senior LGBT attorneys from our community to build a pipeline and mentor our community for the bench; kick off a summit of LGBT Judges in the Bay Area, Advisors Council, and LGBT judiciary committees; revisit the feasibility of the BALIF plebiscite while continuing the important work of the BALIF endorsement process; and establish a Media Plan & Campaign for awareness of LGBT Judiciary issues.

    In an effort to bring attention to the need for more LGBT diversification in judicial appointments, in July, BALIF and AABA co-sponsored a historic -- "Shattering the Judicial LGBT Glass Ceiling" Event, at Orrick featuring out LGBT jurists: Justice Rives Kistler (Oregon Supreme Court); Justice Sabrina McKenna (Hawaii Supreme Court); Justice Barbara Lenk (Massachusetts Supreme Court); and Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu (N.D. California). We had over 100 attendees at the standing room only event.

    It's going to be quite an ambitious and busy upcoming year!

    Andrew Vu & Elizabeth Pritzker
    BALIF Judiciary Committee Co-Chairs
  • 02 Oct 2013 10:06 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends-

    I hope everyone is enjoying the fall sunshine - I'm thrilled that it's finally the season for root beer floats.

    In committee news, BALIF's California Conference of Bar Associations (CCBA) Committee is gearing up to represent BALIF next week at this year's conference in San Jose. BALIF is sponsoring several proposed resolutions seeking to amend the California Penal Code to require medical providers in prisons and jails to provide appropriate medical treatment to transgender inmates. If you'll be in San Jose on October 11, please join BALIF's delegation and other CCBA delegates in kicking off the conference LGBT-ish style with a happy hour at Brix Nightclub.

    Don't forget to mark your calendars for BALIF's October events. Meet and greet your fellow BALIF members at happy hour on October 10, at Osha Thai in SF's Financial District. On Saturday, October 26, BALIF members will join other members of the community to beautify Glen Park Elementary. As we say in my home state of Minnesota : Come With!

    Julie Wilensky
    BALIF Secretary & CCBA Committee Chair
  • 25 Sep 2013 10:36 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    BALIF Members and Friends-

    Fall is officially here, which means (mostly) warm days in San Francisco, the Folsom and Castro Street fairs, and the work of the 2014 Gala Committee begins! I am honored to be co-chairing this committee for the third year in a row. Our first committee meeting is this Thursday where we will begin planning the event's theme, awardees, and one totally amazing party. We promise next year's event will be a night to remember with amazing food, drinks, dancing, and a few surprises. So, reserve Friday, February 28th, 2014 on your calendar for BALIF! The Gala will be here before we know it.

    In the meantime, please check out the many exciting upcoming events sponsored by BALIF and our allied organizations listed in this newsletter. Have a great week and I hope to see you soon.

    John Robert Unruh
    BALIF Gala Committee Co-Chair, Treasurer
  • 17 Sep 2013 10:34 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    It was great to see so many of BALIF's female (and male) members at the Give 'em L! LGBT Salon & Talk-Show last Thursday. The speakers were engaging, the views of our new Bay Bridge in the backdrop were stunning, and the two rooms filled with BALIF women were vibrant throughout the evening. Thank you for all who attended. I hope you enjoyed the event as much as I did!

    With the change of seasons we are going to help change the look of our local Glen Park Elementary school. Mark your calendars to join us on October 26, 2013 to help give the school a new face, meet other BALIF members and members of the community, and pay-it-forward to our community.

    Enjoy the warm weather, treat yourself to a scoop (or two) at one of San Francisco's iconic ice cream shops, and have a great week!

    Lilah Sutphen
    BALIF Gala Committee Co-Chair
  • 17 Sep 2013 9:06 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    San Francisco, Sept. 13, 2013 – On Sept. 12, over sixty women came out to see an all-female panel of legal luminaries including Therese Stewart, chief deputy attorney at the San Francisco City Attorneys Office, in BALIF’s first ever LGBT Ladies Salon.  The event was hosted and co-sponsored by Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg LLP.

    The participants focused their discussion on decisions that arose from this year’s Supreme Court term.  Stewart related her personal experiences litigating on behalf of San Francisco in the fight for marriage equality starting from San Francisco’s issuing of marriage licenses in 2004 to the Supreme Court’s June decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry upholding the invalidation of Proposition 8. 

    Other featured speakers included Theodora Lee, attorney and shareholder at Littler Mendelson; Ilona Turner, legal director of the Transgender Law Center; and Pamela Fulmer, partner at Novak Druce and early contributor to the marriage equality litigation.  Leah Nutting, programs committee chair at BALIF, moderated.  In addition to Perry, the participants discussed the impact of decisions related to the Defense of Marriage Act and employment law.

    The Bar Association of San Francsico (BASF) LGBT Equality Committee served as the other co-sponsor of the inaugural event.

  • 11 Sep 2013 10:22 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends-

    It has been quite a summer! I've had so much fun seeing all the pictures and receiving the announcements from my friends about their "official" weddings. My wife and I went to San Francisco City Hall to make it official a few weeks ago and I have to say, despite being Domestic Partners for 2 years, it really does feel different to be married.

    We got a lot of great feedback last week regarding the first BALIF "Connections" Mentorship Happy Hour. If you couldn't make it, there is still an opportunity to become a mentor or mentee. Please email Mario to let him know you are interested.

    This week, we have an exciting event led by an amazing panel of legal wonder women. Please join us Thursday, September 12th from 6pm-8pm at Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg LLP for Give 'em L! LGBT Salon and Talk Show- Supreme Court Edition. It will be a great opportunity to network and learn more about the key decisions that have launched our movement forward. I hope to see you there!

    Have a great week!

    Jennifer Orthwein
    Chair, BALIF Communications and Technology Committee
  • 04 Sep 2013 10:12 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hi BALIF Members and Friends-

    This month's premier event is BALIF's first ever LGBT Ladies Salon & Talk-Show - Supreme Court Edition. (Gentlemen welcome.) Featured guests include Therese Stewart, Chief Deputy City Attorney at the San Francisco City Attorneys Office, Ilona Turner, Legal Director of the Transgender Law Center, Theodora Lee, Attorney and Shareholder at Littler Mendelson and more! Tired of stale panels and connection-less networking events? Come try something different. Give 'em L! will take place on Thursday, September 12, 2013.

    On another note, if you love Galas and other grand events, then BALIF's Community Ambassador Committee is right for you. Through ticket swaps with other minority bar associations, Committee members attend other minority bar association's grand events as BALIF's representatives. Lined up for this month alone are the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California's 30th Anniversary Gala and the Women Lawyers of Alameda County's Annual Judges Dinner. If you are interested in joining the Community Ambassador Committee, please contact Edward Joy at

    Have a Great Week!

    Edward Joy
    BALIF Community Ambassador Committee Chair

    P.S. Looking forward to seeing all you mentors and mentees to be this Thursday September 5, 2013 at BALIF's first "Connections" Mentorship Happy Hour from 6pm-8pm at the Lookout!"
  • 28 Aug 2013 9:33 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Dear BALIF Members and Friends,

    A Big Thanks to all of the BALIF members who came out to welcome the 2013 Lavender Law attendees at 111 Minna last Thursday! Special thanks to Nick Clements for organizing and Seyfarth Shaw LLP for co-sponsoring this event! A good time was had by all!

    Mark your calendars for the upcoming BALIF / BASF LGBT Women's Networking Event on September 12, 2013 at Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg. It is going to be AMAZING!

    Finally, BALIF is working on a response to the recent draconian anti-gay "propaganda" laws passed in Russia . Any and all ideas on how BALIF should respond on behalf of our members are welcome. Please email

    Have a great week.

    Pete Catalanotti
    BALIF Outreach Committee Chair

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