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  • 30 May 2013 4:45 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    In our last Co-Chair Statement, I bid a fond adieu to Co-Chair Chelsea HaleyNelson. In this week's Statement, I'm delighted to introduce you to our newly elected female Co-Chair -- the incomparable Jamie Dupree.

    When I tapped Jamie to sign a Release and Waiver for her "It Gets Better" video, she wanted to make sure BALIF wouldn't use her name and likeness to "sell toothpaste or something like that." Right then, I knew we would be friends. BTW: See her amazing story here.

    To me, "James" is friend, confidante, leader, drinking buddy, visionary, witty goofball, ex-cheerleader, and make-it-happen executor all rolled into one. (Did I mention that she's also hilarious?)

    Jamie has served as BALIF's Gala Co-Chair for the past two years, and has been responsible for securing sponsorships from the dozens of law firms that support BALIF and our Gala. She's also been an amazing cheerleader for the numerous other events that BALIF puts on. Last year, Jamie offered to buy tickets for every law students interested in attending the Lesbian Comedy Night! Jamie's goals as BALIF Co-Chair this year are laser focused. She's getting our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status off the ground. And she's jumpstarting networking opportunities to help BALIF members become rainmakers.

    Here are some other interesting tidbits about Jamie that you might not know.
    Married Patty Frontiera in October 2008, just before the Prop 8 election, after 12-years of bliss
    Proud mommy to Jonah (7) and Zachary (4 1/2).
    Two favorite things in the world: (1) spending time with her boys; and (2) having a break from spending time with her boys.
    Until she gave birth, the hardest thing she had ever done was hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out.
    Has traveled to Legoland each of the past three years.
    Founded her own firm in August 1998.
    Favorite obsession - finding a larger house in Piedmont, or renovating current house.
    Want to know more about Jamie? Read her "What I've Learned" article here.

    Welcome, Jamie. We're so, so proud and privileged to have you onboard!

    On Lu
    BALIF Board Co-Chair
  • 15 May 2013 3:41 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    Sssshhhhhh! My Co-Chair, Chelsea "Chels" HaleyNelson, doesn't know this is being written about her, so don't spill the beans...

    It's never easy saying good-bye to a Board Member -- especially when she has devoted FIVE years to the BALIF Board (with two of those as Co-Chair), and has had such tremendous impact...

    I've known Chels for more than a decade. We sat next to each other in several classes as 1Ls at USF, and quickly became friends. One of my fondest memories was sneaking around campus with Chelsea incognito, as we papered the school with anti-JAG flyers in protest to military recruiting efforts forced on our campus (less we lose government funding). What a duo we made. And what a privilege and a pleasure it has been to serve as Co-Chair with her over the past year.

    I'm a witness to the umpteen hours Chelsea has lovingly poured into our 33-year old organization. I especially appreciate that she's a make-it-happen leader who not only builds consensus, but is also every Board Member's biggest cheerleader. Chelsea benchmarked our Outreach Committee years ago, and has served as BALIF's "Secretary of State" to the Bay Area's 30+ sister bar organizations ever since. She will also be fondly remembered for her very moving "It Gets Better" Video. Former BALIF Co-Chairs know that leading our Board can be like herding cats. And Chelsea does it tirelessly, consistently, and always with a smile. And this is all in addition to her own thriving private practice (which focuses on immigration removal defense), and her generous pro bono work on LGBT asylum cases and worksite enforcement raids.

    If you get a moment, you might want to shoot Chelsea a quick note of thanks! Click here!

    @Chels: I and the entire BALIF Board will miss you. But we understand that Lonnie needs her wife, and Esme needs her mommy. Nevertheless, we better be seeing you at BALIF events; don't force us to come to the East Bay to drag you out... ;)

    On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chair

  • 08 May 2013 9:37 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Dear BALIF Members & Friends,

    Wow! We didn't think we could laugh as hard as we did last night! More than 115 BALIF members and friends attended our second annual Comedy Night at the Punchline. Suzanne Westenhoefer delivered a fierce and hilarious performance that blew us away!

    Afterward, about 25 VIP ticket holders got the chance to meet, and get personal with, the comedienne.

    We want to thank Queens Bench again for co-sponsoring this event for the past 2 years. And we thank our members for letting BALIF be a part of your date night!

    We hope to see you soon,

    Chelsea E. HaleyNelson & On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs
  • 30 Apr 2013 4:35 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    It's Date Night!

    Come laugh with BALIF this next Tuesday, May 7th, at our Lesbian Comedy Night with the fearless and hilarious Suzanne Westenhoefer. All you wonderful, witty women of BALIF - it is time to put on your best, bring your date, partner, friends and male cohorts to share a bite, a drink and a chuckle with us!

    Tickets are going fast, so make sure to get yours now! Click here.

    We will see you there!
    Chelsea E. HaleyNelson & On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs
  • 23 Apr 2013 9:34 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Thank you to everyone who voted in BALIF's recent elections! We had incredible participation and a great turnout at our annual meeting this past week! Congratulations to newly-elected Board members: Jennifer Orthwein, Jennifer Wilensky, Jessica Bogo, Leah Nutting, Midori Hirai, Edward Joy, Andrew Vu and Dustin Helmer. We also welcome back re-elected Board members: Jamie Dupree, Lilah Sutphen, John Unruh, and Mario Choi. They will join continuing Board members On Lu, Laurie Bertolacci, Elizabeth Prtizker, Nick Kacprowski, Peter Catalanotti, and Nicholas Clements. We will be introducing the BALIF Board to you in the coming weeks, so stay stuned!

    We also want to thank our departing BALIF superstars: Laura Maechtlen, David Nathan-Allen Sims, Susan Bluer, Michael Wolchansky, and our law student representatives, Nathan Bewley, Aditi Fruitwala and Milo Beitman. Thank you for your years of dedication and commitment to the Board and to BALIF! I, too, will be leaving the Board after 5 years. I have truly enjoyed being a part of such a dynamic and creative Board. Thank you!

    Now its time to laugh! Do not miss BALIF's 2nd Annual Lesbian Comedy Night on May 7th at the Punchline with the first-ever openly gay stand-up comic, Suzanne Westenhoefer! Tickets are on sale now by clicking here, but going fast! Bring a group and laugh with the ladies of BALIF and Queen's Bench.

    We hope to see all of you there!

    Chelsea E. HaleyNelson & On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs
  • 16 Apr 2013 9:31 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    Our message is short and simple this week - make sure you vote TODAY for the BALIF Board! Electronic voting is available today only until 3 p.m., After you've cast your vote, join us at the Sausage Factory to meet and congratulate the new, incoming BALIF Board Members.

    Good luck to all of the candidates! We will see you tonight!

    Chelsea E. HaleyNelson and On Lu
    BALIF Board Co-Chairs
  • 09 Apr 2013 2:35 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    From BALIF Member David Monroe:

    I went to D.C. to sit in on the oral arguments. I am a lawyer admitted to the US Supreme Court, so I had a better than average chance to get inside and sit at "ground zero", so to speak, of the current status of gay legal rights in America.

    I arrived in D.C. at 1:00 a.m. Monday morning from San Fran, went to my bed and breakfast, changed into my suit, and went straight to the Court, arriving at 2:30 a.m. It was about 36 degrees, chilly but bearable. I was 51st in line, good enough to get into the courtroom that day. We got into the building about 8:30. I was inside the courtroom for Prop 8 (2nd row center - nice!).

    For DOMA the next day, I slept some, but still went to the court around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday. I did not get into the courtroom, between the lawyers paying for "Place Holders" to get the first 50 spots (a practice I detest, and will write to the Supreme Court marshals objecting to, as the use of "Place Holders" is not allowed in D.C. for congressional hearings, etc.) and the VIPs (many U.S. House of Representatives were there, including Nancy Pelosi, who did not have to stand in line), so I was in the lawyer's lounge for DOMA (where I could hear the arguments, but not see the proceedings).

    My take on the Prop 8 - DOMA arguments in the US Supreme Court:

    We still have work to do to educate the intelligent elite about the nature of gay people and the effects of discriminatory laws and language in society. They do not understand the oppressive effect of being denied equal treatment. They see us still as objects, not people.

    The lady Supreme Court justices understand our position - not surprising, rising from the ranks of women, who have also been mistreated by the white rich straight men in America who think they rule the world, and experiencing the humiliation of being treated as "less than" - something most rich white men in America rarely experience. It was clear to me the white men on the Supreme Court did not understand what it is like to be discriminated against - they dismissed it as a passing discomfort, rather than the denigrating humiliation that it is.

    On of the best points made by "our side" was the attorney arguing DOMA for the plaintiff, Edith Windsor, in response to Roberts' argument that we must now have extensive political power (and therefore do not deserve protection as a class), she pointed out that no other minority in history had been subjected to over 30 public referendums on whether we had rights, and we have lost 28 out of 30 times, indicating we do not have political power.

    So we should continue to educate the straight world - make our movies, to reach those who do not have gay friends: but more focus on our humanity, rather than flaunting our sexuality. My goal - to make one feature film in the next two years that shows the effects of discrimination on people across the board, including my gay brothers and sisters.

    I saw Rob Reiner in the hallway before the Prop 8 arguments, and did congratulate him for helping us get this far. Rob helped finance the underpinnings for the Prop 8 case and was there in the courthouse for the arguments.

    Opinions are expected in June. My prediction: Prop 8 falls in California, but gay marriage is not addressed in other states; and DOMA Section 3 falls, leaving gay married couples in states that recognize gay marriage on equal footing with other married coupes. We will see.

    And the journey continues...
    Waiting for the Prop 8 arguments, like at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning - then I was interviewed on TV by the local SF affiliate (my roommate sent me a pic of my mug on his TV back at home that was broadcast that same morning, while I was still standing in line!) - and waiting outside shivering for the DOMA arguments (no pics are allowed inside the building); and after the DOMA arguments, the crowds outside...

  • 09 Apr 2013 2:27 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    The numbers from Saturday's Career & Networking Expo surprised even us...
    • 200+ young lawyers and law students came for the half-day event.
    • 35+ practice area tables staffed by dozens of BALIF members.
    • 15 employers hiring for 30+ positions for laterals, first-years, and interns.
    • Standing room only at the "Power Networking" and "Legal Spectrum" panels.
    • Resume review sessions - every slot filled.
    • Mock interviews - every slot filled.
    • Sedgwick networking mixer - 100+ attendees; complimentary champagne was finished within 30-minutes
    Best of all -- BALIF members are already interviewing for some of the open positions. Keep us updated if you land a position as a result of the Expo!

    Thank you to all the BALIF members that took time out of their Saturdays to staff tables, conduct mock interviews, speak on panes, and to provide advice to job seekers. And a special thanks to Katie Carlson - BALIF's Administrator - for her wonderful work in setting up the venue.

    This week - don't forget to vote for your 2013-14 BALIF Board. Voting lasts for only ONE WEEK and closes next Tuesday (4/16). Your vote matters in selecting the men and women who will lead BALIF this year. More info below.

    We look forward to seeing you soon.

    On Lu & Chelsea HaleyNelson
    BALIF Co-Chairs

  • 25 Mar 2013 1:24 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    At a recent BALIF networking event, I had the following exchange with a young lawyer ("YL"):

    YL: I was told to come to this networking event. Who are you?

    oN: My name is On Lu. Pleased to meet you.

    YL: Do you do anything with this group? What does it do any way?

    oN: Sure. I try to stay involved. BALIF represents the interest of LGBT legal professionals in the Bay Area, and...

    YL: Well, since this is a networking event, is your firm hiring?

    oN: Yes, we are for...

    YL: How much do you pay?

    oN: Well...

    YL: So what does your firm do any way?

    oN: We're an IP litigation boutique...

    YL: Can I give you my resume to give to your boss?

    I put down my martini and pulled YL aside. We had a nice chat about the right ways (and the wrong ways) to network. YL explained that he came from a top tiered law school that didn't teach its students how to network. This made me think about the job process that so many of our members are undergoing right now, and whether there was anything BALIF could do to better equip them. What resulted is BALIF's 2013 Career and Networking Expo - scheduled for Saturday, April 6. Our goal is simple - to help our members GET JOBS. More than anything, the Expo is designed to be practical. We want our members to walk-away from this event with information they can put to use immediately. Read more about the Expo below, and how this event will empower your job search. As of this morning, TEN employers (and counting) will be hiring for laterals, young attorneys, and law students at the Expo. For those on the job search, there is no wiser use of four hours on a Saturday afternoon.

    We look forward to seeing you there.

    Chelsea HaleyNelson & On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs
  • 20 Mar 2013 4:38 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    Wow...what a party! This past Friday, BALIF hosted our 33rd Annual Dinner and Awards Gala at the Bentley Reserve. Nearly 700 attended, including BALIF's 2013 sponsors, judges, elected officials, BALIF members and our community allies. Congratulations again to BALIF's 2013 Awardees: the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund (Community Service Award), AIDS Legal Referral Panel (Legal Service Award), and Stanford Law School's OUTlaw (Law Student Association of the Year).

    After the Gala, the celebration continued with more than 100 people at the BALIF After Party at the Lookout. Thank you to BALIF's Gala Co-Chairs, Jamie Dupree and John Unruh, the Gala Committee, and BALIF's administrator, Katie Carlson, for their considerable hard work in making this year's Gala Simply Fabulous! And thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate. You looked amazing! See photos from BALIF's Red Carpet, the VIP reception and the Gala here!

    Did you have a great time at the Gala? Then consider joining the BALIF Board that makes the magic happen.
    BALIF will be electing new Board members at our annual meeting on April 16, 2013 at the Sausage Factory. Nominations are due by March 29, 2013. Complete details regarding BALIF elections can be found below, or feel free to contact BALIF's Secretary, Laura Maechtlen with any questions.

    We look forward to seeing you all again very soon!

    Chelsea HaleyNelson & On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs

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