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  • 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
  • 12 Mar 2013 10:19 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    We'll keep it short and simple this week - don't dare miss the BALIF's 33rd Annual Gala on Friday at the Bently Reserve! If you need reasons to come, check out our Top Five list below.

    We hope to see you there!

    Chelsea HaleyNelson & On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs
  • 11 Mar 2013 9:35 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Perkins Coie's David Tsai has been recognized by the Daily Journal
    as one of the top "Five Associates to Watch" in California. David's profile, which appeared in the February 27 special section that included the Top 20 Under 40 attorneys in California, focused on his intellectual property experience and his work in the Taipei office.

    David is a great asset to the Perkins Coie San Francisco office and we are extremely pleased that his hard work, dedication to community service and extraordinary business development skills have been recognized.

    Please join Perkins Coie in congratulating David on this prestigious and well deserved recognition!
  • 04 Mar 2013 3:16 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    Its tax time - typically a dreaded time of year, but now even more so for California domestic partners and married same-sex couples. That is why you do not want to miss tomorrow's FREE Tax Seminar specifically for Registered Domestic Partners & Same-Sex Married Couples presented by California State Controller John Chiang, and cosponsored by BALIF and San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener. Details for this event are below, and on BALIF's website. RSVP here.

    And when you're done learning all you can about taxes, join us in the South Bay for this month's Happy Hour - Friday, March 8th at the Patio in Palo Alto. RSVP here.

    We hope to see you soon!

    Chelsea HaleyNelson & On Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs
  • 27 Feb 2013 11:36 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Today, BALIF filed its amicus brief in the Proposition 8 case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. BALIF brought together nearly 60 organizations as amici, including minority bar associations in California, non-LGBT local bar associations throughout the country, and national and local non-profit organizations. Among the list of amici are various LGBT-bar associations nationwide, including from Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, and Tennessee, non-LGBT bar associations, and organizations such as BASF, NAPABA, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, TLC, and the Marin County Bar Association.

    Click here to read the Windsor case (DOMA), a brief that BALIF was invited to join as co-amicus.

    Click here to read the Perry case (Prop 8), a brief that BALIF coordinated as the lead amicus on behalf of approximately 60 other organizations.

    Kudos and thank you to our very hardworking Amicus Committee chair, Nick Kacprowski and the entire BALIF Amicus Committee. What you do makes us proud to be a part of BALIF! We also want to thank Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP for representing BALIF in this important effort.
  • 25 Feb 2013 11:30 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    Here's a historic opportunity that doesn't come along often...

    Come to an intimate meet & greet this Wednesday night with recently appointed Justice Jim Humes - the First Openly Gay Justice on the California Court of Appeal.

    San Francisco resident Jim Humes was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as an Associate Justice to the First District Court of Appeal, Division Four. Prior to his appointment, he had served as Governor Brown's Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, Administration and Policy since 2011, and also worked with Governor Brown as Attorney General. (Click here to read his full biography.) Justice Hume's partner, Joseph Quinn, is a partner at Hanson Bridgett and specializes in complex litigation, writs and appeals.

    Details for this very special, BALIF Members-Only event are below. Please make sure to RSVP here.

    We hope to see you soon,

    On Lu & Chelsea HaleyNelson
    BALIF Co-Chairs
  • 19 Feb 2013 11:30 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

    Our Amicus Committee has been busy. This next week, BALIF will be filing an amicus brief in the Proposition 8 case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. BALIF has brought together nearly 60 partners in the brief who consist of minority bar associations in California and other non-LGBT local bar associations throughout the country. Among our list of anticipated amici partners are various LGBT-bar associations nationwide, including from Florida, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota and Tennessee, and non-LGBT bar associations and legal groups like BASF, KABANC, TLC and LGLA.

    Kudos and thank you to our very hardworking Amicus Committee chair, Nick Kacprowski and the entire BALIF Amicus Committee. What you do makes us proud to be a part of BALIF! We also want to thank Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP for representing BALIF in this important effort.

    Come celebrate all of the fantastic work that BALIF does at our Annual Gala on March 15, 2013. Click here to purchase tickets. It is not too late to become a BALIF sponsor and to receive complimentary tickets to the Gala. To find out more, or to become a sponsor, please contact BALIF's Gala Co-Chair, Jamie Dupree.

    We hope to see you soon,

    Chelsea HaleyNelson and oN Lu
    BALIF Co-Chairs

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