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  • 13 Mar 2012 8:51 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Free Tickets to Upcoming Annual
    Dinners of Sister Minority Groups

    Several of BALIF's sister minority bar groups are also hosting their annual dinners this month and we'd love to show them our support!   We have a small number of available tickets for the following events, which will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. If interested, email Spencer Jones by the date indicated at


    *FRI, MARCH 23, 6PM: The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA-BayArea) will host a cocktail reception and dinner at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. More info at: [TO ATTEND, YOU MUST EMAIL REQUEST BY THE END OF TOMORROW, TUESDAY, MARCH 13TH.]


    *FRI, MARCH 30, 6PM: The South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC) will host a cocktail reception, dinner, and award ceremony at The Regency Center in San Francisco. More info at: [TO ATTEND, PLEASE EMAIL REQUEST BY FRIDAY, MARCH 16th.]

  • 13 Mar 2012 8:46 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Join BALIF's Amicus Committee
    and Progress LGBT Rights

    BALIF's amicus efforts have impacted successful outcomes in the Prop 8 litigation, such as:

    • The N.D. California decision that a gay judge may decide gay rights cases without having to recuse himself.
    • The Ninth Circuit and N.D. California decisions that voter initiatives may not single out same-sex couples in California and deny them a right to marry.

    Additionally, past amicus briefs have lead to:

    • The Ninth Circuit decision that the United States Army could not bar a soldier's reenlistment solely on the basis of his or her sexual orientation, before Don't Ask Don't Tell.
    • The Supreme Court of California decision that it was unconstitutional for California to prohibit same-sex marriage.
    • The Supreme Court of the United States decision that the federal government's blanket prohibition on "indecent" speech on the internet violated the First Amendment.

    Help shape LGBT rights by getting involved with BALIF's Amicus Committee. Contact to get started.

  • 13 Mar 2012 8:35 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Pursuant to BALIF's By-laws, BALIF's Nominating Committee Announces:


    There are eleven Board Positions open this year for election: 4 positions are available for male candidates, 3 positions are available for female candidates, and 1 position is available for transgender/Gender-Nonconforming candidates.  There are 3 positions for Law Students (1 female, 1 male and 1 position for Gender-Nonconforming).


    The Nominating Committee is still accepting nominations from the membership. If you are interested in serving, or if you would like to nominate a qualified member, please email BALIF Secretary, David Sims,, at no later than 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, 2012. (Qualified members are those people who are members of BALIF. If your membership has lapsed, please renew! We want your participation!) Board members serve a two year term (law student Board members serve a one-year term), and are required to attend Board meetings the third Monday of each month. They will also be expected to attend the BALIF working retreat weekend in late April/ early May, 2012. More information is available about BALIF and our Board of Directors on our website at


    Thank you for your consideration.


    Very truly yours,


    The BALIF Nominating Committee

  • 15 Feb 2012 11:39 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Another reminder that on Friday, March 9, 2012, BALIF will return to the SF MOMA for the annual Gala! Last year's party was a huge hit, and this year promises to be equally exciting. Firms are clamoring to get their BALIF sponsorships (by emailing, or and individual registrations (at Make sure that your firm or organization is a BALIF sponsor - the deadline for getting advertisements in for the program and Partner-Level Sponsor logos submitted for on-the-wall "Gobo" advertising is February 24 - next Friday! Firms and individuals are already starting to sponsor, so make sure that your firm gets their sponsorship in as soon as possible to enjoy the kudos of sponsorship as early as possible and doesn't miss out on this important opportunity to show its support for the Bay Area LGBT legal community and BALIF!  


    This year, BALIF honors the Transgender Law Center with the Community Service Award, and Morrison & Foerster and Lambda Legal, counsel for Karen Golinski, with the Legal Service Award. BALIF congratulates TLC, MoFo and Lambda on this huge honor. Stay tuned for more information about the background to these awards.

  • 15 Feb 2012 11:32 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    We thank BALIF Outreach Co-Chairs, Spencer Jones and Michael Wolchansky, for planning the gatherings surrounding the Ninth Circuit decision in the Perry v. Brown case.

  • 08 Feb 2012 11:00 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    2.7.2012-San Francisco, CA:  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today issued a historic decision affirming the August 2010 decision of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco striking down the controversial ballot initiative known as Prop 8, which in 2008 stripped same-sex couples of the right to marry in California.  Writing for the majority in Perry v. Brown, Judge Stephen Reinhardt declared that "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California , and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.  The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort."

    The Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), as the nation's oldest and largest bar association of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) persons working in the field of law, applauds the Ninth Circuit's ruling and congratulates and thanks the many dedicated lawyers and legal professionals whose critical work over the past several years championing the cause of marriage equality in the courtrooms of California has helped lead to this decision.  BALIF itself coordinated the submission of two amicus briefs in this case as it was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, both of which were joined by dozens of other minority bar associations located throughout California and various other national and local non-profit organizations.  One set of amici were represented by Perkins Coie LLP attorneys Joren Bass, Allison Zamani, and BALIF Co-Chair David Tsai, and the other set was represented by Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP attorneys Jerome Rother, Michelle Friedland, Mark Conrad, and Miriam Seifter.  We are very grateful for the hard work of these extremely dedicated and capable attorneys to assure that the voice of BALIF and its sister minority groups was heard in this fight.  Their impressive briefs can be found here and here.       

    Today, BALIF also acknowledges and congratulates the work of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), who in association with the law firms of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP mounted and has sustained this particular case in the federal courts.  As the Ninth Circuit's decision is the first time a federal appeals court has invalidated discrimination against same-sex couples with respect to the fundamental right to marry, today's decision marks a monumental step forward for LGBT rights.  BALIF Co-Chair Chelsea HaleyNelson summarized the historic nature of the decision as follows:  "The Ninth Circuit's ruling finding Proposition 8 unconstitutional affirms the ideals of equality, dignity and fairness, not only for same-sex couples, but for all of us.  This is a wonderful victory that I'm proud to be able to witness."

    Founded in 1980, BALIF represents its members' interests in the wider San Francisco Bay Area.  BALIF members and supporters include San Francisco Bay Area judges, lawyers, law students and legal workers.  For more information on BALIF, please visit our website or Facebook page.


  • 05 Feb 2012 11:29 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit invites applications from highly qualified candidates for the position of Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of California. This position will be available on December 1, 2012. The selection process may take up to 10 months to complete. The official duty station for this position will be in San Francisco , CA .  Click here for more information and here for the application.
  • 05 Feb 2012 11:28 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The National LGBT Bar Association is pleased to partner with Prudential Financial, Inc. (Prudential) to provide a meaningful summer internship opportunity to a highly-motivated first-year law student. Through this partnership, the National LGBT Bar Association will select a student to join the 2012 summer law intern class at Prudential for a 10-week internship at Prudential's offices with a stipend of approximately $10,000. Internship positions will be located in the New Jersey tri-state area. A position may be available in Dallas , Texas .  Click here for more information. 

  • 31 Jan 2012 9:15 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF invites you to participate in "Day of Decision" events being planned for the day in the near future that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announces its decision regarding Proposition 8 -- including a special BALIF happy hour that day in the Castro!  The Court has completed all hearings and briefing in the case and could rule at any time.  It is hoped that the Court will provide advanced notice that the ruling is coming, in which case BALIF will send out an update.  But in the meantime, please take note of the following planned events for the Bay Area:


    San Francisco, CA


    SF Morning


        What: Gather on the steps of the Ninth Circuit Federal Courthouse, San Francisco to receive the ruling (anticipated at 10:00 AM).  Then we will proceed to San Francisco City Hall, where clergy will be available to bless couples who are not able to marry because of Prop. 8.
        Where: Ninth Circuit Federal Courthouse, 95 7th Street (at Mission) 
        When: 9:30 AM on Day of Decision 
        Contact: Billy Bradford (415) 716-6315     

    SF Evening


        What: Community Rally with music and speakers. We will either celebrate or protest the decision, and either way, re-dedicate our resolve to achieve full equality nationwide.
        Where: Market Street & 17th Street (across from Castro & Market) 
        When: 5:00 PM on Day of Decision 
        Contacts: Rev. Kelly Rivera Hart (415) 260-5704 and Billy Bradford (415) 716-6315


    SF BALIF Happy Hour


        What: BALIF will host a happy hour immediately following the Community Rally in the Castro, for all lawyers and legal professionals, where t-shirts and stickers will be available. 
        Where: Twin Peaks, Market Street & 17th Street (across from Castro & Market) 
        When: 6:00 PM on Day of Decision 
        Contacts: Spencer Jones (415) 609-6961 and Michael Wolchansky (415) 640-0633


    Contra Costa County, CA

        What: Community gathering at the Rainbow Community Center
        Where: Rainbow Community Center, 3024 Willow Pass Road, Suite 200. Concord, CA
        When: 6:00-7:00 PM on Day of Decision
        Contact: Leslie Stewart (925) 765-6064
  • 11 Dec 2011 10:50 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    There has never been a better time to give back to the community -- BALIF is currently matching donations made to the Pride Law Fund!


    Your donation will help fund scholarships that promote the legal rights of the LGBT community, and people living with HIV and AIDS. Now in its 32nd year, Pride Law Fund is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit, charitable organization. Make your tax-deductible donation today to help ensure the continued funding of this important work benefiting our community.


    Choose your one-time donation amount: $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100.


    For more information, contact Michael Wolchansky, BALIF Pride Law Fund Committee Chair at or John Unruh, Pride Law Fund Co-Chair, at

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Office: +1 415 874-3045

P.O. Box 193383 San Francisco, CA 94119