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  • 11 Dec 2011 10:41 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    If you have an MCLE you'd like to see, or one you'd like to put on, please email Cara Sherman at with your ideas. Best idea wins a BALIF t-shirt and (if your proposal so calls), the chance to be an MCLE presenter! On a related note, if you have any experience with how technology in the practice of law (email, e-discovery, social networking, voicemail) creates pitfalls - including ethical pitfalls - for the modern lawyer, please email for the opportunity to sit on a panel in conjunction with SFTLA on the topic.

  • 11 Dec 2011 10:41 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    San Mateo County Judge Jon Karesh balances the bench, life and handling two mentees in BALIF's "Connections" mentoring program. Judge Karesh has been a tireless supporter of mentoring the LGBT community, and does not let geographic distance, or mentees with dissimilar employment goals, get in the way of productive relationships.   Karesh says, "one of my mentees lives in San Francisco and we have met for lunch several times when I have been up in the city on weekends. The other one lives in Union City and he and his partner invited me over to their place during the summer for a barbecue. We also met up at the recent BALIF mentor/mentee event in S.F." Judge Karesh's efforts are appreciated by his mentees, both of whom continue to be in regular contact. Thank you, Judge Karesh! Mentoring matters. For more information, please contact Dennis Raglin, chair of the Young Lawyers and Students Committee (

  • 11 Dec 2011 10:40 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Exciting opportunity to Co-Chair BALIF's Amicus Committee! Come get involved in BALIF's Amicus Committee, as Co-Chair or as a member, and share in the thrill of being involved in cutting-edge LGBT equal rights! Potential upcoming amicus issues include federal benefits for LGBT veterans and their partners; Proposition 8; health coverage for LGBT partners, and more. If interested, please contact Ellise Nicholson, Amicus Committee Chair, at

  • 19 Nov 2011 11:48 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Response from Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom ("BALIF") to California Supreme Court Ruling on Standing
    Question in Proposition 8 Case

    11.18.11-San Francisco, CA. The California Supreme Court issued a decision yesterday holding that the sponsors of Proposition 8 are permitted under California law to represent the State in appealing the federal district court's decision in Perry v. Brown striking down Prop 8, even though California's Attorney General and Governor have both declined to do so.


    Yesterday's ruling comes in response to a request from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the California Supreme Court issue an advisory opinion on whether the Prop 8 proponents have the authority to represent the interests of the State of California in the Perry v. Brown challenge to Prop 8. After yesterday's decision, the case will go back to the Ninth Circuit to decide whether, in light of the ruling by the California Supreme Court, federal law allows the Prop 8 proponents to represent the State. If the Ninth Circuit rules in the affirmative, the Ninth Circuit will go on to decide whether to uphold the district court's decision striking down the proposition as unconstitutional.


    BALIF, as the nation's oldest and largest bar association of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons in the field of law, is disappointed with the California Supreme Court's decision permitting the initiative proponents - as opposed to the State's governor and Attorney General, both of whom recognize that Proposition 8 violates the federal Constitution - the authority to represent the interests of the State of California. However, we are hopeful that the Ninth Circuit will move forward expeditiously to affirm Judge Walker's finding that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and to insure that same-sex couples in California are treated equally and fairly under the law and are no longer denied their basic rights.


    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:

    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
  • 16 Nov 2011 12:41 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Below is a list of current attorney vacancies at the United States Department of Justice. We encourage all interested applicants to apply; however, please note that due to temporary funding restrictions we may not be able to fill all of the currently advertised positions.
    To learn more about Justice and our legal careers, please visit our website:
    In addition, every year over 1,800 volunteer legal interns serve in DOJ components and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. If you know any law students who may be interested in a DOJ volunteer internship, please encourage them to review the many opportunities featured at
    Finally, please share this email with interested colleagues and peers. If you wish to update the contact information for you or the organization you represent, or no longer wish to receive these periodic email announcements, please respond to this email address and ask to be removed from our mailing list. Thank you.
    Current Department of Justice Attorney Vacancies
    Special Assistant United States Attorney (Uncompensated) United States Attorney's Office, District of Maryland, Civil Division Vacancy Announcement Number: 12-MD-03 Application Deadline: January 3, 2012
    Date posted: 11-10-2011
    Assistant United States Attorney United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Florida Announcement Number 11-SDFL-AUSA-08 Announcement is open until November 24, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-10-2011
    Assistant United States Attorney United States Attorney's Office District of Kansas Vacancy Announcement Number: 12-KS-AUSA-01 Applications must be received by December 02, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-10-2011
    Assistant United States Attorney United States Attorney's Office Northern District of Texas Dallas, Texas November 9, 2011 - November 23, 2011 Vacancy Announcement #12-NDTX-AUSA-D02 Applications must be received by 11:59pm November 23, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-09-2011
    Assistant United States Attorney United States Attorney's Office Western District of Texas El Paso, Texas Vacancey Announcement # 12-WDTX-562231-AUSA-02 The closing date for this announcement is November 28, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-09-2011
    Regional Counsel Federal Burerau of Prisons Northeast Regional Office Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Supervisory Attorney- Advisor GS-905-15 This position is open until filled, but no later than November 23, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-09-2011
    Assistant United States Attorney United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Georgia Vacancy Announcement Number 12-AUSASDGA-01 Positions are open until filled, but resumes must be received by November 23, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-09-2011
    Special Assistant United States Attorney (Serves Without Compensation) United States Attorney's Office Western District of Kentucky Vacancy Announcement Number 12-WDKY-01 To receive consideration for this vacancy, resumes must be received by November 22, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-09-2011
    Experienced Attorney / GS-905-14/15 U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training Resident Legal Advisor in Indonesia 12-CRM-OPDAT-003 Applications will be accepted until this position is filled.
    Date posted: 11-09-2011
    Experienced Attorney GS-905-14/15 U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training Resident Legal Advisor for the Caribbean Region (Based in the United States) 11-CRM-OPDAT-048 Applications will be accepted until this position is filled.
    Date posted: 11-09-2011
    Assistant United States Attorney Vacancy United States Attorney's Office Northern District of IOWA Announcement Number: 2012-AUSA-NDIA-01 Applications must be postmarked by Monday, November 28, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-08-2011
    Assistant United States Attorney United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Florida Announcement Number 11-SDFL-AUSA-07 Announcement is open until November 22, 2011.
    Date posted: 11-08-2011
    Opportunity for Appointment as Assistant United States Attorney (Two-Year Term Position) United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Michigan Vacancy #FY 2012-EDMI-01-AUSA Applications for this vacancy will be accepted through November 28, 2011.
  • 31 Oct 2011 3:00 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    BALIF's "Connections" mentoring program matches law students and newer lawyers with more established BALIF members from all over the Bay Area.  This week, BALIF salutes mentor Barbara Monty of Monty & White in San Rafael (  Barbara and her partner, Ann Montalvo, have been together for 29 years and have a 16 year old daughter.   Barbara believes that a mentor should help a mentee identify what makes him or her happy in life and in a career.  She says, "From there, both mentors and mentees can move in the direction of that happiness.  BALIF is a good vehicle for this exploration because we all have something fundamental in common - that of being "the other" in this profession and society.  BALIF members may also share a special ability to create our own lives, or at least have the desire to do so." Barbara's mentee agrees, saying, "Barbara is fantastic and very pro-actively engaged in this process.  The program has been extremely valuable for me so far."  BALIF thanks Barbara and the dozens of other current BALIF mentors for their dedication and hard work in helping our mentees succeed!  For information on becoming a mentor (or mentee) contact Young Lawyers and Student Committee Chair Dennis Raglin (

  • 31 Oct 2011 2:57 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    On October 27, 2011, BALIF member Simão J. Ávila, Senior Counsel at Kaiser Permanente, received the 2011 Santa Clara Law Social Justice and Human Rights Award.  He was recognized for his work in promoting equality, social justice, and human rights.


    Simão (Sim) J. Ávila, was born in the island of São Jorge, Azores (Portugal).  Sim immigrated to the United States as a teenager with his parents and five siblings to join his father's side of the family who already lived in California for many years.  Sim was the first of his family to attend college.  He earned his Bachelor's of Arts degree in Philosophy from Saint Patrick's College in 1977.  He then joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) where he worked at Casa de los Niños in Tijuana and Tecate, Mexico.  This experience led him to become a lawyer instead of a priest.  Sim obtained his JD degree from the University of Santa Clara, School of Law in 1983.  He began his practice with the National Labor Relations Board in San Juan, Puerto Rico representing workers, unions and employers alike as a field attorney for Region 24.  Sim then returned to the Bay Area where he practiced for 16 years at Littler Mendelson and became a shareholder. 


    At Littler, Sim represented many private and public sector clients on nearly all aspects of employment and labor law during that period. In 2001, Sim became labor and employment counsel for the Office of General Counsel, University of California. He is currently Senior Counsel, Legal & Government Relations for Kaiser Permanente, a position that he accepted in 2007.  At Kaiser Permanente, Sim serves in the Diversity Committee where he and his colleagues continue that company's commitment to diversity and inclusion in the practice of law. Sim lecturers at Stanford University, School of Law and at University of California, Boalt Hall, on negotiations and ADR.  In furtherance of his commitment to community service, Sim has been a board member with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, the Alameda County Community Food Band and St. Vincent's Day Home, which offers comprehensive child development programs and services for children in East Oakland.
    Sim and his husband David Holy have been together for 11 years and live in the East Bay.  Prior recipients of the Santa Clara Law Social Justice and Human Rights Award include Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch, and former National Hispanic Bar President Victor Marquez.
  • 31 Oct 2011 12:47 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    Click Here to learn about BALIF's Endorsements for the SF District Attorney Race on November 8th

  • 27 Oct 2011 9:10 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    California Lawyer is currently seeking nominations for the 16th annual CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) Awards. The deadline for nominations is Thursday, DECEMBER 1, 2011.


    Eligibility: The attorney must be an active member of the State Bar of California whose work was completed or resolved between December 2, 2010 and December 1, 2011.


    The lawyer's achievements during this time period have had a significant impact on:

    ***the law,

    ***the profession,

    ***a particular industry; or

    ***the general good of the public.


    Please provide specific details about the attorney's achievement and explain the significant impact the work made in 2011. 


    Click here for more information and to nominate an attorney

  • 27 Oct 2011 8:39 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Come network with your fellow minority attorneys and law students from over 25 Bay Area minority organizations, as together we celebrate those of our colleagues who have best shown a dedication to working in a unified manner to advance the cause of diversity in the legal profession. In addition, one attorney will be awarded the MBC Trailblazer Award to honor either a special achievement over the past year or their lifetime achievement for the cause of diversity in the legal profession.


    BALIF is proud to announce our 2011 Unity Award nominee: Tim Cahn of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. Please join BALIF in celebrating this honor with Tim on November 14.


    This year's Unity Awards Reception is FREE to all, and will be held on Monday, November 14 from 6:30-8:30pm.


    Graciously hosted at the:
    Alumni Reception Center  
    University of California , Hastings College of the Law 
    200 McAllister Street

    Please send an email to if you plan to attend for security purposes.

    Timothy Cahn is an intellectual property litigator and partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, where he co-chairs the firm's copyright practice.  Since 2001, Mr. Cahn has dedicated much of his professional pro bono effort to addressing the struggle for LGBT equality in the institutional churches.  At the time, churches were lagging far behind the civic culture in extending full equality, dignity, and relationship-recognition to LGBT folk.   There was a growing sense that, for sexual orientation minorities to continue their momentum toward full civic equality, some measure of progress in the churches needed to be achieved.  Tim joined up with several affinity organizations to lend his substantial support as a litigator toward such efforts.


    Over the succeeding ten years, Mr. Cahn has represented LGBT persons and their allies in more than fifteen cases in connection with ecclesiastical investigations and trials of persons who were either seeking to become church ministers or to extend religious marriage recognition to same gender couples.   In 2002, he represented Rev. Katie Morrison, the very first openly gay or lesbian person to achieve, and retain, ordination as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  Rev. Morrison was brought up on church charges based on her sexual orientation, and, with Cahn's help, the charges were dismissed and Morrison's status as a minister secured.


    In 2006, at an ecclesiastical church trial in Northern California, Mr. Cahn represented Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr, a Presbyterian minister who was charged with violating church law by performing weddings for same gender couples.  From the early 1980's, Rev. Spahr has been a tireless advocate for LGBT inclusion and civil rights.  With Cahn's help, Rev. Spahr was acquitted at her 2006 trial, where she was facing the potential sanction of exclusion from ordained ministry.  Mr. Cahn represented Rev. Spahr all the way up to the "Supreme Court" of the Presbyterian church, where Rev. Spahr's acquittal was sustained.


    In 2008, when a group of conservative churches in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania sought to institute a categorical rule that would have absolutely prevented LGBT persons from seeking to become ministers, Mr. Cahn brought a case in Pennsylvania challenging the discriminatory rule and ultimately succeeding in nullifying it.


    In connection with California's 2009 Prop 8 case, Mr. Cahn prepared an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court of California, on behalf of over twenty religious leaders, churches, and synagogues who argued in support of the religious freedom to marry same gender couples. 


    Most recently, in the Spring of 2011, Mr. Cahn again represented a gay minister charged with violating church law.  He obtained the acquittal of Rev. Erwin Barron at a church trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota of charges stemming from Rev. Barron's having legally married his husband.  The church authorities who brought the case against Rev. Barron had sought to compel him to divorce his legal husband.  Following the trial, Rev. Barron's status as a minister, and his marriage, were both fully in tact.


    Mr. Cahn also has been significantly involved with the institutional church on a national level drafting and evaluating guidelines for use by ministers to perform religious ceremonies that bless a civil same-gender marriage, as well as guidelines to enable openly GLBT minister candidates to become ordained.


    Mr. Cahn's involvement in these matters comes naturally.  He is the son of Presbyterian minister and lifelong church member who himself has struggled with the question of what it means to be "out" as a gay man within a religious organization that at times foments anti-gay discrimination.   His extensive pro bono activities in support of LGBT equality in the churches have helped Mr. Cahn partially answer that question for himself.

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