Log in

Log in


  • 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

  • 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.

Call or Email Us
Office: +1 415 874-3045

P.O. Box 193383 San Francisco, CA 94119