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  • 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.

  • 27 Oct 2011 8:32 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    It was great to see so many of you last week at the ALRP 28th Annual Reception.  The Reception was a lively evening with delicious food, a fun auction, and fantastic company. We congratulate BALIF Board member David Sims' law firm, Saveri & Saveri, Inc., for receiving the ALRP Firm of the Year Award, BALIF member Thomas R. Burns for receiving the ALRP Clint Hockenberry Leadership Award, and Austin Schwing of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP for receiving the ALRP Attorney of the Year Award.  These awards were presented by BALIF past-Co-Chair and San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner.

  • 20 Oct 2011 9:46 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Congratulations, 2011 BALIF/APABA-SV 

    Law Student Achievement Scholarship Recipients Chris Chou and Tuan Ngo!


    Each year, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) awards Achievement Scholarships to law students throughout the San Francisco bay area. This year, APABA-SV partnered with BALIF in funding two scholarships to recognize law students who have demonstrated leadership and service to the Asian Pacific American and LGBT communities, overcome personal hardships or challenges, and shown excellence and achievement in law school. Stanford Law's Chris Chou and UC Hastings' Tuan Ngo were selected as the 2011 BALIF/APABA-SV Law Student Scholarship recipients.

    Chris Chou is a JD/PhD (economics) student at Stanford University , and received a BA in Mathematics and Political Science from Northwestern University . Over the last year, Chris has worked on housing equity issues at Public Advocates and interned with the Land Use team at the San Francisco Office of the City Attorney. Chris is pursuing a career in land use/municipal law. He is an active member of BALIF, the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley. Originally from Detroit , Michigan , Chris enjoys eating, drinking, and has been known to partake in karaoke.

    Tuan Ngo is a JD student at UC Hastings and received a BA at Occidental College . The joint scholarship from BALIF and Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley allowed him to spend his summer at Greenlining Institute, where he authored a report, "Corporate American Untaxed," looking at tax reforms. Tuan is an active member of Hastings OutLaw, where he helps organize a symposium on the changing landscape within the LGBTI community.  In 2003, Tuan founded a Leprosy English Camp in the Surin  province of Thailand .  Tuan has worked for the Tides Foundation, was a Coro Fellow, and has produced a documentary on Vietnam 's political and economic change.  Tuan is a Lieutenant Governor of the Law Student Division of the ABA and a board member of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California.

  • 20 Oct 2011 9:45 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF Law Student Member Starts 

    Law Student Organization 


    "BALIF member Kellan Martz (a second year student at USF School of Law) has recently started the Society of Law Students (SLS), a networking and volunteer organization for Bay Area law students. SLS is looking for donations to hold events and sustain operations. In addition, SLS is holding an Inaugural Networking Happy Hour on January 12, 2012 and needs attorneys to attend to network with law students.


    Please contact Kellan with questions, suggestions, to attend the happy hour or to donate. Email: Some of our projects include: Serving food to the needy at Glide SF, helping building condos at Habitat for Humanity in Daly City , and attempting to restart a free legal clinic for the needy. If you have experience with legal clinics, please contact Kellan if you'd be willing to give advice.  

  • 20 Oct 2011 9:43 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Call for MBC representative to 

    BASF and MBC Co-Chairs 




    Attention!   The Minority Bar Coalition ("MBC") is seeking applications for an active member of the minority bar community to serve as the representative of the Minority Bar Coalition on the board of the Bar Association of San Francisco ("BASF")! 


    The MBC Representative serves a two-year term on the BASF Board and holds all the rights and responsibilities of all other BASF Board members.  The MBC Representative is expected to also attend quarterly MBC meetings and serves as one of two liaisons between the BASF Board and the MBC. Prior involvement with MBC a plus. 


    Applicants must be current BASF members.


    Please provide the following information or an updated copy of your CV or resume:

    1 name 

    2 firm company or organization 

    3) address 

    4) phone number 

    5) email address 

    6) website and 

    7) number of years of practice.


    Please also provide a brief statement that includes:

    1) a description of your involvement with the minority bar community and your leadership experience bringing the various minority bars together;

    2) a description of the involvement you have had with BASF; and

    3) an explanation of why you would like to serve as the MBC's representative on the BASF board.


    Applications are due to MBC Co-Chair Vid Prabhakaran at by 5 p.m. on October 31, 2011.



    MBC Co-chair


    The Minority Bar Coalition (MBC) is a coalition of Minority Bar associations of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, comprising of nearly 30 organizations. Co-Chairs are responsible for MBC's activities, which include regular meetings for the coalition, receptions, panel discussions, the annual Unity Reception, co-sponsoring events, maintaining the BASF MBC calendar, and distributing information regarding the activities of the member Bar associations and other events of interest. The current Co-Chairs are Vidhya Prabhakaran, Yuval Miller, Micael Estremera, and Ann N. Nguyen. The two MBC Representatives who sit on the board of the Bar Association of San Francisco are Quyen Ta and David Tsai.


    If you are interested in becoming a Co-Chair, please e-mail a short (1 page or less) personal statement (which includes information on why you would like to be a Co-Chair, your past participation with minority bar associations, What ideas you have for MBC, and what you can bring to MBC) and a resume to MBC Co-Chair Ann N. Nguyen at by 5 p.m. on October 31, 2011. Please input "MBC Co-Chair Application" on the subject line.

  • 20 Oct 2011 9:42 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    California Lawyer seeks nominations 

    for CLAY Awards 


    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
  • 20 Oct 2011 9:35 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)



    Jay Creighton: After 17 years of practice as an estate planning, trust, and probate attorney in San Mateo County , Jay Creighton recently opened an office in San Francisco (while still maintaining a smaller office in the City of San Mateo ). Also, he is now an Adjunct Professor at UC Hastings College of the Law -- his alma mater.  This semester, Jay is teaching Wills & Trusts to a class of 55 students.


    Irma Cordova Perez: Irma Cordova Perez has joined MontyWhite LLP in San Rafael . She will continue with her bilingual immigration practice. Irma's addition brings the firm to 50% LBGT attorneys.

  • 07 Oct 2011 4:09 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The National LGBT Bar Association is accepting statements of interest from individuals who wish to join the Board of Directors as an At-Large Member or as an American Bar Association Delegate. Statements of interest and a questionnaire must be submitted to by 5:00pm EDT on October 3, 2011.
    The National LGBT Bar Association Seeks Candidates for its Board of Directors including American Bar Association Delegates

    The National LGBT Bar Association is an association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, advocates, and affiliated LGBT legal and law student organizations. The mission of the LGBT Bar is to promote justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity. Similar to other professional associations, the Association provides networking and educational opportunities for its members and supporters. The Association annually appoints the board of its sister organization, the National LGBT Bar Foundation, the entity that sponsors the annual Lavender Law Career Fair and Continuing Legal Education Conference. The Association works within a network of 27 LGBT voluntary bar associations from regions, states and municipalities across the nation, and dozens of LGBT law student associations.
    The Association is an official affiliate of the American Bar Association ( ABA ), and as such holds a seat in the ABA House of Delegates. In addition, the Association liaises in an official capacity with many key sections within the ABA , including three seats in the Young Lawyers Division, a seat within the Law Student Division and positions on the Coordinating Committee on HIV/AIDS, the Commission on Women in the Profession and others.
    The business and corporate powers of the National LGBT Bar Association are exercised by, or under the authority of, the Board of Directors. The Board is the highest governing authority of the LGBT Bar. In addition, the National LGBT Bar Association Board of Directors appoints members to the National LGBT Bar Foundation Board on an annual basis.
    The ABA Delegate to the House of Delegates is a voting member of the Board of Directors and a member of the Executive Committee.  The remaining ABA positions are non-voting members of the Board of Directors of the National LGBT Bar Association.
    ABA Delegate Opening Positions:

    • Delegate to the House of Delegates: LGBT Bar Board Member and Executive Committee Member. Management and oversight of all the LGBT Bar Delegates; represents the LGBT Bar to the House of Delegates and executes its vote.  Oversees sponsorship opportunities between the LGBT Bar and ABA ; helps develop joint programs including CLEs for ABA meetings and Lavender Law.
    • Council to the Young Lawyers Division National Representative to the LGBT Bar: Represents the LGBT Bar to the YLD Council and executes its vote in coordination with the Delegates to the Assembly of ABA's YLD. Supports sponsorship opportunities and helps develop joint programs.
    • Delegate to the Young Lawyers Division Assembly (2): Represents the LGBT Bar to the YLD and executes its vote in coordination with the Delegate to the YLD Council. Supports sponsorship opportunities and helps develop joint programs.
    • Representative to the ABA 's AIDS Coordinating Committee: Represents the LGBT Bar to the Committee and executes its vote. Supports sponsorship opportunities and helps develop joint programs.
    • Delegate to the Commission on Women in the Profession: Represents the LGBT Bar to the Commission and executes its vote. Supports sponsorship opportunities and helps develop joint programs. Submits a nominee each year for the Margaret Brentwood Award.

    Sample Duties

    • Participate, and possibly chair, various committees focused on specific aspects of the LGBT Bar's Strategic Plan.
    • Establishing the basic policies of the LGBT Bar and reviewing any proposed changes.
    • Shaping, approving and monitoring the strategy and planning of the organization.
    • Personal financial support of the LGBT Bar is expected of board members. That support includes giving personal time and money. Board members also help develop donors, members, and supporters. Further, some board members may lead fundraising efforts within the Development Committee. However, all board members are ambassadors and are expected to attend and support events and help maintain accountability to donors and sponsors.
    • Enhancing the reputation of the organization, including promoting positive working relationships and communications with members and member societies.
    • Assessing and improving the Board's own effectiveness.
    • Candidates with specific background or experience in finance and/or development is beneficial but not necessary.
    • The ideal candidate will have prior experience serving on boards of directors and will be able to devote up to three hours per week to participate in LGBT Bar board conference calls and related work.
    About the Nominations Committee:
    The Nominations Committee is charged with the task of collecting and evaluating nominations for the Board of Directors. The committee proposes a slate of candidates to the Board in accordance with the procedures specified by the Bylaws, following a formal and rigorous review process which may include personal interviews conducted by committee members.
    The Nominations Committee will consider the experience and skills of individuals while assessing the overall balance and performance of the Board and its individual members, vis-à-vis succession plans for officers to maintain strong leadership on the Board.
    The National LGBT Bar is extremely committed to diversity on its Board of Directors. Factors such as race, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and one's professional area (such as whether an individual works in private practice, for a government agency, as in-house counsel or for a non-profit organization) may be considered.
    Nominations Process and Timeline:
    Individuals must be members in good standing of the National LGBT Bar Association in order to be considered for the position.
    October 3, 2011: Deadline for interested individuals to submit statements of interest based upon the questions provided. Statements should include the individual's contact information, their history with nonprofit boards, and their interest in serving the members of the Association.
    Statements of interest and the questionnaire must be submitted to by 5:00pm EDT on October 3, 2011.
    October 4, 2011: The Nominations Committee compiles and submits a list of candidates to the Association Board of Directors for review.
    October 14, 2011: Over the following weeks, the Nominations Committee assigns individual Board Members to conduct phone interviews with the candidates.
    November 4, 2011: The Nominations Committee selects a slate of candidates for final recommendation to the Board of Directors.
    November 11, 2011: The Board of Directors votes to approve or reject the candidate recommended by the Nominations Committee.
    Each Board Member is elected by the LGBT Bar Board of Directors for a two-year term which will begin in February 2012.  ABA Delegate positions are for 1 year terms beginning in August 2012 in conjunction with the ABA 's Annual Meeting.
    The organization's bylaws require that all Directors provide a financial contribution to the organization.  Acceptable forms of contributions include, but are not limited to, personal donations, in-kind gifts, or securing significant sponsorships.
    The Board usually has five meetings a year, including three in person meetings.  The meetings usually last half a day in length and are held in major cities in conjunction with the ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings, with at least one meeting at the LGBT Bar's Lavender Law® Conference & Career Fair. The remaining two meetings are held by telephone.
    All Board Members are encouraged to attend LGBT Bar programs and meetings where applicable, and act as "good will" ambassadors for the organization by interacting in a positive way with employers, other legal professionals and the public.
    As time permits, Board Members are also encouraged to participate with local LGBT voluntary bar association in their activities. Board Members are covered by a Code of Conduct, must disclose any conflicts of interest and are subject to a background check by the General Counsel. Board members are covered by D&O insurance in the amount of $1 million and by indemnification to the maximum extent allowed by law.
    Additional information about the LGBT Bar and its sister corporation, may be found at:

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