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  • 09 Jun 2020 1:28 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Dear BALIF Member:

    If you walk outside, turn on the news, or access social media, you are aware that we are in the midst of an unprecedented moment in history.  The protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd have galvanized wide swaths of the country to coalesce against systemic racism, police brutality, and abuse of force.  Along with putting out a Call to Action and condemning police brutality, the Board is planning concrete actions to address these issues from within.  To that end BALIF has voted to make a monetary donation of $1,800 distributed to Black Lives Matter, the Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), and Flying Over Walls/SF Chapter Black & Pink.  Several of our Board Members have also made individual donations to these and other organizations.  We encourage those of you who can to do the same.  Below you will find a list of suggested organizations in addition to the recipients of BALIF’s donation.

    BALIF is planning a forum for our members to address the ways in which we can support Black and African American communities and to take action towards our stated commitments in our Call to Action.  We are also exploring avenues to train BALIF members to provide legal defense to those arrested during protests and serve as legal observers.  Please be on the lookout for more information about these opportunities.  

    BALIF has also organized a remote/telephone pro bono clinic in partnership with the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center on June 13, 2020 from 11 am to 4 pm.  Please let your clients, contacts, and general members of the community know about the clinic.  Members of the community can register by going to, calling 510-882-2286, or e-mailing  The areas of law to be counseled on include: Family, Immigration, Employment, Healthcare, Trust & Estates law; Name/Gender Marker Change, Military Discharge Upgrade; and VA Benefits and Unemployment Benefits.

    On behalf of the Board,

    Daniel H. Galindo
    Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer
    Conference of California Bar Associations Committee Chair

    Anti Police-Terror Project: 

    Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee Bail Fund:

    Black Lives Matter: 

    Black Organizing Project:

    Families United for Justice: 

    Flying Over Walls/SF Chapter Black & Pink:

    Justice Teams Network: 

    Law Enforcement Accountability Network: 

    National Lawyers Guild - San Francisco: 

    Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project: 

    Youth Justice Coalition in LA: 

    Young Women’s Freedom Center: 

  • 09 Jun 2020 1:03 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Do you want to get more involved in BALIF? Have a say in how BALIF is run and join the Board of Directors! 

    BALIF's bylaws require gender parity on the Board, with an equal number of positions allocated to Directors who identify as male, female, and transgender/gender non-conforming/gender-variant (TGNC). One board position remains open under the TGNC category, but the Board has the authority to appoint a member of any gender. 

    If you are interested in being considered for this opening, please email a brief candidate statement (up to 250 words) to no later than Monday June 29 at 5:00pm. Please explain your relationship to BALIF and/or why you are interested in joining the BALIF Board.

    BALIF seeks a Board that reflects the diversity of our LGBTQI legal community, and we thank all BALIF members for their continued support of BALIF. Please email BALIF's Administrator, Katie Carlson, at with any questions you may have. 

  • 30 May 2020 2:49 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) Board of Directors is deeply disturbed and saddened by the events that have unfolded across the country in the last couple of weeks.  These events have reemphasized our country's history of violence against Black and African-American communities.  We condemn the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the harassment of Christian Cooper, and the police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade and the unacceptable countless other similar tragedies.  Enough is enough.

    BALIF condemns the deep injustice and pain this violence has inflicted on the families of those lost and the community at large.  This violence affects all of us.  BALIF must stand with the various Black and African-American communities during these painful times and always against police misconduct, bias, discrimination, and harassment on the basis of race, whether actual or perceived.  BALIF is a community of LGBTQI+ legal professionals that envisions a world where LGBTQI+ people live with dignity and equality under the law.  BALIF's mission is to lead our LGBTQI+ legal community through advocacy, justice, community empowerment, and professional development.  BALIF is committed to advancing the interests of all marginalized, underrepresented, and underserved communities through our power as an organization of attorneys.  We know we cannot fully realize our mission without advocating against the daily violence facing our Black and African-American community members.  While the State of Georgia and the Hennepin County Attorneys General have brought formal charges against those involved in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, justice has been unduly delayed for them and others.  We call for justice to be served, equally and fairly, and for these extrajudicial killings to end now.  BALIF has joined many other LGBT organizations in a letter committing to combating racial violence.  You can read the letter here.

    We call on our members to similarly oppose the over-policing of and violence towards Black, African-American, and POC communities by calling for police accountability, oversight, and the fair administration of the judicial process to ensure justice is served.  As members of the LGBTQI+ legal community we have a distinct role to play in the fight for equality.  As members of the LGBTQI+ community, we occupy intersecting identities stemming from our gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), physical and/or mental disability, and other characteristics.  And with this intersectionality, we have a special duty to not only fight for equality for ourselves, but for others within our community, our allies, and other marginalized communities who bear dual consciousness of their LGBTQI+ identity and race, and thus are doubly victims of bias and discrimination.  We must extend the political power some of us have achieved to those marginalized, underrepresented, and underserved communities that still suffer, for none of us shall find true liberation until all of us can live our lives with dignity and the equal protection of the justice system. 

    We cannot stand by as another Black, African-American or other person of color is murdered for going on a jog, bird watching, or encountering the police.  As Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissent in Utah v. Strieff

    We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are 'isolated.'  They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere.

    In solidarity, we invoke our members to take action in the way they individually find meaningful and possible to advance the issue.  We also invite our members to read Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual, created by the ACLU and designed to provide context, tools, and avenues to take action

    Lastly, we would like to encourage our members to continue providing feedback to the Board by emailing the Chairs at or and to continue bringing issues of importance to our attention.  Please reach out to each other and those in your lives who are feeling impacted by this violence.  We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those lost and wish all of you reading this message safety and good health.

    On behalf of the BALIF Board,

    Daniel H. Galindo, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer

    Conference of California Bar Associations Committee Co-Chair

  • 20 May 2020 4:15 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The BALIF Foundation has awarded the 2020 Summer Fellowship to Nahlee Lin is a rising 1L at UC Berkeley School of Law.  Over the summer, Nahlee will be interning at Oasis Legal Services, a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive legal immigration services to low-income, LGBTQIA+ clients.   At Oasis, Nahlee’s internship will be focused on assisting LGBTQIA+ immigrants in applying for asylum and supporting these clients through the asylum process from beginning to end. Oasis serves hundreds of LGBTQIA+ asylum applicants annually with a success rate of 99%. 

    Congratulations to Nahlee Lin! 

  • 21 Apr 2020 4:13 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    • Thank you to those of you who were able to attend our 40th Anniversary Gala: Over the Rainbow on March 6, 2020.  We were grateful our event was able to move forward, as the restrictions around COVID-19 canceled and postponed events like ours soon thereafter.  Our gala brought over 500 of us together and allowed us to celebrate 40 amazing years as an organization.  Thanks to our sponsors and individual ticket purchases, we raised over $200,000 with 85 sponsors, over a fifth of whom were brand new supporters of the BALIF gala.  Check out the photos here or on our Facebook page. We hope you had a blast, and we look forward to seeing you again soon! 

      Congratulations again to our awardees:

    •  Oasis Legal Services (2020 Legal Services Award) Oasis Legal Services is a leading legal services provider for LGBTQ immigrants on the West Coast, serving hundreds of asylum seekers every year. Through holistic representation Oasis empowers our clients to ensure those fleeing persecution are protected from deportation so they can live safely and love freely. 
    • Openhouse (2020 Community Service Award)  For over 20 years, Openhouse has enabled San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ seniors to overcome the unique challenges they face as they age by providing housing, direct services and community programs. Right now, they’re partnering with Mon Ami to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to address food insecurity and social isolation.  If you would like to volunteer your time, you can find more information here.

    •  BALIF Founders (2020 Trailblazers Award) See the founders’ video here.

    Don’t be a stranger!

    The BALIF Gala is often the one time of year we can count on seeing old and new faces, whether members or not, in celebration of our wonderful organization and all the good we do for the LGBTQI legal community.  We hope you will stay connected and engaged with us!  We’ve just elected our 2020-2021 Board, and are so proud of our 2019-2020 Board and how much we have accomplished in a year!  We want to hear from you about how we can best support and serve our members through the coming months. Hope to see you at the next (virtual) happy hour

    Amanda Hamilton & Mark Fickes
    2020 Gala Committee Co-Chairs

  • 25 Feb 2020 10:17 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Thinking about running for the BALIF board, or know someone who should run? BALIF seeks a board that reflects the diversity of our LGBTQI legal community, and we especially encourage people of color, women, transgender people, and non-binary/gender non-conforming people to run for the Board. BALIF's Directors are elected by the BALIF membership, and each Director holds office for two years. Any BALIF member is welcome to run for the Board or nominate another BALIF member. Serving on the BALIF board is a great way to serve the LGBTQI legal community by developing the programming and events that support BALIF’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession on behalf of all LGBTQI people.

    How To Run
    To run for the Board or nominate someone else, please send a candidate statement of up to 250 words to our secretary ( and BALIF's Administrator, Katie Carlson ( by April 2, 2020 at 5:30 pm. BALIF's bylaws require gender parity on the Board, with an equal number of positions allocated to Directors who identify as male, female, and trans/gender non-conforming. The following seats are open in this election: 3 trans/gender non-conforming seats; 2 male seats; 1 female seat; and 3 law student representative seats. Please indicate in your statement whether you are running for the male, female, or trans/gender non-conforming seats.

    Board Member Expectations

    The board retreat is currently set for May 2 and May 3, 2020, subject to change based on shelter-in-place requirements. All board members must attend the retreat. Board members are generally expected to attend monthly board meetings. We are a working board, and therefore it is expected that Directors actively support BALIF by organizing programs, attending events, participating in our mentoring program, and through other means. Board members generally find service on the board to be very rewarding, and the time commitment manageable.

    Due to COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place order, elections will be held solely online. After the deadline for candidate statements closes, BALIF will announce the names of the candidates and will circulate instructions on how to vote online. 

    Thinking about seeking a position? Know someone who would make a fabulous addition to the Board? Want to learn more about BALIF and what's involved in being on the Board? Please contact Katie at

  • 14 Jan 2020 11:26 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF Foundation to seek nominations for the First Annual Julius Turman Award. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of BALIF's founding, and we're spending that year celebrating and reflecting on four decades of work organizing LGBTQI lawyers in the Bay Area to advocate for a more just world. As a way of recognizing and supporting emerging leaders in our community, the BALIF Foundation has established an annual award intended for Law Student Advocates.

    The Julius Turman Award will be granted by the BALIF Foundation to one law student each year who has shown outstanding commitment to advocacy for LGBTQ individuals, especially for the more marginalized communities of color and trans individuals. The recipient must be currently a member of BALIF, enrolled at a Bay Area Law School, identify somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and must be available to receive the award at the BALIF Gala on March 6, 2020. The awardee will receive a stipend of up to $1,500 to be used in support of attending Lavender Law or another appropriate conference or purpose (as identified by the award recipient and award committee). BALIF is working on and may be able to offer additional benefits at the Lavender Law Conference as part of the Julius Turman Award.

    As a BALIF member, we hope you'll take this opportunity to lift up the voices of emerging leaders in our community by submitting a nomination. To submit a nomination of yourself, or someone in your community, please complete the nomination form hereNominations must be received by Friday, January 31, 2020 to be considered. Finalists for the award will be invited to participate in an interview in early February.

    If you have any other questions about the Julius Turman Award, please feel free to write direction to the

  • 05 Nov 2019 6:38 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    We hope you enjoyed our Halloween Fundraiser that benefited the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA).   BALIF partnered with the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) to throw an unforgettable party where we were able to raise over $8,500 for GAPA!  GAPA envisions a powerful Queer Trans Asian and Pacific Islander community that is seen, heard, and celebrated. We work to unite our families and allies through inclusion, advocacy, and love. Learn more about GAPA here. Thank you to all those who supported and were able to join us last week!

  • 22 Oct 2019 6:43 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    This year's BALIF delegation to the Conference of CA Bar Associations (CCBA) is returning home with several wins and inching closer to passing a resolution to establish the Homeless Bill of Rights.  Please join me in thanking the delegates who lobbied hard for these resolutions and donated their time and resources to represent BALIF at this state-wide conference:  Jen Orthwein, Felicia Medina, Annick Persinger, Michael Wolchansky, Stephan Ferris, and Ari Jones.  

    The CCBA Committee would also like to thank past delegate, Meaghan Zore for a resolution she authored that went on to become AB 1793 and signed into law in 2018.  This law requires the CA Dept. of Justice to affirmatively identify past convictions for cannabis-related offenses that are eligible for recall, dismissal, or redesignation pursuant to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.  Signed into law in the 2019 cycle, BALIF supported SB 495, which prohibits considering a parent's  sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in determining the best interest of the child in custody proceedings.

    Each bar association delegate is eligible to vote on every resolution, which means the larger our delegation, the more BALIF members' voices are represented. We hope to have more participants at next year's September 2020 Conference in San Diego.  If you'd like to attend or would like to draft a resolution, email for more information.


    1. Changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day 

    2. Banning oxybenzone and octinoxate in sunscreen

    3. Making Election Day a paid holiday in California;

    4. Extending the statute of limitations for all claimants of death and personal injury tort claims against government entities to one year to file the government tort claim (from the currency 6 months) and a full 2 years from rejection notice to file a civil suit in state court. (Re: incarcerated individuals)

    1. Homeless Bill of Rights (5 votes short)
    2. Affirmative defense of consent for assault and battery. See BDSM community (4 votes short)

    1. Decriminalization of sex work

    1. gender-neutral language in the evidence code;
    2. adding transgender as a protected status under the Fair Employment & Housing Act;
    3. requiring hospitals to provide patients with the estimated cost of anticipated services;
    4. allowing transgender employees access to workplace lactation/wellness rooms for post-surgical care; and
    5. banning plastic bags for newspapers.

    Approved resolutions will now be proposed to legislators to be introduced as bills in the 2020 legislative cycle.

  • 20 Aug 2019 12:53 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF's New Lawyers Committee is accepting applications for both Mentors and Mentees for the 2019-2020 year! BALIF's incredibly successful mentorship program is back and we're hoping to recruit eager law students, post-bar graduates and new lawyers to receive mentorship from experienced attorneys from a wide array of legal backgrounds and life experiences. As any lawyer will tell you, mentoring is an integral part to any professional's success in their career. If you are interested in applying for either a mentee or mentor position, please follow the links to the appropriate application (all responses are confidential).  Pairings will be released close to the end of September, with the annual BALIF Mentor/Mentee Happy Hour to take place in early October. Please check your email for updates. If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out to Stephan Ferris at

    Click here for the Mentee Application.

    Click here for the Mentor Application.

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P.O. Box 193383 San Francisco, CA 94119