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  • 06 Oct 2015 9:56 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal is the only legal aid office in the entire zip code, and they are doing something that's never been done before -- attempting to offer universal access to civil representation for everyone who lives in the zip code, regardless of issue. Currently, they only have two full-time attorneys on staff.  They were just selected by Google as one of the "10 most innovative nonprofits in the Bay Area". Google will be giving a half-million dollar grant to four of the ten organizations -- the four who get the most votes. You can vote for Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal here. 

  • 18 Aug 2015 3:52 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC) is pleased to announce the 2015 Bar Study Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded by the KABANC Foundation at KABANC's upcoming 2015 Annual Gala, and is open to all graduating law students or recent grads in Northern California who are planning to take the California State Bar examination in July of 2015, or February or July of 2016. Selection factors include academic achievement/work experience, demonstrated leadership and commitment to community service, particularly to the Korean and Korean American community and other diverse communities, and financial need. The deadline has been extended to August 24th. Please contact Liz Kim , KABANC Scholarship Committee Chair, with any questions.


  • 30 Jul 2015 9:05 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Law students, have you demonstrated a commitment to the Asian Pacific American and LGBT communities?  BALIF and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) are partnering to offer a $3,000 joint scholarship to deserving APA/LGBT students.  Learn more and apply by September 09, 2015.

    Click here to apply!

  • 28 Jul 2015 9:38 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    It's that time of the year again! BALIF's Connections mentorship program is seeking mentors and mentees for 2015-2016. For more information, see the program guidelines and description on the BALIF website. If you are a law student, recent law school graduate, or newer attorney seeking a mentor, or if you are an experienced attorney interested in serving as a mentor, please contact the Young Lawyers and Students Programs Committee, Mentor/mentee pairs will be assigned on a rolling basis from July-September.

  • 21 Jul 2015 9:34 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The Lavender Law Conference is just around the corner! This year, the annual conference hosted by the National LGBT Bar Association is in Chicago from August 4-7. We hope some of you have booked your trip!

    BALIF has raised a limited amount of funds for BALIF Student Members who are attending the Lavender Law Conference this year. We apologize for the late notice, but late is better than never! If you are attending the conference and would like to apply for a limited amount of reimbursement for your travels, please notify us by Friday, August 14 and include the following documents:

    • Your registration receipt for the Lavender Law Conference
    • Receipts for flights to and/or lodging in Chicago
    • A copy of your BALIF membership card

    To be eligible for reimbursement, you must be a current Northern California law student and a current BALIF member. The amount available for reimbursement depends on how many applicants send us their information. No late applications will be accepted.

    Please send all the required documents in .doc or .pdf format by Friday, August 14 to If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us with any questions.

    See you in Chicago!

    2015-16 BALIF Student Board Members

    Alex Lemberg

    Sam Potts

    Joe Deignan


  • 14 Jun 2015 2:44 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    June 12, 2015 – San Francisco – Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) filed an amicus curiae brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Norsworthy v. Beard. Ms. Norsworthy is a transgender woman held in a California men’s prison. The district court concluded that the denial of necessary medical care to Ms. Norsworthy violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It issued a preliminary injunction requiring the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to provide Ms. Norsworthy with adequate medical care, including sex reassignment surgery. CDCR appealed the preliminary injunction to the Ninth Circuit.

    BALIF’s brief in support of Ms. Norsworthy argues that when sex-reassignment surgery – or any medical treatment required for a serious medical need – has been identified as medically necessary for a prisoner, CDCR must provide it. There is no authority for a blanket denial of a particular procedure due to anticipated security and administrative issues. The brief explains that state and local detention systems throughout the country, including CDCR, have developed policies and procedures that ensure the health and safety of transgender prisoners while effectively balancing security and administrative issues. CDCR’s asserted security issues ignore important aspects of California’s prison system and are entirely manageable with respect to Ms. Norsworthy. Constitutional and other federal law require that CDCR take steps to ensure both the health and safety of a transgender prisoner like Ms. Norsworthy, as the district court correctly held. 

    “CDCR cannot hide behind its asserted security and administrative concerns to avoid its constitutional duty to provide medically necessary care to all prisoners, including Ms. Norsworthy,” said Julie Wilensky, chair of BALIF’s Amicus Committee.

    BALIF’s brief was filed by pro bono amicus counsel Rosen,  Bien,  Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, whose team includes attorneys Aaron J. Fischer and Sanford Rosen, summer associate Abbye Klamann, and paralegal clerk Charlotte Landes. 


    BALIF is the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the field of law. 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. 

    Click here to read the brief.

  • 20 Apr 2015 11:11 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Please join me in

    congratulating the newly elected members of the 2015-2016 BALIF Board of Directors:

    Jessica Bogo

    Mario Choi

    Joseph Deignan

    Jamie Dupree

    Daniel Faessler

    Alex Lemberg

    Shauna Madison

    Jennifer Orthwein

    Sam Potts 

    Linsey Rosellini

    David Sims

    John Unruh

    Julie Wilensky

    Thank you to all candidates this year.  It was a very competitive race!  Thanks to all the members that voted online or at our meeting.

  • 07 Mar 2015 1:09 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    MARCH 6 – San Francisco – Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) filed an amicus curiae brief yesterday in the United States Supreme Court in the consolidated cases Obergefell v. Hodges , Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v. Beshear, in support of the Petitioners’ positions that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a same-sex marriage lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. BALIF’s brief argues that it is the duty of the courts to decide the equal protection challenge, that the marriage bans are unconstitutional applying even the most deferential rational basis review, and that the bans inflict profound legal, economic, and emotional harm on same-sex couples and their children.

    “Contrary to the Sixth Circuit’s holding, it is the role of the judiciary to evaluate the constitutionality of state provisions and not to defer the question to the state voters and legislators who enacted them,” said Leah Nutting, BALIF’s Amicus Committee chair. “Fundamental rights such as the right to marry cannot be denied by majority vote. The institution of marriage is too special and the harms caused by the bans are too costly to just ‘wait and see’ for the democratic process to recognize that right.”

    Thirty bar associations and legal organizations from around the nation joined BALIF in signing the brief. The coalition of amici includes state, metropolitan, local, and minority bar associations and local non-profit organizations. The brief was filed with pro bono support from Jerome C. Roth and Amelia L. B. Sargent of the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson.


    BALIF is the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the field of law. 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.

    Click here to read the amicus curiae brief.

    Click here to view the press release.

  • 03 Feb 2015 4:43 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and the Bay Area Latino Lawyers Fund is proud to partner together to offer a $5,000 Public Interest Law Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to provide financial assistance to law students working with Bay Area community-based legal service providers to improve legal access for the LGBT population, especially in the Latino community.
    We encourage all law students who are in good academic standing and meet the fellowship guidelines to apply. The original February 16, 2015 deadline has been extended to March 2, 2015.

    Download the application here.

    Candidate interviews will take place the week of March 9, 2015 and the awardee will be recognized at the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association’s Annual Noche de Gala at the InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco on March 19, 2015.

  • 16 Sep 2014 9:18 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    This past weekend, BALIF sent a delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations’ (CCBA) annual conference of delegates in San Diego.  One of the core missions of the CCBA is to help the resolutions approved by the Conference become law.  Resolutions proposed by bar associations are voted on at the conference, and if approved, are eligible for inclusion in the CCBA legislative agenda.  CCBA has become a respected body in Sacramento, with numerous CCBA-sponsored bills enacted each year.  In recent years, BALIF has been the only LGBT bar association to propose resolutions and participate at CCBA.

    This year, BALIF proposed a resolution that would require state, local and private correctional facilities to create a safe environment free from sexual abuse for inmates or detainees by adopting policies implementing the U.S. Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).  These standards, widely seen as groundbreaking by corrections professionals, advocates, and survivors of sexual abuse in detention, lay out a comprehensive framework for ending abuse in adult jails and prisons, lockups, community confinement facilities, and juvenile facilities.  LGBT prisoners are significantly more likely to experience assaults, including sexual assaults, than non-LGBT prisoners. This problem is particularly severe for transgender people. Also, as a means to procure safety, some facilities have designated involuntary LGBT specific units, which limit programming in some circumstances to those housed in these units, as well as designates their placement solely based on their LGBT status.  Furthermore, these units, in some circumstances, have become a cesspool for discrimination and harassment by guards and other inmates.  If enacted, the resolution would ensure federal guidelines to protect prisoners from attacks from guards and other prisoners are followed.  It would also establish protections so that prisoners subject to violence will not be subject to punitive measures such as segregation.

    The BALIF-sponsored resolution was approved by CCBA, making it eligible for inclusion on CCBA’s legislative agenda!  More work is still to be done, however, and we can use your help in Sacramento to lobby for this proposal in February.  If you are interested in joining the CCBA Committee to help lobby or to propose resolutions for next year’s Conference, please email

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