Weekly Newsletter        |        February 3, 2015
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 



It's been a while since we last updated you on what the Judiciary Committee has been working on.


For the first time, we are weighing in on the Northern District of California Magistrate Judge selection process. We currently have only one out LGBT person on the N.D. Cal. bench - Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu - but there is an opening for another. During the application period last fall, we got the word out and successfully had some of our members apply. The selection process is well under way and BALIF's Judiciary Committee will be vetting and hopefully endorsing one or more LGBT candidates for the position. We are hoping to make the LGBT bar's voice heard and count! Not only are we hoping to see more openly LGBT magistrate judges soon, we want to see an out Article III judge on the N.D. Cal. bench as well. It's simply unacceptable that there isn't a single openly LGBT Article III judge on a bench based in the Bay Area.


At the state level, the BALIF Judiciary Committee is working in coalition with its sister organizations in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and Sacramento to advocate for more LGBT judges - including pushing for the first openly LGBT California Supreme Court Justice. There are no, and have never been, any out LGBT justices on the California Supreme Court. The numbers don't look much better the level below either. Throughout California, we have only two openly LGBT justices on the California Courts of Appeal, both of whom are in the First District here in the Bay Area. There are six openings at the appellate level (five in the Second District and one in the Third District), and that's a great opportunity to finally have openly LGBT appellate justices in the Southern and Eastern parts of our state. We met with the Governor's office last fall and will continue to periodically meet to advocate for more LGBT people on the bench.


At our local state trial courts, there are currently four openings for judicial appointments in San Francisco County, four in Alameda County; and one each in the following counties: Marin; Contra Costa; San Mateo; and Santa Clara. We NEED to have LGBT people apply for these!


And coming this Spring, the Judiciary Committee will begin releasing a multi-part article updating our members and our peers in the legal profession on the status of LGBT representation on the bench, including in the Bay Area, throughout California, and nationally. We have reached out to other LGBT law organizations in California as well as various major metropolitan cities throughout the United States to establish ties to collect data, share intelligence, and collaborate on our efforts regarding judicial appointments. Along similar lines, the Judiciary Committee also recently established an LGBT Law Professors Council, who will provide academic counsel on judiciary pipeline and diversity issues. They will join our LGBT Judges Council and Senior Attorneys Council in providing guidance to our mission of diversifying the bench with more LGBT judges.


It's an exciting year for our committee. We are seeking enthusiastic, dedicated individuals to help us in our efforts. Please contact us for more information.



Andrew Vu

BALIF Board Judiciary Co-Chair

BALIF Networking Mixer & Happy Hour

When: Thursday, February 5, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Where: Tribune Tavern, (401 13th Street), Oakland CA


What: An opportunity for you to mix with your fellow legal professionals and judges, and make a few new connections. There will be drinks and light appetizers provided. 


Click to view flyer!

BALIF Partner Exchange Luncheon
Wednesday February 11, 2015 &
Save the Date for March Too!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Time:  12:30 pm to 2:00 pm

Where: San Francisco City Club (155 Sansome, 10th Floor)

What: Gourmet buffet lunch with other partners and firm owners

Cost: $40 payable by cash or check only


BALIF has created the BALIF Partner Exchange to bring together our members that are looking to network and exchange business and ideas.  This event is exclusively for BALIF members who are partners or owners of their firm with 7 years or more of experience. 


Space is limited so only the first 11 to RSVP to jdupree@fddcm.com may attend. 


RSVPs being accepted for February 11, 2015 only.   

$6000 BALIF - SF La Raza Fellowship
Apply by February 16, 2015

BALIF is proud to partner with San Francisco La Raza through the 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 Latino LGBT population.

We encourage all law students who are in good academic standing and meet the fellowship guidelines to apply.  The deadline is February 16, 2015.

Download the application here.

The BALIF Gala: Celebrating 35 Years!
March 13, 2015, 7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Terra Gallery & Event Venue



Join BALIF as we celebrate 35 years! Come celebrate the amazing progress our community has made over the past year. Better yet, be a sponsor! BALIF 2015 sponsors get complimentary tickets to the Gala as well as many other benefits.


Contact Mario Choi at gala@balif.org or go to the BALIF website at www.balif.org for sponsorship information or to buy tickets!


BALIF thanks this week's incoming 2015 BALIF Sponsors:


Counsel Level:

Hanson Bridgett LLP

Keker & Van Nest LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Weaver Austin Villeneuve & Sampson LLP


Advocate Level:


Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Latham & Watkins LLP

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Perkins Coie LLP

Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

Union Bank


Benefactor Level:

Clarence Dyer & Cohn LLP/Swanson & McNamara LLP

Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Golden Gate University


Reed Smith LLP

San Francisco City Attorney's Office


Individual Sponsorship:

Dave Arellano, Altep, Inc.

David Helbraun, Helbraun Law Firm

C. Todd Norris, Bullivant Houser Bailey P.C.

Join the BALIF Board of Directors-
BALIF Board 2015 Elections

A great way to serve the LGBT legal community and become more involved in BALIF is to join BALIF's Board of Directors. 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. BALIF's bylaws reflect the Board's commitment to "equality, parity, and diversity," and we specifically encourage people of color, women, and transgender and/or gender non-conforming individuals to run for the Board. All Directors must attend BALIF's Board Retreat the weekend of April 25, 2015 


To run for the Board or nominate someone else, please send a candidate statement of up to 250 words to Pete Catalanotti (secretary@balif.org) and BALIF's Administrator, Katie Carlson (balif@balif.org) by March 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm. BALIF's bylaws require gender parity on the Board, with a certain number of positions allocated to Directors who identify as male, female, and gender non-conforming. So if you are seeking a position, please indicate the category with which you identify.


Elections will be online starting on April 1, 2015 and there will be an opportunity to vote in person at BALIF's annual general membership meeting on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. The results will be announced at the end of the meeting.


Questions about the Board? Thinking about seeking a position? Feel free to contact Peter Catalanotti at secretary@balif.org 

ALRP Free 2015 MCLE Trainings


The Nuts & Bolts of Removal Defense Procedures

  • Thursday, February 12, 5:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Cara Jobson, Esq. - Wiley & Jobson
  • 1.5 General CLE Credits


  • Tuesday, February 17, 5:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Amy Harrington, Esq. - Law Offices of Amy Harrington
  • 1.5 General CLE Credits

Removal Defense Waivers and Prosecutorial Discretion: Getting the Results You Want in Immigration Court

  • Wednesday, March 11, 5:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Gene Sverdlov, Esq. - Law Offices of Gene Sverdlov
  • 1.5 General CLE Credits

Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession: Prevention, Detection, and Treatment

  • Thursday, March 26, 5:30-7:30pm
  • Presented by David Mann - Northern California Consultant to The Other Bar
  • 1.5 Substance Abuse CLE Credits

All Classes take place at:

Bar Association of San Francisco

301 Battery Street, 3rd Floor, Board Room

San Francisco, CA 94111





Call: 415-701-1200 ext. 303 


Seeking Mock Trial Judges/Scorers


Interested in helping San Francisco's high school students?  The SF Mock Trial program is seeking judges/scorers for the SF Mock Trial Competition this month.  Volunteers may volunteer for just one round or more, with upcoming tournament rounds on Feb. 5, 10, and 17 (all 5:30pm - 9pm at the SF Superior Court).  Volunteers will score high school students on their performance during the mock trials using an existing rubric.  If interested, contact Jareem Gunter at jgunter@sfbar.org.  For more information on SF Mock Trial, check out this video: http://vimeo.com/107871610.

California Bar Foundation
Bar Exam Scholarship


Diversity in the Public Interest - Bar Exam Scholarship. This scholarship supports bar exam expenses for law students from diverse backgrounds who plan to pursue careers in the public interest sector. The California Bar Foundation is pleased to introduce the scholarship. "Diversity" includes a broad array of backgrounds and life experiences, including students from groups or with skills or attributes that are underrepresented in the legal profession, and specifically including students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.


Deadline: Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 4:30pm

Link to application: http://www.tfaforms.com/357498

More info: http://www.calbarfoundation.org/public-interest-scholarship.html

Celebrate Marriage Equality with NCTC!

You're invited to a special benefit for New Conservatory Theatre Center!


February 14th, 1:00-4:30pm

Delancey Street Foundation Screening Room

600 Embarcadero, San Francisco


Start your Valentine's Day celebrations with an exclusive screening of The Case Against 8, the acclaimed HBO Documentary about this pivotal event in the fight for marriage equality. Key participants in the case, including Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, attorney Enrique Monagas, and plaintiffs Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo will come together for the first time in a panel discussion following the film.


Show your NCTC love and enjoy a champagne reception followed by a screening and panel discussion at the plush Delancy Street screening room, all in support of San Francisco's premier LGBT theatre.


Subscriber & Early bird (thru January 30th) Tickets: $65

Regular Tickets: $75

VIP (best seating - limited amount available) Tickets: $100


Purchase tickets here!

Pride Law Fund Gay Ski Day- Moved to March 2015

To maximize the snow in Tahoe, the Pride Law Fund Gay Ski Day at Squaw Valley Resort has been moved to March 21, 2015.  Buses will leave from SF and Walnut Creek in the morning and will return that night for a fun-filled day of snow adventures (including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and hot-chocolate drinking by the fire). 

Register for Gay Ski Day online at: http://bit.ly/1dPCCus

Proceeds benefit legal services and advocacy for the LGBT community in the Bay Area and beyond!



2015 Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship- Application 
Deadline April 10, 2015
The Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco is currently accepting applications for our 2015 Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship. Our scholarship program was established in 1998 to reaffirm a commitment to diversity in legal education and the legal profession. Scholarships are need based and are given to those from minorities that are underrepresented in Northern California or Bay Area law schools. Recipients receive up to $30,000 over three years. Applications are available online through our website: http://www.sfbar.org/jdc/diversity/educational-programs/scholarships.aspx Our application deadline is April 10, 2015.


If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact Nicole Britton-Snyder at nbrittonsnyder@sfbar.org.


Nicole Britton-Snyder, Esq.

Diversity Pipeline Programs Manager 

Justice & Diversity Center, The Bar Association of San Francisco 301 Battery Street, Third Floor 

San Francisco, CA 94111 
Tel: 415-782-8914 

nbrittonsnyder@sfbar.org | www.sfbar.org/diversity


Follow BALIF on Twitter!


BALIF's twitter feed is up and running.  Follow us to see BALIF news, event info, #ThrowbackThursday posts, and more.  Just click the Twitter button in the right hand column of the newsletter or here.


Join the BALIF Listserv!


Have a job or need one? Civil procedure question? Need a

referral? Have something important to ask ... or news to tell? Want to get to our members quickly? Join our Listserv!


BALIF members should have received our invitation to join our newly-created Listserv. You must proactively respond to the request in order to be added to our Listserv. If you didn't get a request, please let us know by emailing technology@balif.org or balif@balif.org.

We Want Your BALIFBuzz

We all love that section in our alumni newsletters that talks about who's doing what.


Well, we're introducing the BALIFBuzz to show-off all the great things that our members are doing.  BALIFBuzz will be appearing in the weekly BALIF newsletter.   


New job?

New client?


Court victory?

Significant settlement?

Baby on the way?

Recently married or engaged?

Speaking engagement?

Award, recognition, certification, or degree?  

Or anything else you're excited about...


Keep it to one or two lines.  Please send to membership@balif.org.


Can't wait to hear your great news!


Meaghan Zore 

BALIF Membership Chair


Job Postings Now on BALIF Website

All job postings can be found here!  


BALIF membership must be current to view the job postings. Simply log into the BALIF website with your membership ID and password, and select JOBS from the menu on the left.

February 5 - BALIF Networking Mixer & Happy Hour in Oakland
February 11 - BALIF February Partner Exchange Luncheon
March 13 - Save the Date! 
March 21 - PLF Gay Ski Day
BALIF Board of Directors
Jamie Dupree & John Robert Unruh
Peter Catalanotti

Mario Choi

Andrew Vu &
Lilah Sutphen 
Judiciary Co-Chairs

Nick Clements & 
Mario Choi
Gala Co-Chairs  


Meaghan Zore 

Leah Nutting
Amicus Chair     

Joseph Rocha & Midori Hirai
Katie Carlson
BALIF Administrator 
Our 2014 Sponsors
Senior Partner Level
Partner Level


HB Logo



Advocate Level


A.L. Nella & Company, CPAs 


Bingham McCutchen  

Farella Braun + Martel LLP 

Jones Day 

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. 

Nixon Peabody LLP 

O'Melveny & Meyers LLP 

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP 

Perkins Coie LLP 

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP 

Santa Clara University School of Law 

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton 

Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP 


Benefactor Level


Clarence, Dyer & Cohen LLP / Swanson & McNamara LLP 

Cooley Godward Kronish LLP 

FTI Consulting 

Futterman Dupree Dodd Croley Maier LLP 

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher 

Golden Gate University 

HaleyNelson & Heilbrun LLP 

Heath Newton LLP 

HendricksMurry, P.C. 

Jackson Lewis LLP 


Latham & Watkins LLP 

Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson, P.C. 

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP 

Littler Mendelson 

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP 

Paul Hastings LLP 

Pritzker Law 

Reed Smith LLP 

Roeca Hass Hager LLP 

San Francisco City Attorney's Office 

San Francisco District Attorney's Office 

Schiff Hardin LLP 

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP 

Special Counsel 

Stein & Lubin LLP 


Individual Sponsors


Altep, Inc.  

Todd Norris, Bullivant Houser Bailey 

Michael Colantuono, Colantuono & Levin, P.C.  

Peter C. Catalanotti, Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP 

Debra R. Schoenberg, Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. 

 Cheryl Sena, Sena Family Law 

Judge Vaughn Walker ADR/Law Office Vaughn R Walker 

Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.), JAMS  

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP 
Follow BALIF


BALIF | | info@balif.org | http://www.balif.org
P.O. Box 193383
San Francisco, CA 94119