Weekly Newsletter        |        March 17, 2015
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 



Thank you for coming out to the 35th Annual BALIF Gala last Friday, March 13! It was truly a spectacular night. Your presence made it all the more special. BALIF members and sponsors reconnected with old friends, made new ones, and collectively celebrated how far we have come in the last 35 years. Looking around the room at Terra Gallery, a beautiful location scouted out by Gala Co-Chairs Mario Choi and Nick Clements, I felt fortunate to be a part of a critical mass and community of dynamic "out" LGBT lawyers and allies. I am proud to be a part of an organization that has historically and currently been on the front lines of the fight for freedom and equality.

Speaking of fights, if you have not already checked out the most recent amicus brief BALIF submitted in the marriage equality case, Obergefell et al., you should. See http://balif.org/news/3244428. For those constitutional law enthusiasts, you can also read the amicus brief my firm submitted on behalf of LGBT undergraduate and law/graduate student organizations about the interplay between marriage equality and the right to travel. See http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/BriefsV5/14-556_amicus_pet_LGBT%20Students.authcheckdam.pdf 

Here is hoping that civil rights prevail in this oh so important case!

In the incoming months, please come out to our Mentor Mentee Happy Hour on April 2 @ 5:30 pm @ The Patriot House and our Annual Meeting and Election Party on April 15 6 pm @ The Sausage Factory. Remember to vote during the election and be on the look out for more information for our June Give Em L event!


Yours Truly,


Felicia Medina

BALIF Board Programs Co-Chair 

Join the BALIF Board of Directors-
BALIF Board 2015 Elections


Law Student Candidates Needed


BALIF has extended the deadline one week for law student representatives to submit their candidate statements for the BALIF Board of Directors.  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 Sunday, March 22 at 5pm.  Please indicate whether you are applying for the male, female or transgender/gender non-conforming position in your statement.  


Election Update


BALIF has received a record 16 candidate statements for the 10 open positions on the Board!  Thank you to everyone who submitted statements and nominations.  Let the campaign season begin!  Good luck to all of the candidates!    


Elections will begin online on April 1, 2015.  The candidate statements will be posted online.  There will also 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 meeting will be held at the Sausage Factory in the Castro.  The results will be announced at the end of the meeting. 

BALIF Partner Exchange Luncheon
Thursday, March 19, 2015 
& Save the Date for Future Months


When:  Thursday, March 19, 2015; Thursday, May 14, 2015; Tuesday, June 16, 2015; Thursday, July 16, 2015; and Thursday, August 20, 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 Partners 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 year or more of experience. 


March's luncheon topic:  What is the relevance of being an LGBT attorney? Does it help or hurt with business development and/or recruiting employees? What is the continuing significance of BALIF? Or is it premature to even ask the question given the pendency of the marriage cases?


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

RSVPs being accepted for Thursday, March 19, 2015 only.  

BALIF Mentorship Program / 
Law Student Spring Happy Hour


Calling all BALIF mentors, mentees, and law student members -- please join us for a happy hour on April 2. For law students, this will be a great opportunity to meet and mingle with LGBT attorneys and other law students before you leave for the summer. We'll also celebrate BALIF's mentors and mentees and honor this year's BALIF Mentor of the Year with an award. And of course, there will be free drinks and food. Hope to see you there!


When: Thursday, April 2, 2015

Where: The Patriot House, 2 Embarcadero Center, SF

Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Pathways to the Judiciary
A Conversation and Reception

BASF and BALIF presents:


Thursday, April 9, 2015

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.


The Bar Association of San Francisco

301 Battery Street, Third Floor


$30 BASF Student and Legal Professional Members

$40 Committee Members, Government and Nonprofit Attorneys and BALIF Members$50 BASF Members * $65 Others


MCLE: 1.5 Hours of Elimination of Bias CreditMCLE Registration: 

5:00 - 5:30 p.m.


Light Refreshments/Program: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Event Code: G151629


Click here to view the flyer!



HON. ANGELA BRADSTREET- San Francisco Superior Court

HON. LINDA COLFAX- San Francisco Superior Court

HON. VICTORIA KOLAKOWSKI- Alameda County Superior Court

HON. VAUGHN WALKER (RET)- United States District Court for the Northern District

STUART PLUNKETT- Morrison & Foerster/BASF Judiciary Committee



* LGBT judicial officers discussing their personal pathways to the bench

*Information on the vetting process for judicial candidates in California

* Advice for (LGBT) attorneys considering a career in the judiciary


BALIF Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Supporting Marriage Equality

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.

ALRP Free 2015 MCLE Trainings

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 


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


Lambda Legal San Francisco Soiree


APRIL 17, 2015 
6:00 PM





Join Lambda Legal's Bay Area Leadership Council for a fabulous night in San Francisco! Supporters will learn of Lambda Legal updates while enjoying a fantastic dinner among friends and supporters at the City View at Metreon.


For more information, please visit the event website at http://www.lambdalegal.org/sfsoiree2015, or contact Adrian Ogle at 646-307-7397.

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.

March 19 - Partner Exchange Luncheon
March 21 - PLF Gay Ski Day
April 2 - BALIF Mentorship Program / Law Students Happy Hour
April 9 - BASF/BALIF Presents: Pathways to the Judiciary
April 15 - BALIF Annual Meeting & Election Happy Hour
Our 2015 Sponsors
Partner Level
Counsel Level


HB Logo



Advocate Level


A.L. Nella & Company, CPAs 

AT&T, Legal Department 

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher  

Jones Day 

Latham & Watkins LLP 

Morgen Lewis & Bockius LLP 

MUFG Union Bank

O'Melveny & Meyers LLP 

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP 

Pacific Gas & Electric

Perkins Coie LLP 

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP 

Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP 

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton 

Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP 


Benefactor Level


Callaway & Wolf

Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP

Clarence, Dyer & Cohen LLP / Swanson & McNamara LLP 

Cooley LLP 

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP

Farella Braun + Martel LLP 

Futterman Dupree Dodd Croley Maier LLP 

Golden Gate University, School of Law 

Jackson Lewis LLP 


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

Littler Mendelson P.C. 

Lubin Olson & Niewiadomski LLP

Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP 

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP 

Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg LLP

Paul Hastings LLP 

Pritzker Levine LLP

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  


Individual Sponsors


Dave Arellano, Altep, Inc.   

Michael Colantuono, Colantuono Highsmith & Whatley, PC 

David Fermino, Sideman & Bancroft LLP 

David Helbraun, Helbraun Law 

Frederick Hertz, Law and Mediation Office of Frederick Hertz

John Hill, Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C.

Hon. Stuart Hing & Rhoda Hing, Alameda County Superior Court

James Kealohi, Pathways Personnel

David Monroe, Able & Monroe P.C.

Todd Norris, Bullivant Houser Bailey 

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

Cheryl Sena, Sena Family Law 

Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.), JAMS  

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 
Follow BALIF


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