Weekly Newsletter        |        June 23, 2015
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 



I love living in the Castro, but especially during this time of year. The energy is always high, and there seem to be a never-ending series of events - Frameline, Trans March, and the Annual Pride Run to name a few. Events that remind me to be fearless, to value community, and to celebrate how far we've come.


I've been  especially reminded of these things as I walk past the 18th and Castro Street corridor. All year long this corner serves as a memorial to remember those we've recently lost, providing a public location for community members to pay their respects. Right now, though, it's serving as a reminder of the amount of work that still needs to be done to truly see equality in this country. On Sunday morning, an alter was built at this corner in memory of the nine people killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Today, ACT UP set up a display on the corner that included dozens of names and photographs of community members who succumbed to AIDs during the 80s and 90s. 


As we patiently await the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality, I hope that we remember as a community that the struggle doesn't end there. Regardless of whether I'm allowed to marry my partner or not, violence against queer and trans people will still be at an all-time high - exponentially more so for queer and trans persons of color. Thirty percent of trans women will still be incarcerated. Employment and housing discrimination will continue and may increase after marriage. Many elderly or fixed income/HIV positive LGBT individuals will continue to be Ellis Act evicted from their long-term homes, causing health-impacting instability and separation from the social services, healthcare providers and safety networks they rely on to stay alive. I hope this month's festivities serve to energize the community; celebrate our living bold, authentic lives; and remind us that regardless of the Supreme Court's decision regarding marriage equality, there is still much more work to be done.


Happy Pride everyone! Let's make it another one to remember!




Meaghan Zore

BALIF Board Membership Chair

Join BALIF at SF City Hall on #DECISIONDAY


Any day now the Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision on marriage equality - a decision that we are hopeful will recognize the freedom to marry for all LGBTQ families across the nation.


On #DECISION DAY, please join BALIF, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Ed Lee, Our Family Coalition, and Kate Kendall from the National Center of Lesbian Rights at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time in the San Francisco City Hall Rotunda. 

Follow us on Facebook for updates.


7th Annual Pride Breakfast

Obergefell v. Hodges: 
Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court 
Event on July 7, 2015


The American Constitution Society and BALIF invite you to join our all-star panel of marriage equality experts for a discussion of the Supreme Court's pending marriage equality cases consolidated into Obergefell v. Hodges..


Where: Morrison & Foerster, 425 Market Street, SF, CA

When: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 12:00pm   


On the panel are three of the most distinguished names in the history of marriage equality both in California and on the national stage.


Kate Kendell 

is the leader of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a relentless advocate for the rights of LGBT people that regularly brings cases on behalf of LGBT plaintiffs all across the country, including Tanco v. Haslam, one of the four marriage equality cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Honorable Therese Stewart 

is the former Chief Deputy City Attorney for San Francisco who represented the City and County of San Francisco in securing a ruling in favor of marriage equality in In re Marriage Cases in the California Supreme Court before Prop. 8, and argued before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional. In 2013, her groundbreaking work led to the U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who presided over the Prop. 8 case while serving on the U.S. District Court for  the Northern District of California, was one of the first judges in the country to rule that marriage equality was a  constitutional right, a decision that has served as the backbone of the more than 60 marriage quality decisions  decided since and leading up to the cases now before the Supreme Court.

The Moderator will be BALIF member Fred Smith. 

Please see the attached flyer for details!


BALIF Files Ninth Circuit Amicus Brief Supporting Medical Care 
for Transgender Prisoner

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. 


Click here to read the brief.


Insider Tips from General 
Counsel: Developing Business Relationships and In-House Careers


BALIF is proud to be co-sponsor of the Baker Botts Global Women's Forum's a "Summer Spotlight on Success" panel of General Counsels, including Kelly Tullier (GC of Visa), John Kuo (GC of Varian Medical Systems), Jan Kang (GC of AOptix), and Brian Cabrera (GC of nVIDIA).


This high-profile panel will discuss topics of interest and relevance to both in-house attorneys and law firm attorneys: how GCs decide whether to give work to outside counsel, plus tips on developing business relationships and pitching for business; and how GCs hire supporting in-house counsel, plus tips on networking to get on the insider track for in-house positions.


The details: 

July 1, 2015

Panel Discussion: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Reception: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Baker Botts LLP

1001 Page Mill Road

Building One, Suite 200

Palo Alto, CA 94304


 1.0 Hour of General CLE Credit is pending approval.


Please click HERE to RSVP.


American Association for Justice's 
LGBT Caucus & CLE Lineup


The newly formed LGBT Caucus with the American Association for Justice has planned its first-ever CLE lineup for the American Association for Justice Annual Convention this summer in Montreal being held on July 11-15. Started less than two years ago, the LGBT caucus has gained in size and momentum and aims to have its huge coming out this summer at the convention.


The lineup will consist of three events. On the afternoon of July 11, the caucus will host a 1.5 hour CLE presentation focused on marriage equality, which will have just been argued before the Supreme Court.


The panel of speakers will include:

  • Justice John Greaney (ret.) of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, who authored the powerful concurring opinion in the Goodridge case.
  • Chuck Herring, Esq., of Texas, whose tireless efforts and creativity got a marriage license issued in Texas for the same-sex marriage of two of his clients.
  • Professor Michael Kavey, of NYU School of Law, who has worked for Lambda Legal, clerked for Justice Sotomayor (while on the Second Circuit) and been named by the national LGBT Bar Association as one of the "Best LGBT Attorneys Under 40."
  • Elizabeth Schwartz, Esq., of Miami, FL, who has worked tirelessly for marriage equality as counsel in a case challenging Florida's marriage ban.


The LGBT Caucus will also host a business meeting for its caucus members and a cocktail reception for its members to network and socialize.


For information on becoming a member of the American Association for Justice and the LGBT Caucus, or attending the convention, please contact the AAJ at membership@justice.org or (800) 424-2727, ext. 8611.

Office Available for Rent
BEAUTIFUL UPPER CASTRO Semi-Private Space For Rent 
Ideal for any professional. Located in a unique mid-century modern corner building with loads of natural light, and a sunny patio. Use of either front or separate side-entrance. Shared full kitchen, full bathroom and reception area. Plenty of on-street parking, easy Muni access and a truly pleasurable working environment. This is an open floor plan that can fit up to four desks or any other creative use of the space. Reception area also serves as art gallery with seasonal art openings. Water, PG&E, WiFi and garbage included in rent. Share space with two progressive attorneys. Don't be fooled by the attorney titles though, this is not a stuffy or stodgy space. Our office is a creative, cooperative and congenial place to work. We are looking for a another simpatico soul to join us!

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.

June 28 - BALIF/ Jones Day Pride Parade Brunch
July 9 - BALIF Happy Hour
July 1 - Insider Tips from General Counsel 
Our 2015 Sponsors
Partner Level
Counsel Level


HB Logo



Advocate Level


A.L. Nella & Company, CPAs 


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 & 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
Jessica Bogo & John Robert Unruh
Peter Catalanotti

Mario Choi

Denise Bergin 
Judiciary Chair

Nick Clements & 
David Sims
Gala Co-Chairs  


Meaghan Zore 

Julie Wilensky
Amicus Chair     

Jennifer Orthwein
Communications Chair 

Jamie Dupree
Programs Chair

Felicia Medina & Shauna Madison
Young Lawyers & Law Students Co-Chairs  

Brandon Lawrence & Daniel Faessler
Social Action Co-Chairs 

Dmitri Pikman
Lindsey Rosellini
Community Ambassador Chair  

Joseph Deignan, Alex Lemberg & Sam Potts
Katie Carlson
BALIF Administrator 
Follow BALIF


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