Weekly Newsletter        |        February 2, 2016
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 

February is here and love is in the air.  This month is special for many reasons, one of which is because the BALIF Gala is around the corner. This year's Gala, entitled "Equality Affirmed," will be on Friday, February 19 at the Bently Reserve. Make sure to visit the BALIF website to purchase tickets and to find out more information about sponsorship opportunities.  This event is not to be missed!
February is African American History Month and our opportunity to honor the many African American and other civil rights activists of color who fought for LGBT rights and the freedom to love.  People of color have historically played an integral role in the LGBT movement, yet their stories have often been erased from the dominant queer narrative. Sylvia Rivera's work on behalf of the marginalized of the marginalized was truly transformative. Bayard Rustin, although known for his leadership in the March on Washington, was also a fierce advocate for gay rights. Similarly, Alice Walker, the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is an openly-bisexual advocate for trans rights. More recently, Laverne Cox's media presence has contributed to a growing conversation about trans rights and the intersectionality of LGBT and racial identities.  In order for this important living history not to be sidelined, take a moment to reflect back on these contributions and tell your husband, wife, partner, friend, children, coworkers, neighbors and elected officials about them! 
Okay, BALIFers, that is all for now.  See you at the Gala!  There is a lot to celebrate and loads to look forward to!
Felicia Medina
BALIF Young Lawyers & Law Students Co-Chair

BALIF February Happy Hour
this Thursday!
Join us for drinks and snacks at BALIF's Monthly Happy Hour this Thursday!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Barbarossa Lounge
714 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA

BALIF 36th Annual Gala

BALIF Gala: Equality Affirmed! BALIF's 36th Annual Gala is on February 19, 2016. If you haven't done so yet, now is the time to sponsor BALIF and purchase your tickets to the Gala. This year's format is an elegant cocktail party with food stations and drinks sprinkled around the venue. It's a fabulous format for mingling with old friends and meeting new ones. Don't miss the best party of the year!
Please visit the BALIF website at balif.org/sponsorship for sponsorship information or to purchase individual tickets. For more information email balif@balif.org or gala@balif.org.
BALIF thanks this week's incoming 2016 BALIF Sponsors:
Partner Level:
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Counsel Level:
Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP
Advocate Level:
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Perkins Coie
White & Case
Individual Sponsorship:
Victor Aguilar, Altep, Inc.

ALRP Free 2016 MCLE Trainings

Negotiation on Behalf of Tenants in San Francisco
  • Wednesday, February 10, 5:30-7:30pm
  • Presented by Deepa Varma, Esq. - San Francisco Tenants Union
  • 2.0 General CLE Credits
Wage & Hour Claims for People Living with HIV - Sponsored by the State Bar's Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Wednesday, March 9, 5:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Lakeisha Poole, Esq. (lkplegal.com) & Asha Wilkerson (thewilkersonlawoffice.com)
  • 1.5 General CLE Credits
Ellis Act Evictions
  • Wednesday, March 23, 5:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Raquel Fox, Esq. - Tenderloin Housing Clinic - thclinic.org
  • 1.5 General CLE Credits
Employment Issues Facing Clients with HIV/AIDS - Sponsored by the State Bar's Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Wednesday, March 30, 5:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Sonya Smallets, Esq. - Minnis & Smallets LLP - minnisandsmallets.com
  • 1.5 General 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

Volunteer Opportunity!
UC Hastings College of the Law is hosting the West Coast ABA Client Counseling Competition this February!  We need licensed attorney volunteers to serve as judges of counseling and intake skills.  Judges will serve on a panel of three: two attorneys and one helping professions counselor.  The panel will review up to three teams during a shift.  Pre-competition prep time is limited to a review of a short, two-page fact pattern.  Food will be provided! 
Volunteer Shifts:
Saturday, February 13th
8 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
12 p.m. - 5 p.m. 
Sunday, February 14th
8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
UC Hastings College of the Law is in downtown San Francisco, conveniently located near BART and MUNI stops. Garage parking available. 
If you are interested in volunteering, please e-mail Jen Hand at hand.jennifer.l@gmail.com as soon as possible! 
How Implicit Bias Shapes
 the Legal Landscape
Unconscious, or implicit, beliefs and biases direct our thoughts, actions and decisions constantly and in every aspect of our lives. It is a necessary part of our cognitive processes. But what happens when these beliefs are based on broad stereotypes built into our culture and society, leading to incorrect assumptions and faulty decisions.

Join Women Lawyers of Alameda County, Queens Bench, the GGU American Constitution Society and Black Law Students Association for a panel discussion of implicit bias and its impact on our systems of justice. A reception will follow.

The event will be held on Tuesday, February 16th at Golden Gate University School of Law.

Registration: 4:30
Panel: 5 - 6:30
Reception: 6:30 - 8pm
MCLE credits for Elimination of Bias (1 hour) and Ethics (.5 hour).
Cost: FREE!

Please RSVP by February 12th to wlac@sbcglobal.net

Sharon Alkire

BALIF's own, Sharon Alkire, will be moderating a panel on Implicit Bias and focusing on the structural implications of unconscious/implicit bias in the legal system. The panel takes place February 16th at 5pm at Golden Gate University. It should be fun!  

BALIF Partner Exchange Luncheon
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
When: Wednesday, February 24, 2016; Tuesday, March 22, 2016; Friday, April 22, 2016; and Thursday, May 19, 2016

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 not being accepted for February yet.

Reed Smith / Kaiser Permanente
1L Diversity Fellowship Program
The Reed Smith/Kaiser Permanente Diversity Fellowship Program provides an award in the amount of $5,000 and a 2016 summer associate position to a diverse, first-year law student who has demonstrated strong academic scholarship, dedication to community service and/or leadership, and an understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. The $5,000 will be awarded for the recipient's second year of law school and will be paid in addition to the summer associate salary. The successful candidate will spend seven weeks of the summer program at the Reed Smith San Francisco office and three weeks at Kaiser's Oakland office.

Download the application materials. The deadline for this year's application materials to be submitted is 5:00pm PST on
Friday, March 4, 2016.

Applications and program inquiries should be emailed to:

Jessica Sisco
Senior Manager of Legal Recruiting
Reed Smith LLP
BALIF Joins Coalition of National LGBT, Racial Equality, and Health Groups in Filing Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Challenge to Texas Abortion Restrictions
On January 4, 2016, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and a coalition of 13 other LGBT, racial justice, and health equity organizations filed an amicus brief in
Whole Woman's Health v. Cole asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down draconian restrictions on abortion providers enacted by the State of Texas in 2013 which, if upheld, would lead to the closing of most abortion clinics in the state. The brief urges the Court to carefully scrutinize the state's asserted justification for the law, just as the Court has done with other laws that infringe upon fundamental freedoms. The State of Texas has argued that the law protects the health of women seeking abortion, but the evidence at trial showed just the opposite. In fact, medical organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association have explained that the restrictions imposed by the new law are medically unnecessary and endanger, rather than advance, women's health.

In addition to BALIF, the organizations filing the brief are the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the Equal Justice Society, the National Black Justice Coalition, the Family Equality Council, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, Equality Federation, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, Immigration Equality, the National Health Law Program, and Movement Advancement Project.

U.S. history is replete with attempts to use pseudo-science and unsupported health-related justifications to exclude individuals and groups from the full protection of essential constitutional liberties, including laws barring interracial marriage, excluding women from certain professions, permitting the forced sterilization of those deemed "inferior," and criminalizing and discriminating against LGBT people. BALIF and its fellow amici urge the Court to remember this history and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to look carefully at the State's asserted justifications for restricting women's fundamental right to reproductive autonomy.

"The brief powerfully reminds us of the history of using empirically indefensible social science to justify discrimination against vulnerable groups," said Julie Wilensky, chair of BALIF's Amicus Committee. "With this history in mind, it is especially important for the Court to meaningfully review the public health rationales Texas has asserted here."

BALIF and the other amici are represented by Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
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 4 - BALIF Happy Hour
February 19 - BALIF 36th Annual Gala
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 M. Helbraun, Helbraun Law Firm 

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

BALIF | P.O. Box 193383 | San Francisco | CA | 94119