Weekly Newsletter        |        November 1, 2016
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 

Hope you all had a lovely Halloween! Thanks to all the BALIF folks who supported BALIF's Halloween Extravaganza last week. The event raised more than $3,000 for the St. James Infirmary, which provides free, confidential, nonjudgmental medical and social services for sex workers of all genders and orientations.
Last week, BALIF submitted an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit in Carcaño v. McCrory, a case challenging H.B. 2, North Carolina's discriminatory law that targets transgender people for discrimination in public schools and facilities. BALIF's brief argues that H.B. 2, which bars transgender people from using sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity, facially discriminates against transgender people based on sex, and that it is a classic example of unlawful sex stereotyping. The brief was filed by amicus counsel Impact Fund, and was joined by a broad coalition of 35 additional bar associations and non-profit organizations around the country. More information about the brief is below.
On a related note, the Supreme Court will be weighing in on a major trans rights case this year. On October 28, the Supreme Court announced that it will be reviewing the Fourth Circuit's decision in a case brought by Gavin Grimm, a high school student barred him from using the boys' restroom because he is transgender. As many advocates have persuasively explained, this case is about much more than bathrooms - it's about whether the protections of federal law to be free from discrimination include transgender people. To learn more about Gavin, a brave student who wants to make things better for other transgender kids, read Gavin's op-ed in the Washington Post.


Julie Wilensky
BALIF Board Amicus Chair
BALIF Files Fourth Circuit Amicus Brief in Case Challenging North Carolina's Anti-Transgender Law
On October 25, 2016, BALIF filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Carcaño v. McCrory, a case challenging H.B. 2, North Carolina's discriminatory law that targets transgender people for discrimination in public schools and facilities.
The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the portion of H.B. 2 that bars transgender people from using single-sex restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Although the district court granted a limited injunction barring enforcement of H.B. 2 by the University of North Carolina against three of the plaintiffs who are transgender,  the court declined to bar broader enforcement of H.B. 2 under the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, leaving transgender people who live in or visit North Carolina vulnerable to the harms imposed by H.B. 2. The plaintiffs appealed the denial of broader injunctive relief under the Equal Protection Clause to the Fourth Circuit.
BALIF's brief  argues that H.B. 2 facially discriminates against transgender people based on sex, and that it is a classic example of unlawful sex stereotyping. Its restroom provisions are rooted in the stereotype that all people should act in a manner consistent with society's expectations about the sex they were assigned at birth. The brief highlights the significant body of law confirming that targeting transgender people for their perceived gender non-conformity is sex stereotyping that violates constitutional and statutory prohibitions on sex discrimination.
" In a variety of contexts and for many years, the federal courts have recognized that sex stereotyping of transgender people is a form of unlawful sex discrimination," said Julie Wilensky, chair of BALIF's Amicus Committee. "H.B. 2 is no different."
The Impact Fund  and its attorneys Lindsay Nako and Lynnette Miner served as BALIF's amicus counsel, and Impact Fund also joined the brief. 
In addition to BALIF and Impact Fund, a broad coalition of 35 additional bar associations and non-profit legal organizations joined the brief:  AIDS Legal Referral PanelAlameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers AssociationAsian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay AreaAsian Americans Advancing Justice - Los AngelesAsian Pacific Islander Legal OutreachAtlanta Women for EqualityBar Association of San FranciscoBet Tzedek Legal ServicesBiLawCalifornia Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.Centro Legal de la RazaCivil Rights Education and Enforcement CenterDallas LGBT Bar AssociationEast Bay La Raza Lawyers AssociationGeorgia Association for Women LawyersHawai'i LGBT Legal AssociationKansas City Lesbian, Gay, and Allied LawyersLatinoJustice PRLDEFLegal Aid Society - Employment Law CenterLGBT Bar Association of Greater New YorkLGBT Bar Association of WisconsinMassachusetts LGBTQ Bar AssociationNational Employment Law ProjectNational Employment Lawyers AssociationNational Queer Asian Pacific Islander AllianceNew Mexico Lesbian and Gay Lawyers AssociationNorth Carolina Advocates for JusticeQueen's Bench Bar AssociationSacLEGALSanta Clara County Bar AssociationStonewall Law Association of Greater HoustonTom Homann LGBT Law AssociationTransgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California, and Virginia Equality Bar Association.


Phone Bank for Hilary with BALIF
BALIF has set up a group opportunity to phone bank for Hillary. 

When: November 2, 2016
When: 6pm
Where: San Francisco Hillary Clinton Headquarters
1001 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA
To join our group and participate, please click this link and complete the form.
Also, for those who would like to phone bank for Hillary independently or with friends, you can do so by visiting the 1001 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA between 9am - 9pm or by signing up at this link to do so at your convenience from a location of your choice (e.g. your own home).
Please bring a cell phone, laptop and charger to participate in phone banking at SF Headquarters with BALIF or independently. 

Prison Legal Mail Clinic 
There are countless transgender and gender non-conforming people facing horrific abuses and violations of their basic human rights every day inside of prisons. People in prison face huge obstacles when trying to obtain mere legal information, much less legal counsel. As a result, they rely on outside organizations to provide them with resources related to their rights, and advice on how to follow the procedures required to assert those rights from inside. This is your chance to come and provide much-needed support to trans and gender non-conforming people in prison! 
Please join TGI Justice Project, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, the National Lawyers Guild - SF Bay Area Chapter, the Transgender Law Center and BALIF for a legal mail clinic to provide support to trans and gender non-conforming people in prison in California and across the country. 
The agenda for the day will include a training in the basics of prison law, as well as brief trainings in the specific issues that trans and gender non-conforming people in prison face regularly, including the following topics: ways to advocate for safer housing, access to Hormone Replacement Therapy and Sex Reassignment Surgery, name and gender changes while in prison, and access to gender-affirming clothing. Following the training, participants will be able to immediately use this knowledge by responding to legal mail from trans and gender non-conforming people in prison, and providing legal assistance and resources. Attorneys and advocates familiar with prisoner's rights and procedures will be available to assist throughout the day. 
PLEASE NOTE:  This is a GREAT way for law students and attorneys to get involved in some incredibly important work and provide legal assistance to people who do not have any other access to it. 
When: November 6, 2016 1pm-6pm
Where: Qulture Collective, 
        1714 Franklin St. 
        Oakland, CA 
PLEASE RSVP TO KELLYLOU DENSMORE, Legal Director at TGI Justice Project at kellylou@tgijp.org by November 1.  We will be sending some important instructions and materials before the day of the training!

Protect the Vote
Hillary Clinton's voter protection team is looking for lawyers who are willing to travel to battleground states to protect the vote.  (Law students and people with paralegal experience are also needed.)

The state voter protection team will assign you to work at a polling place. They'll train you in advance on state law and how to report and handle incidents at the polls. You may also answer calls on the voter assistance hotline or take on other tasks.
If you are interested in traveling to one of the battleground states (i.e. Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, North Caorlina Virginia, or Pennsylvania) or will be in one of them and would like to monitor the polls on Election Day as a poll observer, you can find out how to do so  here  or contact Jennifer Orthwein at  activism@balif.org

BALIF November Happy Hour

When: Thursday, November 10, 2016 6-8 pm

Where Port Bar, 2023 Broadway, Oakland 94612

What: BALIF's November Happy Hour will be in the East Bay this month! Come out and enjoy a cocktail or two with other fellow BALIF members. Hope to see you there!

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/696866613821132/?notif_t=plan_user_joined&notif_id=1477861364269996

Practising Law Institute Presents:
Representing Transgender Clients:
Practical Skills and Cultural Competency
John Robert Unruh 
Law Office of John Robert Unruh
Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)

PLI is pleased to present this important new pro bono program! Attend this program to learn how to represent transgender and gender nonconforming people in the many legal disputes that frequently impact this community. The stellar faculty of experienced attorneys and advocates will share practical skills to enable attendees to competently represent transgender clients in areas such as employment, health care, identity documents and detention.

Register for free today!

San Francisco and Live Webcast - November 16, 2016

Key Topics Will Include:
  • Transgender and gender nonconforming 101: definitions and best practices
  • Employment law developments
  • Health care developments
  • Education developments
  • Detention developments
  • Identity documents
Special Feature:
  • Earn one hour of Elimination of Bias Credit!
As part of PLI's commitment to public service and the pro bono activities of the legal community, there is no fee to attend this program.

Credit Information: CLE and CPD Credit. 

BALIF Holiday Party 2016
Save the Date!!!
Join us for our annual holiday party and ring in some holiday cheer!! 

December 14, 2016
6:00- 9:00 pm

Devil's Acre
256 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

Tom Reilly

BALIF member Tom Reilly is appearing in Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, playing a judge who has a secret life cross-dressing as a character named Amy.  The show runs through  November 6, 2016.  

ALRP Free 2016 MCLE Trainings
  • Wednesday, November 25:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Brandon Lawrence, Esq., Zeenat Hassan, Esq., and Jaime Rush, Esq. - AIDS Legal Referral Panel
  • 1.5 Elimination of Bias CLE Credits
Reasonable Accommodations in Housing
  • Thursday, November 105:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Deborah Thrope, Esq. - National Housing Law Project - nhlp.org
  • 1.5 General CLE Credits
Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace
  • Thursday, December 15:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Alexis Alvarez, Esq. - Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center - law-elc.org
  • 1.5 General CLE Credits
Creating Workplaces Free from Gender Identity Bias
  • Wednesday, December 75:30-7:00pm
  • Presented by Shawn Meerkamper, Esq. - Transgender Law Center - transgenderlawcenter.org
  • 1.5 Elimination of Bias CLE Credits
This is a  free  training open to all attorneys, paralegals, law students, and those interested in the legal field.  We hope to see you there!

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

Future Trainings and ALRP Events:  Click Here

CRLA LGBT Program - 
2017 Summer Law Fellow

California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) is seeking a law school fellow for a 10-week summer position with CRLA's LGBT Program.  The LGBT Program addresses the intersections of race, immigration status, and poverty within the framework of advancing rural LGBT rights. The program engages in direct legal representation and other innovative forms of legal advocacy that leverage collaborations with a range of rural stakeholders.  The LGBT Program Summer Law fellow will work under the supervision of the LGBT Program Director to provide direct legal services and support litigation and other systemic advocacy.  Priority types of legal cases include petitions for U, T, and VAWA non-immigrant status, employment discrimination cases, education rights cases, and legal name and gender petitions.  The law clerk may request to be placed in any one of CRLA's office locations, and the LGBT program will strive to accommodate the law clerk's preferred location.  
The fellow will receive a grant in the amount of $8,800 from the California Bar Foundation.
Applicants must have completed their second year of law school and must have strong writing skills. Candidates must possess a passion for social justice and poverty related
issues, as well as sensitivity to working with people from diverse backgrounds. Special consideration will be given to students who have a demonstrated commitment to serving low income or disadvantaged communities. Students who speak Spanish and are familiar with LGBTQ issues are encouraged to apply.
Applications will be accepted through  February 28, 2017. Please submit a cover letter and resume, a list of at least three references and writing sample to:  hr@crla.org and  lcisneros@crla.org. Please write "LGBT Summer Fellow" in the subject line. CRLA will contact applicants selected for an interview.

BALIF's "Connections"
Mentorship Program
BALIF's mentorship program is seeking mentors and mentees for 2016-2017.  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 Ashley Pellouchoud or David Sims at:  younglawyers@balif.org
Mentors and mentee pairs will be assigned on a rolling basis from September thru October.

SABA-NC Public Interest 
Fellowship Application
Applicants can apply anytime for a fellowship because they are issued on a rolling basis. They may be used for summer internships, fall semester internships, spring semester internships, and post-bar fellowships for both spring and fall graduates. Please find the application here.  Please note that applicants do not have to be of South Asian descent to apply. All applicants are welcome, and we look forward to reviewing submissions from members of your organization.  
2016-2018 Tyron Garner Memorial Fellowship
Interested in a fellowship?  Please consider applying for the 2016-2018 Tyron Garner Memorial Fellowship for African-American LGBT Civil Rights:  http://www.lambdalegal.org/about-us/jobs/all_20160916_garner-fellow
Probate Referee Program Opportunities -
from the 
Office of the State Controller Betty Yee
State Controller Betty Yee is searching for attorneys, certified public accountants, and certified  appraisers from diverse backgrounds to serve as probate referees. Our search encompasses everyone  including people of all races, genders, and LGBT status.

Probate referees are officers of the court who are appointed by the State Controller. They provide  reliable appraisals of all estate assets including businesses, securities, real estate, and personal
properties. Probate referees are not state employees; their fees are paid by the estates (trusts)  involved. For any appraisal required by law, probate referee fees are 1/10 th of one percent of the total  assets. The minimum fee is $75 plus expenses such as mileage and photos.

Qualification criteria and application information are on the Controller's website at  www.sco.ca.gov/eo_probate.html. The next probate referee examination will be held in April 2017.
People who meet all the qualifications and pass the examination may be contacted for an interview  by a panel of judges and attorneys. Controller Yee will decide whom to appoint after considering the  panel's recommendation.

Spinning Race, Citizenship, and Fear on the Campaign Trail
Spinning Race, Citizenship, and Fear on the  Campaign Trail: A History  Presented by Professor Jack Tchen
New York University  Professor and Co-Author of  "Yellow Peril!: An Archive of  Anti-Asian Fear" 

Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 4:30pm

James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse
Courtroom 3
95 7th Street, San Francisco

Please arrive on time!

Ticket Prices:
$40 for those seeking MLCE credit
$10 adults
$5 students, ID required

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP certifies that this activity has been approved for MCLE Elimination of  Bias credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1.0 hour.

This program will discuss the historical roots of immigrant bashing and lessons we  can learn from the anti-Chinese campaigns of the 1870s and the 1882 Chinese  Exclusion Act (the impact of which was still felt until 1968).  It will also discuss how, in the very halls of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals  building where this talk takes place, Wong Kim Ark and fellow Chinese American  litigants successfully fought for the same civil right the Constitution provides to all  those born on US soil: US citizenship.

Meet the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's (NAPABA) LGBTQ Committee at Events in San Diego, CA
November 4-5, 2016
Interested in learning more about NAPABA's LGBTQ Committee and what we do? This is your chance to meet new and returning members alike at various meet-ups and educational panels during NAPABA's Annual Convention in San Diego, CA. Let's grab brunch and say hi, attend panels, and then go dancing the night away!

Brunch at Hash House a Go Go
Friday, November 4, 2016 
7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
3628 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Break bread with the NAPABA LGBTQ Committee and engage in conversations about issues that affect our community.  Come get connected, and surround yourself with like-minded individuals. 

And Justice for All: APA LGBT Immigrants' Rights
Friday, November 4, 2016 
1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Hilton San Diego Bayfront | 1 Park Blvd. San Diego, California, 92101

Earlier this year, LGBT leaders presented the U.S. Supreme Court with a cutting-edge brief detailing the impact of the nation's immigration laws and policies on the LGBT community. There are nearly one million LGBT immigrants living in the United States, a third of who are undocumented. This workshop will survey some of the most pressing legal issues facing LGBT immigrants, focusing on the unique needs of Asian Pacific Islander LGBT immigrants. Panelists will (1) review recent achievements and identify policy gaps in the rights for same-sex married bi-national couples (visas, green cards, work authorization); (2) discuss recent political and Supreme Court actions regarding deferred action from deportation for undocumented LGBT young people and their parents (DACA and DAPA); and (3) challenge participant's thoughts on immigration systems, including bias and discretion surrounding enforcement, criminalization, detention, deportation, and asylum on the basis of API LGBT status. Presenters will also forecast future LGBT immigrants' rights issues likely to appear in the next administration.

When Pride Meets Prejudice: Employment Rights for LGBTs in the Workplace
Saturday, November 5, 2016 
9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Hilton San Diego Bayfront | 1 Park Blvd. San Diego, California, 92101

The struggle for equal rights is ongoing for LGBT people notwithstanding the recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality. Most saliently, inequality in the workplace remains prevalent for LGBT people in both the private and public sectors. The EEOC and some federal courts have interpreted Title VII's sex discrimination ban as protecting LGBT employees. But, contrary case law remains controlling in some federal circuits and there are no state-level protections in as many as 29 states. The challenges for LGBT workers concerning hiring, retention, advancement and benefits are pervasive. This panel will provide an overview of the employment nondiscrimination laws across the country, the litigation being filed, the direction the courts and federal agencies are heading, and the effectiveness of employment policies that private and public employers may adopt.

Informal Tour of the LGBTQ San Diego nightlife 
Friday, November 4, 2016 and Saturday, November 5, 2016 
9:00 p.m. (ish) - 2:00 a.m.  

This will be an impromptu event.  Locations to be visited include, but are not limited to, Brass Rail, Gossip Grill, Pecs Bar, and Rich's Martinis Above Fourth.  Please contact  Joanne Badua  if you're interested in joining to get more information. 

If you haven't signed up to be a member of the NAPABA LGBTQ Committee, this is a great opportunity to learn more about what we can do for you and how you can get involved. To be included in our list serve and receive future announcements, please contact  Joanne Badua .  So excited to meet you all there!

Follow BALIF on Instagram
Follow @BALIFSF on Instagram!

We know a picture is worth a thousand words! See what we are up to and behind the scenes updates. Sharing photos on social media? Please tag us!
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!


Alex Touma

BALIF Membership Co-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.

November 2 - Phone Bank for Hilary with BALIF
November 6 - Prison Legal Mail Clinic
November 10 - BALIF November Happy Hour
November 16 - PLI: Representing Transgender Clients 
December 14 - BALIF Holiday Party
Our 2016-2017 Sponsors
Partner Level

Counsel Level


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Advocate Level

Benefactor Level

Individual Sponsors

BALIF Board of Directors
Jessica Bogo & Peter Catalanotti
Julie Wilensky
Secretary & Amicus Chair

Mario Choi

Nick Clements
Judiciary Chair

Sarah Nicole Davis & 
John Unruh
Gala Co-Chairs  


Alex Touma
Shauna Madison

CCBA Chair

Stan Sarkisov
Communications Chair 

Jamie Dupree
Programs Chair

Ashley Pellouchoud & David Sims
Young Lawyers & Law Students Co-Chairs  

Daniel Faessler
Social Action Chair

Jennifer Orthwein
Lauren Pietsch
Lindsey Rosellini
Community Ambassador Chair  

Sam Potts & Stephan Ferris
Katie Carlson
BALIF Administrator 
Follow BALIF

BALIF Foundation

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