Weekly Newsletter        |        August 8, 2017
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 

Like many of you, I've been deeply disturbed by the actions of the current administration over the past year. The continuous barrage of unimaginable headlines can feel overwhelming.  While I've found it tempting to succumb to helplessness, I've instead looked for ways to empower myself through seeking out opportunities to directly create change. The annual California Conference of Bar Associations ("CCBA") is one of those opportunities.

The CCBA is a group of attorneys in California focused on improving California's laws, by lobbying to effect legislative change. Each year, BALIF's delegation drafts resolutions in furtherance of our community's interests and  attends the conference to lobby for our resolutions' passage. This year, we submitted a record number of resolutions, including resolutions to:
  • limit the use of surveillance technology by law enforcement,
  • expand the number of military members and veterans who qualify for the opportunity to have a misdemeanor proceeding dismissed upon successful completion of a qualified mental health program,
  • ensure equal access to medical cannabis and eliminate increased penalties for cannabis violations based on prior convictions, and
  • require that the California government divest public employment retirement funds from businesses supporting the creation of a wall along the United States' border with Mexico.

The conference is October 6th-8th in Sacramento. As resourced members of a marginalized community, we can't afford to stick our heads in the sand and wait for the next 2-4 years to blow over. Our community needs us - needs YOU - right now to represent our interests at the state level and beyond.

If you're interested in making a difference by effecting legislative change and want to get involved with BALIF and CCBA, please reach out to me!


Meaghan Zore 
California Conference of Bar Associations Co-Chairs

An Evening with Jason Hsu, 
Taiwanese Legislator & Congressman
Sunday, August 13, 2017 5:00-7:00PM
RSVP for location

RSVP: For more information and to RSVP, please contact BALIF Board Member and AABA LGBT Committee Co-Chair Mario Choi ( mchoi@kaplanfox.com )

Following the Taiwan's Constitutional (Supreme) Court's May 24, 2017 ruling that it was unconstitutional to deny "two persons of the same sex" the right to marriage, Jason Hsu, TEDxTaipei founder and progressive Taiwanese legislator and congressperson-at-large, recently introduced a Same Sex Marriage Bill in the Taiwanese legislature. 

AABA's LGBT Committee and the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom are honored to host him for an evening of conversation and connection as he comes to the Bay Area on a visit of goodwill and exchange. Joining us will be Assemblymember Evan Low. Drinks and appetizers will be served.
BALIF statement on Trump's proposed transgender military service ban
BALIF is, again, disappointed and disgusted by this president and his administration's constant harassment and discrimination against our community. According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research,   of service members returning from conflicts abroad report symptoms of a mental health or cognitive condition. This should come as no surprise, though. A decade-old study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 22% of veterans sought mental health treatment in the private sector.
Banning transgender persons from joining the military further impedes the ability of transgender service members experiencing mental health issues from seeking treatment on account of their transgender status. Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military, much like the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy previously enforced by the military, stigmatizes certain service members, causing unnecessary fear and anxiety for a population, statistically, already experiencing higher rates of mental health issues. This stigmatization leads to an increased inability to obtain treatment for mental illness, to efficiently detect mental health symptoms, and to facilitate early intervention to prevent chronic mental illness.
Unfortunately, we do not know how many service members, or potential service members, such a ban would disenfranchise. The U.S. does not collect data on trans people's existence. Refusal to collect data on, or even acknowledge trans people's existence, and trans people's fears of disclosing their existence make it impossible to accurately estimate the number of people who will be impacted by such a ban. The fluctuations in estimates and the reasons for these fluctuations further exemplify the disenfranchisement and marginalization of trans people. 
Despite the lack of accurate data, we know disenfranchising transgender service members currently enlisted in the armed forces is a threat to our national security. It denies service members who have made great sacrifices for our country the mental health treatment they unquestionably deserve. The president cannot claim to support our troops while simultaneously tweeting half-baked screeds that destabilize the security and unification of all service members by disenfranchising some service members.
We remain steadfast in our opposition to the Trump administration's ignorance and recognize that an attack against some of us is an attack against all. Unlike the armed forces under President Trump's leadership, BALIF refuses to leave any member behind. BALIF is very proud to have authored an amicus brief in Fulcher v. Secretary of Veteran Affairs to prevent the Trump administration from rolling back health services to transgender veterans.  Read that brief here.

USF Spotlight of On Lu
Former BALIF Co-Chair 2012 & 2013

Congratulations to former BALIF Co-Chair On Lu on being featured by the University of San Francisco School of Law.  Get the full scoop  here . BALIF remains proud of your accomplishments, and we love seeing our LGBTQ attorneys succeed. 
BALIF Partner Exchange
Next Event & Save the Date! 

When: Friday, August 18, 2017, and Tuesday, September 26, 2017
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: $55 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 ALIF members who are partners or owners of their firm with 7 year or more of experience. 

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

BALIF Files Amicus Brief 
Fulcher et al. v. 
Secretary of Veteran Affairs
On June 28, 2017, the Impact Fund, BALIF, and the National Women's Law Center, authored and filed an amicus brief in support of appellants in Fulcher et al. v. Secretary of Veteran Affairs. Lambda Legal and Transgender Law Center recently filed a petition with the DC Circuit Court seeking to amend or repeal the rules that exclude medically necessary surgery for transgender veterans from coverage provided to veterans through the VA.
Congress passed the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Reform Act in 1996 to ensure that the medical needs of all American veterans would be met under the VA health care system. The VA later adopted a discriminatory rule that singles out transgender veterans and excludes coverage for medically necessary surgery to treat gender dysphoria, even when substantially similar surgeries are covered for non-transgender veterans.
BALIF, the Impact Fund, the National Women's Law Center, along with 13 other leading non profits and legal organizations, argued in its amicus brief that the VA's rule discriminates against transgender veterans on the basis of their sex and their transgender status.  Specifically, amici detailed case law demonstrating that there is a growing national consensus among courts and federal agencies that discriminating against transgender people because of their (1) perceived failure to conform to gender stereotypes; (2) transgender status; and/or (3) gender transition is unlawful sex discrimination. 
The case is currently pending before the DC Circuit, with further briefing and oral argument expected this year.  Read appellants brief here.

Giving to the BALIF Foundation

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the BALIF Foundation.  The Foundation recently launched and is working to assist BALIF in bringing LGBT judges to the bench and supporting scholarships, stipends and fellowships for law students and attorneys working in the LGBTQ community.  You can donate here.  In the four years ahead, we believe the Foundation's work will be critical in helping to protect our community.

And the Foundation is looking for Founding Circle members through the end of 2017 - pledge and pay as little as $1,000 to always be listed as a Founding Circle member of the BALIF Foundation.

For more information about the BALIF Foundation or how to get involved, contact Jamie Dupree jdupree@fddcm.com.  
BALIF & The BALIF Foundation

BALIF is the Bay Area's LGBT Bar Association, which is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, which can engage in political activity.  Its Board members are elected by the BALIF membership and chair various committees of the BALIF bar association.
The BALIF Foundation is BALIF's charitable arm.  Donations to the BALIF Foundation are tax deductible because it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  The BALIF Foundation is dedicated to increasing the number of LGBT judges on the bench through educational programming, supporting LGBT community organizations, and providing scholarships, summer stipends, and fellowships for LGBT  law students and young attorneys seeking to help the LGBT community through legal work.  It gave its inaugural summer fellowship for the summer of 2017.

Job Postings Now on BALIF Website
Looking for a job or a law school internship?  As a BALIF member you get access to all job postings.  Click here to see the opportunities, or log into the   BALIF website with your membership ID and password, and select JOBS on the menu on the left.
August 13 - An Evening with Jason Hsu, Taiwanese Legislator and Congressman
August 18 - BALIF Partner Exchange Luncheon
Our 2017-2018 Sponsors
Partner Level

Counsel Level




Advocate Level

A.L. Nella & Co., CPA
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Jones Day
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Pacific Gas & Electric
Sanford Heisler, LLP
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
Weaver, Austin, Villeneuve & Sampson LLP
Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Private Bank
White & Case LLP
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Benefactor Level

Individual Sponsors

BALIF Board of Directors
Nyla Moujaes & Peter Catalanotti
Jennifer Orthwein
Secretary &

Felicia Medina
Mario Choi

Annick Persinger
Judiciary Chair

Sarah Nicole Davis & 
George Tran
Gala Co-Chairs  

Alex Touma
Meaghan Zore
Stan Sarkisov
Communications Chair 

Jamie Dupree
Stephan Ferris
Ashley Pellouchoud
Community Ambassador Chair  

Jaclyn Gross & Kevin Jones
Follow BALIF

BALIF Foundation

BALIF Foundation
 Board of Directors
Jamie Dupree, Chair
Shay Gilmore

Chelsea HaleyNelson, Secretary

Laura Maechtlen

Nina Paul

Linda Scaparotti

David Tsai

John Unruh, Treasurer

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