Weekly Newsletter        |        September 12, 2017
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 

I love that San Francisco has always embraced a sex-positive and kink-positive culture.  The 34th Annual Folsom Street Fair will be held on Sunday, September 24th.  Folsom's mission is to unite adult alternative lifestyle communities with safe venues, to promote self-expression, and to raise funds to sustain both San Francisco-based and national charities. 

One of the San Francisco based-charities that the Folsom Street Fair directly benefits is the AIDS LEGAL REFERRAL PANEL.  BALIF founded the now independent AIDS Legal Referral Panel in 1983.  The organization has provided low-cost legal assistance to over 72,000 people.

Additionally, Folsom Street Fair benefits ESPLER PROJECT INC.  ESPLER is a diverse community-based erotic service provider led group which seeks to empower the erotic community and advance sexual privacy rights through legal advocacy, education, and research.
Come out and support local community activist organizations.  With the current administration, it is important to remain not only unified, but VISIBLE.  


Stephan Ferris
BALIF Social Chair

BALIF Teams Up  for 
September Happy Hour
& Hurricane Harvey Aid

Join BALIF,  BASF Charles Houston Bar Assoc ., and the  SF La Raza Lawyers Assoc . for a September happy hour and gallery viewing.
2017 University of San Francisco School of Law Diversity Reception
Come learn from and network with USF School of Law students and alumni from diverse student groups and diverse bar associations (including BALIF)! Food and drinks will be served. 
WHEN:  Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Nixon Peabody, One Embarcadero Center, Suite 1800, San Francisco, CA 94111-3600
MORE INFO: For more information, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Keya Koul, at  kkoul@usfca.edu 

BALIF's "Connections" 
Mentorship Program
BALIF's mentorship program is seeking mentors and mentees for 2017-2018.  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 Lauren Pietsch lauren@sallymorinlaw.com .  
Mentors and mentee pairs will be assigned on a rolling basis throughout the year. 

September Name/Gender Change Workshop
Send your client referrals to the Berkeley School of Law  Name and Gender Change Workshop , a free clinic directly serving the LGBTQ community, during their September 2017 workshop. The Workshop helps pro-bono legal service recipients in drafting, reviewing, and filing necessary documents for a court-ordered name and/or gender marker change to their government-issued identity documents.   
Workshop Focus: Legal name and gender changes (with future workshops in October and November).

About: Please send any client referrals to the workshop.  The Workshop has enough attorney support, but asks that you help spread the word about this helpful opportunity.  Please invite folks who pay be in need of free legal assistance in changing the name/gender on their ID documents. 

When: September 27, 2017 (Wed), 6-8:00 p.m. 

Where: East bay Community Law Center (2921 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA)

Contact: More information, or to sign up, email ngwberkeley@gmail.com, or call 510-560-4213 (signing up encouraged).

ALRP Event Announcement

The AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP) is holding its  ALRP  From the Heart 34th Annual Reception & Auction on  Wednesday, October 18, 2017 from 6:00-9:00pm  in the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange in San Francisco (465 California Street, near Montgomery Street). ALRP's reception features gourmet catered hors d'oeuvres, wine and beverages, a silent & live auction, and great networking.

During this special evening, we will honor those who have made a lasting difference in the lives of people with HIV/AIDS and recognize ALRP's 34 years of achievement. ALRP will be presenting its 2017 Clint Hockenberry Leadership Award to John Rosenzweig, Esq.the ALRP 2017 Attorney of the Year Award to Sharon Dulberg, Esq., and the ALRP 2017 Firm of the Year Award to Jones Day.

Tickets start at just $100  and can be purchased by contacting Jim McBride at (415) 701-1200 ext. 301 jim@alrp.org, or simply pay at the door on October 18th.

BALIF Member Authors Article in 
BASF Magazine
BALIF Board member Stan Sarkisov's article on cohabitation is featured in this quarter's issue of San Francisco Attorney Magazine (a publication of the Bar Association of San Francisco).  "The Risky Business of Living Outside the Marriage Box" was co-authored with Erin Levine (Levine Family Law Group) and is available online  here

BALIF's Statement Regarding 
Piedmont Mayor's Resignation
Jeff Weiler resigned as the Mayor of Piedmont over the weekend after a public outcry concerning racist and transphobic statements he posted on Facebook and elsewhere, that included:
  • "Black Lives Matter encourages cop killing,"
  • "Democrats are the plantation slave masters of today," and
  • "Transgenders are mentally ill."
BALIF condemns these statements as inappropriate, divisive, false, and particularly harmful when made by a public official.  While BALIF is heartened that Weiler resigned as Mayor in response to wide-spread community criticism, he remains a member of the Piedmont City Council.  BALIF encourages its members and the community to continue to speak out when confronting bigotry, racism, sexism and homo and transphobia.  It cannot be tolerated.  

Medina Orthwein LLP Files Suit Against CDCR Exposing LGBTQ Prisoner Harassment and Abuse. 
On Monday, August 14, 2017, Felicia Medina and Jennifer Orthwein, two Directors on the BALIF Board and Partners at Medina Orthwein LLP, filed a complaint on behalf of Dr. Lori Jespersen, a Psychologist employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), in the United States District Court - Eastern Division of California.
The complaint alleges that Dr. Jespersen has been discriminated against, harassed, and retaliated against for advocating on behalf of gay and transgender prisoners and because of her own sexual orientation and gender non-conformity.  Dr. Jespersen has blown the whistle on correctional officers and CDCR's habitual violations of the Prison Rape Elimination Act and HIPAA.
In response, Dr. Jespersen safety has been put in danger by correctional officers, prisoners, and CDCR.  Custody staff locked her on units alone with prisoners, including a multi-term violent sex offender.  She has been stalked and intimidated by a custody officer who also incited violence against her by prisoners and was then constructively demoted by CDCR to a desk job and is no longer allowed to see patients.
"LGBTQ prisoners are disproportionately subjected to harassment and physical and sexual abuse. I admire Dr. Jespersen's strength and courage to expose how LGBTQ people are suffering behind CDCR's walls," said Jennifer Orthwein.
"It is time for CDCR to be held accountable and take intentional, meaningful steps to address their abusive and hostile culture. Dr. Jespersen's lawsuit seeks not only to vindicate her rights,  but the rights of some of the most vulnerable populations caught up in the prison industrial complex," said Felicia Medina. 
Read more about this lawsuit here: 

BALIF Board Member Convicts 
Santa Clara Deputy Sheriff 
On June 29, 2017, George Tran, a prosecutor and board member of BALIF, proved at a jury trial and convicted Santa Clara Deputy Sheriff Benjamin Lee for brandishing a loaded firearm at employees in a Jack In The Box drive-thru. The deputy was also drunk driving, stopped at the drive-thru after a night of partying with his friends.  According to the employees, the deputy got angry and rude.  He demanded his food, and refused to put his gun away when asked.  That was when one of the employees called 911.  Santa Clara County Judge Vanessa Zecher sentenced the deputy sheriff on August 18, 2017.  As part of that sentence, Judge Zecher placed a 10-year ban prohibiting him from owning or possessing any firearms and ammunition.
"This is a reminder that the community will not tolerate bullies or abusive government actors.  Defendant Lee soiled his badge and the office he served.   Because of his criminal act, he has further eroded public trust in law enforcement and made less safe for good police officers to do their jobs," stated George Tran. "This was the right outcome. The victims stood up against a bully and made it better."    

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. 
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.
September 14 - BALIF Teams Up for Happy Hour 
September 26 - 2017 University of San Francisco School of Law Diversity Reception
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