Weekly Newsletter        |        September 19, 2017
In This Issue
Message from the BALIF Board 

Where did the summer go? I cannot believe it is already September! As always, BALIF is at work putting together some important events coming your way! 
Our annual Halloween Fundraiser Extravaganza is set for  Wednesday, October 25th at SomaR Bar & Lounge in Downtown Oakland! This year, BALIF is proud to honor the vital work of California Rural Legal Assistance. CRLA provides free legal services to low income and marginalized communities throughout the state of California, including LGBTQ folks in rural communities. Their LGBT Program addresses poverty and access to justice for the advancement and protection of rural LGBT rights. You will hear from us in the near future on how you can support CRLA's important work! 
Also, we want you to know that BALIF's "Connections" Mentorship Program  is underway, and we are currently seeking mentors and mentees to participate in the program this year. Please consider signing up! 


Lindsey Rosellini
BALIF Community Activism Co-Chair

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 a Super Model for 
Making Out Women Visible

Laura Machten
BALIF member Laura Maetchlen has always been a role model for us.  Her dedication to the community as partner at Seyfarth Shaw, and co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Action Team and co-chair of the Labor & Employment Department, were recently noted by the Huntington Post.  Check out the " The New Supermodels 2.0" article to see her feature, and meet other super models who are making strides as LGBT+ women in business. 
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

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."    

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 26 - 2017 University of San Francisco School of Law Diversity Reception
October 25 - BALIF Annual Halloween Fundraiser Extravaganza
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