News of our Success

News of our Success

BALI is making waves in the legal industry while reducing the justice gap. Hear about us.

Recent Media Hits

Read about BALI community attorney Christine MacDonald's reasons and rewards for choosing to build her own practice and the benefits of BALI in a feature at (7/19/16). 

BALI's success is featured in remarks of Dean John Trasvina, University of San Francisco School of Law (4/16).

Not able to make it to our ribbon cutting celebration? Here is a picture of the ribbon cutting event! The ribbon cutting honors was performed by Kenneth Kuchman, Executive Director of the Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation. Support of the Foundation made the build out and furnishing of the Hub a reality - Thank you! And thank you to all our supporters, collaborative partners, sponsors, and allies who attended this wonderful event.

BALI's ribbon cutting celebration is a great success. Read about it here in a report from University of San Francisco School of Law (4/16).

BALI celebrates its growth and the opening of its new community space - the Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Hub - at a ribbon cutting celebration on May 17, 2016. Read the press release

BALI is featured in California Bar Journal as one of the four California incubators launched with assistance from the State Bar and Access Commission: Incubators provide stepping stones for young lawyers (4/16).

BALI is featured in the American Bar Association's Student Lawyer in an article about resources aiding recent law graduates in becoming solos by design, not default: The Shingle (12/1/15).

BALI is featured in Find Law's article: Legal Incubators Nurture Small Firms, New Lawyers, highlighting innovative legal incubators at the cutting edge of legal practice. (9/10/15)

BALI's launch is featured in California Lawyer: How Legal Incubators are Trying to Train New Lawyers and Solve the 'Justice Gap' (9/15).

BALI is featured in Berkeley Law's alumni magazine: Bay Area Legal Incubator Mentors New Lawyers to Narrow Justice Gap (7/29/15).

BALI is featured in the CalAlumni Association's California Magazine: Hatching Legal Eagles: Incubator Helps Grads Open Private Practice for Needy Clients (7/20/15).

Watch this great spotlight, Legal Incubators Provide Legal Services to People of Modest Means, with Alameda County Bar Association and Volunteer Legal Services Corporation CEO Tiela Chalmers (6/30/15). Tiela originally conceived of BALI and organized its founding collaborative partners.

BALI is listed among legal incubators across the nation: National Incubator Bibliography.

Impacting People's Lives

What makes BALI a social impact hub? Our community of attorneys impacts people's lives. Here are some examples of recent victories created by BALI attorneys on behalf of our San Francisco Bay Area communities. 

  • March 2016 - Attorney and BALI community member WookSun (Phil) Hong won a trial in a modest means, eviction-defense case referred to him through BALI by the Alameda County Bar Association. Phil's client purchased and lived in a home in Oakland for over 20 years, but after the death of a relative living in the home with him, his family sought to evict him and claim the home as their inheritance. The client called the Alameda County Bar Association out of desperation just one week before trial after he could not secure counsel. No one would take the case and the client was out of leads. Phil took it on and won. Without BALI's referral and Phil's representation, it is doubtful that the client would have found representation or been able to defend himself. Because of BALI and Phil, a long-term resident of Oakland still has his home.
  • February 2016 - Attorney and BALI community member Gam Galindo takes on an innovative transactional business matter, assisting a modest-means business client developing an app that can revolutionize the cottage food industry. Our community of attorneys does not just go to court. It helps small business owners succeed in realizing their visions, which in turns helps create more sustainable communities.


Empowering Communities

BALI community attorneys ally with communities in their struggles to make change.

  • April 2016 - Attorney and BALI community member Brittney Sturtevant has been retained to help a historic San Francisco housing cooperative amend its bylaws, helping to guide a couple hundred members through a process by which they will create new, shared principals and rules to live by and direct the cooperative. Brittney is just one example of a BALI attorney invested in helping communities thrive by their own terms.
  • April 25, 2016 - Call to Action in solidarity with tenant clients of BALI attorney WookSun (Phil) Hong! What would you do if your rent or mortgage payments were raised by 50% over night? Raising rent by 10% in one month is extreme. Attempting to raise rent by 50% in a month is inhumane. After their landlord attempted to do just that, Phil's clients of organized to prevent not merely their own homelessness, but to protect other tenants in unincorporated areas of Alameda County as well. While Phil worked to delay and prevent the rent raise, the 22 tenants (some pictured here) organized a “call in”  on April 25th to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors demanding action to prevent such a disgrace from occurring again. Tenants need base protections. They asked any and all friends and allies to do the same. Phil's work embodies community activist lawyering. Tenants in Unicorporated Alameda County Demand Justice

Contributing to Innovation

BALI communities are on the cutting edge of legal practice, partnering with clients to realize their visions.

  • Attorney and BALI community member Jennifer Sta.Ana is a participant on the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking. Additionally, in collaboration with several community based organization, Jennifer is developing a policy report to support a campaign to reform the caregiving industry, in which many workers are victims of wage theft. And she joined over 200 members and allies of the California Domestic Workers Coalition to support SB 1015 at the State Capitol in Sacramento. SB 1015 will make overtime pay for domestic workers permanent. Jennifer’s work exemplifies how community attorneys do not merely work to enforce rights under existing law, but partner with communities to shape the law to achieve justice.
  • February 2016 - Attorney and BALI community member Gam Galindo takes on an innovative transactional business matter, assisting a modest-means business client developing an app that can revolutionize the cottage food industry. Our community of attorneys does not just go to court. It helps small business owners succeed in realizing their visions, which in turns helps create more sustainable communities.

Metrics for Success in Addressing the Justice Gap

2016 first quarter metrics, January 15 - April 15, 2016

  • Pro bono legal hours performed: 3,180+
  • Modest means cases taken: 19
  • Pro bono cases taken: 44, independent of pro bono apprenticeships (BALI attorneys perform a pro bono apprenticeships of 20 hours a week for the first six months of the program serving impoverished clients in collaboration with Bay Area nonprofits and pro bono counsel; these cases are on top of that pro bono commitment).

Standing Out for Excellence in the Legal Profession

BALI's community of attorneys might be new to solo practice, but they receive accolades and great results for their lawyering skill.

  • July 12, 2016 - BALI community attorney Rashida Harmon completed mission impossible when she successfully represented a client in his third life-term parole hearing, ultimately paving the way for his release after 20 years spent behind bars, and achieving a win few attorneys will ever realize. As of 2013, approximately 30,000 people in California prisons were serving indeterminate life sentences (meaning sentence that could extend up to a life term, but for which parole is a possibility). Although the rate of parole grants for life term prisoners has increased significantly in the past decade, it remains exceedingly low. Ms. Harmon credits her rare victory in great part to effective collaboration with her client, whose hard work and diligent preparation led to a successful presentation before the Board of Parole Hearings commissioners. For over a decade, Rashida's client has facilitated a program in San Quentin State Prison that gives imprisoned men the opportunity to mentor youth caught in the criminal legal system.  Rashida's efforts will help him realize his dream of launching a similar program out in the community upon release. Rashida received the case referral and training to support her skill development through the pro bono apprenticeship component of BALI's training program.

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