Hundreds Attend Testimonial Dinner Honoring Brad Seligman and Aliya Karmali

On April 9th our chapter honored Brad Seligman with the Champion of Justice Award and Aliya Karmali with the Unsung Hero Award at our Annual Testimonial Dinner. Over 400 people attended the event in downtown Oakland which featured documentary filmmaker Abby Ginzberg, Impact Fund board member Mari Mayeda, and a legislative award from Senator Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Bill Monning. There was also great entertainment by Sarchasm.

More information on the honorees:

Champion of Justice Brad Seligman

Brad Seligman is one of the nation's most respected civil rights attorneys. We're also proud to claim him as a long-time activist in the Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Brad currently is Senior Counsel at the Impact Fund, a public foundation which he founded in 1992. The Impact Fund provides financial and technical support as well as experienced legal counsel in complex public interest litigation. Through the Impact Fund, Brad is also helping to train a new generation of public interest class action litigators.

The important civil rights cases Brad has tried, argued, won, or settled are enough to fill a text book. But the one that has brought most recognition is the nationwide class action gender discrimination case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., for which Brad serves as lead counsel. In 2010, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed class certification, making Dukes the largest civil rights class action ever certified. The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case later this term.

Brad has been a strong force behind the Chapter's Central America Task Force since 1986, when he participated in his first delegation to Nicaragua. Since then, he has organized and participated in Guild delegations to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. He is also one of our first and continuing Sustainers.

In addition to these accomplishments, Brad clerked for Federal District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton after graduating from Hastings in 1978. He also has served on the Board of Directors of Equal Rights Advocates and California Rural legal Assistance, and he has taught at Golden Gate University, Hastings, Stanford, and UCLA. Before joining the Impact Fund, Brad served as the managing partner of the Oakland civil rights law firm of Saperstein, Seligman, Mayeda and Larkin (now called Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian).

Last but not least, Brad plays a mean guitar with "Unintended Consequences," a rock and roll band that counts among its illustrious musicians members of both the Bay Area legal community and Brad's immediate family.

Unsung Hero Aliya Karmali

Aliya Karmali joined the Guild as a law student in 2006. The Guild was a political home for her during that time, and she became involved with the work of the United People of Color Caucus, Anti-Racism, Demonstrations and Immigration Committees. She later served on the chapter board as Law Student Vice President and the national board as the Anti-Sexism Committee co-chair.

As part of her efforts, Aliya has Legal Observed on innumerable occasions, helped organize many Progressive Lawyering Days, put together the first delegation of Guild attorneys to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in New York, and co-facilitated the Bay Area's first series of anti-oppression workshops for public interest law students.

Aliya is deeply honored to have been nominated for the Unsung Hero 2011 award, in the powerful tradition of her predecessors. As a self-identified woman of color, she is thankful for having had the opportunity to contribute to the leadership of the Guild.