Patti Roberts

1946 - 2011
UC Berkeley Boalt Hall

Patti Roberts was born November 13, 1946 in Queens New York to a working class Jewish family. She studied at the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, where she received her Bachelors degree in Political Science. Upon completion of her degree she attended UC Berkeley (Boalt) School of Law, where she explored her activist side and became a strong proponent for social justice.

While in law school Patti Roberts was actively involved in the anti-war, freedom of speech, feminist and gay movements of the 1970’s. During this period she involved herself with the National Lawyers Guild in San Francisco fighting for the rights of those poorly served by the legal system.

After becoming an attorney, Roberts worked with the Women’s Litigation Unit at San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Aid serving poor women. She was one of the earliest advocates to raise concerns regarding the connection between inequity of pay, gender and race, leading to her founding the Comparable Worth Project in Oakland. She became an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University in the Paralegal Certificate Program, where she was able to spread her knowledge of the law and passion for justice. Roberts also became a founding board member of the Lesbian Rights Project where she later played the role of director. She was actively involved with the National Lawyers Guild throughout her life, holding the position of chapter president, mentor, and member of the civil rights committee.

Patti Roberts was a strong proponent of civil rights and was able to impact many people through her practice, mentorship and teaching. Her legacy lives on in those whom were blessed with the opportunity to meet and learn from her, and her spirit remains with us in our struggle for justice.