Patricia (Patti) Rose Roberts was a longtime San Francisco Bay Area resident and civil rights and labor attorney. The papers
document her interest in prison reform, George Jackson and Stephen Bingham, comparable worth and pay equity for women, gay
and lesbian issues in the workplace, and employment discrimination. The collection contains subject files, photographs; books
and magazines, and posters and ephemera.
Patricia (Patti) Rose Roberts was a longtime San Francisco Bay Area resident, an out lesbian, and a civil rights and labor
attorney. She was born in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, on November 13, 1946. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1967
and went to UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. She graduated from Boalt in 1970 with a J.D. degree and a desire to use
her legal skills to help those traditionally without representation. That same year, she formed a collective Oakland household
where she and others, including Stephen Bingham, lived. While others moved out, Ms. Roberts lived in the home for the next
Roberts began her career working on behalf of prisoners at the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and remained active with the
organization, serving as president of the Bay Area chapter and on the local NLG board. While continuing to do political work
with the guild, Roberts began work as the head of the Women's Litigation Unit at San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Aid, representing
poor women on a wide range of legal issues. Following her time at Legal Aid, Ms. Roberts founded and co-directed the Comparable
Worth Project in Oakland, which pioneered much of the earliest legal work on the issue of pay inequity rooted in gender and
In 1977, Patti became a founding board member of the Lesbian Rights Project, later re-named the National Center for Lesbian
Rights, and later served as NCLR interim executive director. NCLR is a nonprofit organization that was created to promote
LGBT rights through litigation, public policy advocacy and public education.
Roberts began private practice as an employment discrimination attorney in 1990 and also taught LGBT, legal, and labor studies
at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University Extension. As a lawyer, her practice gravitated toward
the defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights as well as women's and minority rights in the Bay Area. During
her entire career, Roberts remained an outspoken advocate for feminist and LGBT rights. Patti Roberts died unexpectedly on
January 7, 2011.