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Peter Sitkin

Before co-founding Public Advocates in 1971, Sitkin worked for the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, a predecessor to Bay Area Legal Aid, serving people who couldn’t afford legal assistance, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His early specialty was welfare rights, and he worked to expand those rights throughout the U.S. In 1969, while at the Legal Assistance Foundation, Sitkin successfully argued the case of Wheeler vs. Montgomery before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case helped to establish the right of welfare recipients to receive a hearing before their benefits could be terminated.

Sitkin graduated from Cornell University and Columbia Law School with honors, and then moved to California to serve in the domestic Peace Corps in San Jose. His work with impoverished communities inspired his public advocacy, and led to his joining the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation.