Peter Edelman began his distinguished career in the field of social insurance before graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, when he served as a law clerk to Judge Henry Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals and then as a law clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg. A member of NASI since 1994, Edelman served as a co-chair of the Academy's 13th Annual Conference in 2001. This year he will speak at the Membership Luncheon before the 26th Annual Policy Conference, Strengthening the Web of Financial and Retirement Security for Today's Working Americans on January 29-30, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Known extensively for his scholarly work on poverty, Edelman is also a Professor of Law at Georgetown University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1982 and Associate Dean from 1989 to 1992. Edelman is a member of both the District of Columbia and the New York City Bar. Early in his career, he was a partner at Foley, Lardner, Hollabaugh & Jacobs.
Edelman also served as Director of the New York State Division for Youth and Vice President of the University of Massachusetts, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Issues Director for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign, and Law Clerk to Justice Arthur J. Goldberg on the Supreme Court of the United States. He served the Clinton Administration as both Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and then Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at DHHS. Edelman has also chaired and been a board member of many organizations and foundations, including the Center for Community Change, the Fair Employment Council of Greater Washington, and the Public Welfare Foundation.
Friend and colleague William Arnone praised him for his extensive work in furthering social insurance. “Peter Edelman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on poverty,” said Arnone, Chair of NASI’s Board of Directors. “He has dedicated his extraordinary career to dispelling myths about income equality and explaining the importance of social insurance in the United States.”
Edelman is a prolific writer who has authored several publications on poverty, constitutional law, and youth, including the book, So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard To End Poverty in America (New York: New Press 2012). Edelman is also co-editor, with Timothy Smeeding, of The Journal on Income Distribution and Income Assistance of the Social Insurance Research Network (SIRN).
Edelman is married to Marian Wright-Edelman, with whom he loves to travel and enjoys watching movies during his free time. Together they have three adult boys; Joshua, Jonah, and Ezra, and four grandchildren.