August Alumni Spotlight: Paige Peterson

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Justice Paige Petersen graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah in 1995. During her undergraduate career she double-majored in political science and English. She then received her Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School.

As a student, she completed two Hinckley internships: one with the Utah State Senate during the 1992 session and one as a D.C. intern at the White House in the winter of 1995. 

Looking back at her time as a Hinckley Intern, Justice Petersen remembers the intensity and enthusiasm of the Utah Legislative Session particularly noting the energy of the final night of session, when the 45 days culminates in one final rush to get everything wrapped up.

As a White House intern, Justice Petersen made wonderful friends with her fellow interns. Together, they took advantage of Washington, DC's central location and traveled as much as possible — from Virginia to Pennsylvania to New York.

When asked how the Hinckley Institute has impacted her life, Justice Petersen answered, "I loved every day of both of my internships. Both of them deepened my desire to have a career in public service, and that stuck. After a couple of years working at a private firm, I've spent my career as a federal prosecutor, a war crimes prosecutor, a now in the Utah State judiciary. The Hinckley Institute helped me discover the right path for me."

After graduation, Petersen went on to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Organized Crime Section, Narcotics Section and General Crimes Section for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York from 2003 to 2008. She also served as a legal officer in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague in the Netherlands from 2009 to 2011. 

From 2012 to 2015, Petersen was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Violent Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. She then served as a judge of the Utah Third Judicial District Court from 2015 until she was appointed to serve as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court in 2017.