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Consumer Attorneys Leader Sees Challenges Ahead

11/16/2021 | Daily Journal
Craig M. Peters began his career as a public defender. While he's technically on the other side of the courtroom these days as a civil plaintiffs' attorney, he said the two roles feel similar.
"I've been accused of having an overdeveloped sense of right and wrong, which I think was not meant as a compliment," Peters said. "I think I naturally gravitate to the side of the underdog."
This weekend, Peters will ascend to the presidency of the Consumer Attorneys of California at the organization's 60th annual convention in San Francisco. The group is meeting in person this year after holding last year's convention virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peters has been active with the group for years, gradually moving up the ranks of officers in a process he said takes seven years or more. ICs the sort of predictable path he pictured as a young law student, in the days before his professional career took a sudden turn.
When he was nearly finished at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Peters thought he had a sought-after summer job set up at a prominent plaintiffs' firm. The gig fell apart at the last minute due to scheduling issues. On short notice, he was able to set up a workstudy arrangement with the Contra Costa County public defender's office.
This led to more than a decade as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. His first paycheck was a bit of a shock. Peters said he made more working part-time jobs as a senior in high school than he did in his first year in the public defender's office.
But he also quickly realized the fast-paced job had a lot to offer him as motions in court. The work also taught him resilience.
"They learn how to lose, and how to bounce back from it," Peters said. "Thats one of the things I'm most grateful for."