Biography

The Honorable KAREN K. PETERS is Of Counsel to the Litigation & Business Disputes practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. She is a trailblazer in New York’s legal community, with a judicial career spanning nearly 35 years, including as the former Presiding Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department. At Epstein Becker Green, Justice Peters provides assistance with trial and appellate briefings, advocacy, and strategies.

Justice Peters began her legal career in private practice (and taught gender discrimination in the law and criminal law as an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz). She later served as an Assistant District Attorney in Dutchess County, New York; as counsel to the New York State Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse; and as Director of the New York State Assembly’s Government Operations Committee. Her judicial career began in 1983, when she became the first woman elected to Ulster County’s Family Court bench. In 1992, she became the first woman elected to the New York State Supreme Court in the Third Department (and was reelected in 2006). In 1994, she was appointed to the Appellate Division, Third Department, and, in 2012, became the first woman named as Presiding Justice of the Third Department. Justice Peters retired from the bench in December 2017.

She currently serves as the Chair of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children (formed in 1988 to improve the life chances of justice-involved children and adolescents), the New York State Unified Court System’s Commission on Parental Legal Representation, and the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on the New York State Constitution.

In addition to those notable accomplishments, Justice Peters is the recipient of numerous honors, including the 2017 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare, the 2017 Betty Weinberg Ellerin Mentoring Award, the New York State Bar Association’s Judicial Section Inaugural Award for Advancement of Judicial Diversity, the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society’s Public Service Leadership Award, the Capital District Women's Bar Association’s Justice Kaye Distinguished Membership Attorney Award, Albany Law School’s Kate Stoneman Award, and the Robert L. Haig Award for Distinguished Public Service. 

Education
  • New York University School of Law (J.D., 1972)
  • The George Washington University (B.A., 1969)
Bar Admissions
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • New York State Courts
Memberships
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Committee on Judicial Wellness (Former Chair)
    • Committee on the New York State Constitution (Chair)
    • Special Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
    • Special Committee on Procedures for Judicial Discipline
    • President’s Committee on Access to Justice
  • New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children (Chair)
  • New York State Unified Court System
    • Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
    • Commission on Parental Legal Representation (Chair)