Alumni Spotlight

Robert Petersen '05

Robert PetersenSince graduating from UCLA School of Law in 2005, Robert Petersen has pursued not only a career in law, but also in music and history.

Robert became interested in music at the age of twelve, when friends from his Pasadena neighborhood wanted to form a rock band. He started playing the bass and later attended the Los Angeles County High School of Arts, where he received the Norris Foundation Scholarship for music. His passion for music continued through college, when he took a semester off from school to go on a nationwide tour with a rock band, and law school, when he flew into Los Angeles the day before the bar exam after playing the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Since law school, Robert has worked on a wide variety of projects including Snoop Dogg, Mary Lambert, Kanye West, John Legend, Miguel, Benny Cassette, Pierre De Reeder (Rilo Kiley), and Aaron Freeman (Ween).

Robert’s interest in L.A. history began with his family - all four of his grandparents moved to the L.A. area in the 1930s. While obtaining his undergraduate degree in history at U.C. Berkeley, Robert's honors thesis compared the development and history of different Los Angeles neighborhoods. Recently, Robert created the Hidden History of Los Angeles podcast, which explores the lesser-known aspects of L.A. history ( www.hiddenhistoryla.com). Past episodes have discussed L.A.’s never built freeways, the Chinese Massacre of 1871, and the bombing of the L.A. Times building in 1910.

With respect to his legal career, Robert is a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California where he specializes in civil litigation. He handles a variety of matters including employment discrimination lawsuits, writ petitions challenging DUI license suspensions, matters before the State Personnel Board, and horse racing cases with the California Horse Racing Board. He has also argued several cases in the Court of Appeal, one of which resulted in a published decision: Vitkievicz v. Valverde (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1306.

In addition, Robert serves as a board member for MiNDS (Medical Network Devoted to Service), a nonprofit organization that provides healthcare to underserved communities. He lives in Pasadena with his wife, Sarosh Qaiser, a fellow lawyer and UCLA School of Law graduate (‘03).