Jed Peterson was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Grant High School, he attended Stanford University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He lived in Beijing and taught English at the China University of Geosciences. He returned to Portland and worked for The Oregonian for two years as a copy aide and editorial assistant, writing obituaries and the calendar of events for the Arts & Entertainment section.
Jed attended Lewis & Clark Law School, graduating cum laude in 2008. During law school, Jed was the Executive Editor of the Lewis & Clark Law Review. He was also awarded Outstanding Oral Advocacy and Honors Appellate Brief in a first-year moot court competition. He participated in a clinical internship seminar at the Metropolitan Public Defender, and he was a law clerk for two years for the Federal Public Defender of Oregon.
After he graduated from law school, Jed joined the Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS) in Salem, where he worked for five years as a deputy public defender. At OPDS, Jed represented hundreds of indigent criminal defendants during the direct appeal of their convictions. He has orally argued cases before the Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court, and his appellate advocacy has resulted in more than 40 published opinions.