Peter Thompson practiced criminal law in Minnesota for 33 years. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Service award from the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2008 he received the lifetime civil liberties award from the American Civil Liberties Union (MN). In 2002 he received the Earl R. Larson Award for exemplary service in criminal defense of the poor from the United States District Court. Thompson received the 2019 Mitchell Hamline Adjunct of the Year award.
As an Assistant United States Attorney and Federal Public Defender, he prosecuted and defended federal criminal cases for seven years. Thereafter he tried criminal cases in private practice with Thompson, Lundquist and Sicoli, Ltd., in Minneapolis, including conducting defense in the United States v. Dr. John Najarian. Thompson’s practice included pro bono work in defending civilly disobedient defendants in protests again nuclear weapons at Honeywell, landmines at Alliant Tech, and the training of human rights violators at the Army School of the Americas in Georgia. Thompson was active with Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights regarding war crimes and human rights investigations in Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Haiti, India, Cambodia, and represented immigrants applying for political asylum in the United States.
In 2002 Thompson enrolled in United Theological Seminar and graduated in 2006 with a Masters in Theology and Religion. He received the Francis X. Pirazzini Award for theological acumen and ethical sensitivities regarding contemporary social and cultural problems.