Only Woman on Drew Peterson Defense Team Balances Work and Life
Lisa Lopez admits she gets hate mail. But, she says, it makes her stronger.
Lisa Lopez is like any other working mother.
She finds the quality time to spend with her 4-year-old son when she can.
“I let him eat breakfast right in my room,” she says of her current approach. “He has a picnic, while I put on my makeup and curl my hair.
“Just like any other working mom out there knows, you have to wear many hats.”
Lopez has been working a number of extra hours as of late and she worked all through the weekend and on Labor Day. That’s because she is one of the lawyers on the defense team at the Drew Peterson murder trial. In fact, she is the only woman on that team.
Although she rises above it, Lopez said she gets her share of hate mail for her position on the team. She said, though, it really isn’t usually just because she is a woman defending Peterson.
“People were angry at me because of the way my husband had cross examined the witnesses,” she said. “People had called me a gold digger. One woman had said the only reason you are with your husband is for the money.”
Lopez is married to fellow defense team member Joe Lopez. She catches heat for things he does in the courtroom. But, she says he is a great attorney and a great mentor.
Joe Lopez has been practicing law since the early 1980s and Lisa Lopez for less than three years. And, yes, there is a difference in their ages. Joe Lopez is 22 years older than his wife.
The two, though, practice side by side, often color coordinating their outfits. Those in the law field often refer to them as the Lopi, a name coined by a judge in Skokie while the two were working on a case there. The two have been married about 10 years.
Always a dream
Lisa Lopez said she has always wanted to be a lawyer, but it was actually her second dream.
“I always wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 13 years old,” she said.
She admits the dreams of being a lawyer were often accompanied by dreams of being a model, but those took a backseat. She even told her grandfather of her dreams to be an attorney.
“He said there are too many lawyers in this world; you should go to business school,” she said.
So she did. She attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned a degree in finance. She quickly realized, though, that a career in finance was not for her.
“I wanted to be able to express my point of view,” she said.
Lopez has had that chance throughout her career in law and most recently on Friday when she requested that the Peterson jury have instructions from Judge Edward Burmila on the definition of hearsay evidence.
“The idea for the hearsay instruction, it was my idea to introduce an instruction on hearsay,” she said. “If the jurors are allowed to know what circumstantial evidence is, they should certainly be entitled to know what hearsay evidence is.”
Closing arguments in the trial begin Tuesday morning at the Will County Courthouse.