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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.

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 . That’s because she is one of the lawyers on the defense team at the 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 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

Anna Hultin September 04, 2012 at 12:03 PM
When Drew Peterson is arrested for Staci's death...is the Lopez team coming back for free to defend him....or have you had enough of your so called high profile trial...a woman ...mother is dead...if this case hadn't come with so much publicity...would the Lopez team even bothered....your group has turned it into a circus and that's sad...
Tim rice September 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM
What are the chances that they will return if an appeal is necessary? At some point their other clients will require more of their time. And I have to believe that attracting more clients would be one of their goals in taking this case. Can't see 'em being too much more charitable towards Drew. Not even sure that this case is "pro bono". Drew already has assets, income and a possible future stream of income from books, or movies.
Mickey September 04, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Yeah!!! Sounds like MY COUSIN VI NNY! What a team Pesci & Tomei made. Same age difference too!
Kristie September 04, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I thought that I read that she was also convicted of a felony for make false returns to her own credit card when she worked at a department store.
Phil Lopian September 04, 2012 at 04:47 PM
There will no doubt be an appeal filed if he is found guilty. That will probably go to the Supreme court and take forever!
Ray September 04, 2012 at 07:53 PM
There should be an appeal if he's found guilty. There is not a single piece of evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt he did this. Without the hearsay evidence the prosecution had nothing and in my opinion this case should have never went to trial. If you have to rewrite the constitution and the bill of rights to convict someone the price paid for the conviction was way too high. And yes my personal opinion is he did it. But in my heart of hearts I know if I was on that jury I'd keep thinking of the words "beyond a reasonable doubt" and I'd vote not guilty.
tom September 04, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean beyond all doubt. There is no legal definition for the term "beyond a reasonable doubt".
Ray September 04, 2012 at 08:24 PM
@ tom. I never stated anything about all doubt. In a phrase like beyond a reasonable doubt I feel it's going to come down to the individual to make that determination of what is reasonable for themselves. For me hearsay and circumstantial evidence is not going to do it. It would leave me with strong doubts. Well beyond what beyond reasonable means to me. I would read "all doubt" to be what a lawyer would try and do. Get any little seed of doubt planted in someones mind and go for not guilt based on that. That's not at all what I was saying.

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