Research Areas

Law; Cuba; Writing


J.D., Boston University

B.A., Smith College

Maria Isabel Lopez

Maria Isabel Lopez

Maria Isabel Lopez

Born in Havana, Cuba, Maria Lopez came to this country with her family in 1961 fleeing the Cuban revolution. In 1988, she became the first Latina appointed a judge in the Massachusetts Trial Court system. During her fifteen years on the bench, she handled a number of high profile cases and earned a reputation as a fiercely independent, liberal judge. At age 50, her last child leaving for college, she resigned from the bench in the midst of controversy.

Maria practiced law for ten years before becoming a judge. Her entire legal career was in public service, working for Legal Services, as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division for the Massachusetts Attorney General as Counsel to the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants.

In the course of her legal/judicial career, she was involved in numerous educational and civic activities, including six years as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Boston University Law School and founding member of the George Lewis Ruffin Society, an organization dedicated to creating an understanding between law enforcement and the minority community.

From fall 2006 - spring 2008, Maria presided on "Judge Maria Lopez," a nationally syndicated television show.

Current Projects

I am working on a memoir about my judicial career, and I am active on Cuba related policy issues. Recently, I became involved in several Cuban art projects, including trying to bring an exhibition of the work of Belkis Ayon (1967-1999), a Cuban artist whose work focused on the Abakua, an all male secret society from West Africa who venerate women, which took root in Cuba during the 16th Century.

Representative Publications