Judge Lopez grew up in a small town about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, New York. He attended SUNY Brockport studying Political Science and History. After law school at the University of Wisconsin, he moved to Bogota, Colombia to work for a Jesuit human rights organization. In October, 1996, Mike returned to the US following the murder of his friend and human rights lawyer, Josue Giraldo Cardona. Mike continued activism surrounding US intervention in Colombia until he began work at the Monroe County Public Defender’s office in 1998. During 20 years as a public defender he handled a major felony case load and supervised younger staff. Before his election to the Rochester City Court bench in 2018, Mike was highly engaged in the Rochester’s progressive activist community, but closest to his heart are the 100s of city youth he coached an mentored over 15 years with Flower City Soccer. His three sons, Nicolas, Cameron, and Miguel, are in their 20s and he lives in NW Rochester with his wife Erica, a Monroe County Probation Officer.