At Bass, Berry & Sims, we are excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. As we embrace the rich tapestry of Hispanic and Latinx cultures that have left an indelible mark on the world, we honor the profound contributions, achievements, and enduring legacies of Hispanic and Latinx individuals, communities, and traditions.
During this heritage month, we would like to highlight one of our new law clerks – Alfonso Cuen. Alfonso recently joined the firm and we were excited to learn more about him!
How long have you been interested in the legal profession?
I never thought about going to law school until my senior year of undergrad. My ethics professor recommended I read a book called “Just Mercy,” which was written by a lawyer, and my admiration for the author was what got me thinking about the legal profession. I did some more research into what the legal profession was like and talked to practicing attorneys, which made me think that the practice of law was a good fit for me.
What kind of law do you anticipate practicing once you are admitted?
I am in my first year in the litigation group. I am excited to get experience in all sub-groups of litigation to see where I fit in well.
What did you do before law school?
Before law school, I taught sixth and eighth grade science for two years at Valor Collegiate Academies here in Nashville as a part of Teach For America. Since I didn’t know that I wanted to go to law school until late in my college career, I wanted to do something where I could have an impact and help students following my college years. My plan was to teach for five years and then reassess whether law school was the next step, but the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic in 2020 made me consider my long-term career goals a little sooner than expected.
What is your cultural background?
I was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, and moved to the United States when I was six years old. My family moved around for the first few years, but we eventually settled in the small town of Athens, Tennessee, which I consider to be my hometown. I would describe my cultural background as somewhere between a traditional Mexican upbringing and a Southern boy who has never driven anything other than a truck.
What are you most proud of within the Hispanic culture?
I am most proud of the strong role that family plays in Hispanic culture. Although I have lived in the U.S. for most of my life, I still feel a strong connection to my Mexican heritage because of my relationship with family who still lives in Mexico. I feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to grow up in a country that is different than my birth country where I can be fully Mexican and fully American at the same time.
What pro bono work did you do with Bass, Berry & Sims?
During my experience with the Pro Bono Internship program in the spring of 2022, I got to be a small part of litigation challenging the lethal injection protocol in Tennessee and the constitutionality of life sentences imposed on juveniles. I was drawn to Bass, Berry & Sims not only because of the kind of work done through the pro bono program, but because I got to know the attorneys who work here and I quickly knew I was surrounded by people who I wanted to be more like personally and professionally.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Anything related to sports or trying new restaurants with my wife.