Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight – Kristen Cardenas

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight – Kristen Cardenas

What does your Hispanic heritage mean to you?

To me, my Hispanic heritage means celebrating my family. Both of my parents are from Ecuador, and, except for my maternal grandmother, my entire mom’s side of my family still live in Ecuador. My parents really wanted to make sure that I would always be in touch with my Hispanic roots, so, although I was born in Florida, Spanish is actually my first language! I didn’t learn English until I went to preschool and, growing up, I only spoke Spanish at home. Family is extremely important in Hispanic culture. I was fortunate enough to grow up with my maternal grandmother living with us, and she was so integral to my upbringing, I like to tell everyone I have two moms. Another big aspect of celebrating Hispanic culture is the food, so I was also lucky enough to come home every day to a home-cooked, Ecuadorian dish for family dinner, cooked by my grandma. One of her recipes is actually featured in our firm holiday cookbook!


In what ways has your heritage positively guided your decision to pursue a career in the legal field?

I knew I wanted to be a lawyer from a really young age. In college, I started seriously thinking about whether I definitely wanted to go to law school, and one thing that really pushed me to want to pursue a career in the legal field was my Hispanic heritage. My mother essentially uprooted her entire life to move to the United States because she wanted me to have the best future I could possibly have, and I’ve always carried that with me when it comes to my education and any decisions I’ve made about my career. I’ve always wanted to represent my heritage well, and part of the reason I decided to go to law school was because I wanted to help increase the number of Hispanic attorneys we have in the United States. Besides genuinely enjoying the work I do, my Hispanic heritage pushes me to want to show up to work every day as the best version of myself.


Tell us about your law practice at Tyson & Mendes.

I’m currently a post-bar law clerk for Tyson & Mendes. I’ve been working for the firm since the summer of my 2L year, and it’s been the most amazing work experience I’ve ever had. No two projects I’ve worked on have been the same, and I feel like I’ve learned and grown so much as a lawyer since I started working here! All the attorneys I’ve worked with have been incredible mentors and teachers. From shadowing depositions to drafting motions and pleas, I’ve gotten a chance to strengthen my writing and legal research skills and observe our attorneys doing what they do best – defend our clients!



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