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Esperanza Yanez grew up in Maryville, Tennessee. As the oldest of five, she is a first-generation everything in her family. She was the first to graduate college, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Spanish Literature and Language from Maryville College. During this time, she served as the Vice President of the Pre-Law Society, served as the Head Legal Delegate at the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature, and was awarded Exemplary Senior Study for her year-long research project on the correlation between culture and successful ethnic entrepreneurship. She was inducted into the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi, and helped initiate the Latino Student Alliance at Maryville College. After walking at graduation in 2016, she studied abroad in Tarragona, Spain, where she lived for six months and attended the University of Rovira I Virgili before returning to the states to pursue her dream of attending law school.
Esperanza graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in May of 2021. During this time, she served as the Secretary for the Latino Law Student Association, served as the South Atlantic Regional Director for the National Latinx Law Student Association, and pursued a summer term abroad at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. Esperanza received a CALI award for International Bankruptcy her 3L year and successfully completed the Business Transactions concentration through the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law.
After graduating in 2021, Esperanza took time off before sitting for the July 2022 Bar Exam. During this time, she realized she is more interested in protecting the constitutional rights of individuals than protecting the assets of corporations and re-discovered her passion for criminal defense work. In 2022, she founded the Knoxville Latino Bar Association to nurture and empower a community of Latinx attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students in East Tennessee. She is currently serving as the KLBA’s Vice President. Esperanza had the honor of being sworn in by Judge Hector Sanchez, Tennessee’s first Hispanic Criminal Court Judge, in November of 2022.
During her free time, Esperanza enjoys traveling (she’s visited 12 countries so far), attending music festivals and concerts, working out at Orangetheory and Hot Yoga, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the craft beer and foodie scene in Nashville!