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As he prepares to graduate from UT’s College of Law, Carlos Yunsan says he feels like he’s come full circle.

Growing up in Panama, he saw the lawlessness of dictator Manuel Noriega’s regime. And, he said, the fall of the dictatorship in 1989 is etched in his memory.

“Coming to law school is, in a way, coming back to that and remembering that it’s important for a country to be ruled by law,” he said.

Yunsan moved to the United States in 1994 for school. He has lived in the Knoxville area for the past nineteen years.

“I became an adult here,” he said. “Knoxville is home now.”

He has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a master’s degree in nutrition and public health, both from UT. He worked in public health for eight years before entering law school.

The Knox County Health Department sponsored Yunsan when he went to work for them so he could become a permanent resident of the United States. Previously, he had been in the country on student and work visas.

At first, he wanted to study law so he could work on health policy and “make a larger impact on people” than he could in public health, he said. Once in law school, he discovered “law has a lot of exciting areas to go into.”

He chose UT’s advocacy and dispute resolution track. Once he graduates, he’ll be working for the office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz PC in Knoxville. He will split his time between commercial litigation and civil defense.

He lives in West Knoxville with his wife, Paromita, who is from India.

“Our house is very international,” he said. “Our dogs are Australian shepherds.”


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