Maressa M. Cuenca is an attorney in Nexsen Pruet where she concentrates her practice on employment and labor matters. Before law school, she advocated at Julie Valentine Center, a sexual assault and child abuse recovery center.
Born and raised in Mexico, Maressa grew up in a diverse and loving family. Her Mexican father was born in Tanquián, San Luis Potosí and her Japanese mother was born in Wahiawa, Hawaii. This rich background instilled in her a passion for languages, culture, and traveling. In high school and college, she studied French, Russian, and Italian. She has traveled to France, Nepal, Hong Kong, Macau, Germany, Russia, and plans to add to the list.
Most importantly, Maressa’s parents raised her to value serving her community. As a teenager in Mexico, she tutored at-risk students to read and write in Spanish, and taught other students English. She volunteered in Yaroslavl, Russia, through the organization Cross Cultural Solutions, engaging orphans and people with physical disabilities. She experienced the beauty of humanity in them.
Before law school, she advocated at Julie Valentine Center, a sexual assault and child abuse recovery center. As an advocate, when someone was raped, she was immediately called to the hospital to support the survivor. Their stories made her realize the power behind free will: to hurt or to help, to build up or to destroy. The survivors gave Courage a face. They changed her life.
During law school, she interned with the International Legal Foundation in Kathmandu, Nepal, researching the plight of prisoners after its catastrophic earthquakes in 2015. During her 3L year at Washington & Lee School of Law, she represented, under the supervision of the Advanced Administrative Litigation Clinic’ director, coal miners and survivors who sought federal black lung benefits. She learned that helping people requires hard work and intentionality, but that they were well worth every sacrifice.
While our society expresses words and opinions on a daily basis, Maressa understands that impactful change happens by example. She has been inspired and challenged by powerful examples lived out by her parents and grandmother, among many that have come along her life-path. For that reason, she desires to stand behind and support qualified individuals who will lead our society through sacrificial public service.