Instead of spending her summer at the beach or sleeping in, Venezah St. Louis focused on her career.
The 16-year-old spent most of June as an intern in Ronald J. Pak’s law office in Augusta.
“I want to be a lawyer one day,” Venezah said. “I’m kind of on the fence between criminal defense and prosecution. One day I hope to be involved in international war crimes.”
The rising Lakeside High School junior got in touch with Pak through her father, who arranged the internship. She spent 15 hours a week shadowing Pak as he dealt with clients. She also performed administrative tasks in the office.
Pak said he was happy to mentor Venezah.
“She’s very bright,” Pak said. “I can say that our future generation is definitely getting smarter. They should be given the opportunity to reach their potential in whatever endeavor they want to pursue.”
Venezah said she was excited to be exposed to the international aspects of the practice. Pak’s clients are of varied ethnicities and he works on many cases involving immigration and nationality issues.
“I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve never really done anything like (the internship),” Venezah said. “The number of people that come in who are trying to get a better life – it’s kind of sad when the laws the U.S. has don’t really allow that to happen.”
Venezah’s ability to speak and understand Spanish came in handy, she said. She’s a member of the National Spanish Honor Society and Beta Club as well as a basketball and lacrosse player at Lakeside.
Her parents, Richard and Belkys, of Martinez, are from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic, respectively. She hopes to attend college in New York, near family and where her parents met.
After her internship ended, Venezah spent a week at the end of July in Chantilly, Va., for the National Youth Law Forum. The students visited the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and heard several speakers from the legal field.
“It was pretty cool,” Venezah said.
Venezah’s summer expeditions into the legal field didn’t leave her much time for rest and relaxation before school started Tuesday.
But the internship and the inside view of the legal field it provided were valuable, she said.
“It was fun,” Venezah said. “It got me even more interested than I already am in the legal field.”