With her family originating in Bordeaux, Léa Cazaudumec Lucas was fortunate to avoid the experience of culture shock when she jetted to Lyon, France, to begin her summer internship with Interpol. Despite her familiarity with the French language and culture, she spent time adjusting to her new customary work hours, highlighting the long lunches and coffee breaks of her coworkers.
“I’ve always wanted to have an academic experience abroad, but the pandemic interfered with those plans,” she says. “I was looking for an international work environment and Interpol has surpassed all of my expectations.”
Fluent in French and Spanish as well as English, Lucas is putting her law school experiences to good use as an intern for the Notices and Difficusions Task Force (NDTF). NDTF is in charge of authorizing or denying requests for the publication of a Red Notice or recording of a Diffusion, which is an international request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.
While much of her work at Interpol is confidential, Lucas is spending her free time immersing herself in Lyon. She highlights Lyon’s most famous park, Parc de la tête d’or or Park of the Golden Head, which is the largest urban park in France and borders Interpol Headquarters, making it the perfect place for a work picnic. Additionally, the NDTF office organizes social activities and boasts their own coffee bar for employees to sip on espressos during their breaks.
“Lyon is the second most populated city of France, especially known for its cuisine and gastronomy,” she explains. “In fact, it's often referred to as “the gastronomic capital of France.” Lyon is also a very walkable city and if people don't walk they are often seen on bikes. Additionally, the "slopes" of the area that I live in, Croix-Rousse, are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.”
When she returns to Cleveland at the end of the summer, Lucas is excited to jump back into life at Case Western Reserve, including the student organizations she is involved with. As the Work Permit Director for the Refugee Outreach Collective (ROC), she helps with completing and submitting work permits for refugees in the Cleveland area. ROC offers 1Ls the opportunity to work directly with clients and get hands-on experience.
Lucas is also the Vice President of the Latinx Law Students Association (LLSA) and believes that it’s key to give underrepresented communities in law, such as the Latinx population, a voice and support as they are navigating the complexity of the legal profession.
“Law school can be a rough transition for underrepresented minorities, and having a support system is important,” she says. “I've found that support in LLSA. We hold numerous events throughout the year with our gala being our most important one that recognizes/promotes Latinx attorneys/people in the legal field throughout Cleveland while celebrating our cultural heritage.”
While Lucas is still determining her path after law school, she hopes to bring her international interests and passion for health law to the table, aiming to do pro bono work to help underrepresented communities and populations get the legal representation they so desperately need, while putting both her native languages, Spanish and French, to use.
“I want to be an attorney to help people, and those who may lack the voice to advocate for themselves.”