Golden opportunity


Wayne Law student served as intern in nation’s capital

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Marie Bonnici may owe her interest in the law to the fictional “Harry Potter.” 

“As a child, I loved the Harry Potter series,” she says. “I remember feeling upset when the Ministry of Magic sent one of the characters to Azkaban—the wizard prison—without a trial. I believe that was my first brush with injustice.”

While studying for her bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies and a minor in criminal justice at Madonna University in Livonia, Bonnici participated in outreach through United Way and Alternative Spring Break.

“I realized just how much injustice existed within our system,” she says. “I felt a law degree would be the first step in allowing me to be a participant in solving these issues.”

While she had always toyed with the idea of going to law school, Bonnici initially decided against attending. After graduating from Madonna University, she worked as a paralegal at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn; and then as a senior trust adviser at Plante Moran Trust—where a female trust officer, an attorney, strongly encouraged her to take the LSAT and apply to law school.

“I was lucky she did because this has afforded me opportunities I never thought possible,” says Bonnici, now in her 3L year at Wayne State University Law School, where she has particular praise for her professors. “Their enthusiasm for their areas of law is contagious,” she says.

Bonnici was one of four students selected by the Levin Center at WSU Law School for a 10-week legal internship in congressional committee offices in Washington, D.C. this past summer, where she worked under Senator Sherrod Brown  (D-Ohio), on the Committee for Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

“I enjoyed working on the investigations team because I learned how banking and financial institutions are currently regulated and their relationship with the federal government,” she says. “I attended a few confirmation hearings, including Kathleen Krainger, who was nominated to be the Director of Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.”

Bonnici had the opportunity to tour the Senate floor with Sen. Brown, met Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, and passed Sen. Bernie Sanders outside the Senate Hart Building.

She also enjoyed the social life in D.C.

“Obviously, the National Mall is a lot of fun. However, there are a lot of interesting bars and restaurants to visit,” she says. “I highly ­recommend Dirty Habit for a relaxed ­atmosphere with outdoor seating. Also, Copycat makes a wonderful Celery Gimlet.”

Currently vice chair of the Levin Center Students at Wayne Law, and a participant in the Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic, Bonnici would like to work in public service.

“I’d like to find a position that’s fulfilling, specific to my skill set, and part of a positive atmosphere,” she says.

A Riverview native who now lives in Clawson in Oakland County, Bonnici enjoys playing tennis, travelling, and reading.

“My mom is a CPA who spent her career at Honigman and her free time playing hockey. My dad is also a hockey player. I have two younger sisters who moved to Chicago. To my parents’ dismay, none of us play hockey,” she says with a smile.

She enjoys studying in the heart of the Motor City.

“As an evening student, I usually end up parking on the roof of the parking structure across from the law school,” she says. “My favorite part of Detroit is the view from the top of the parking lot at the end of the day. The city is lit up and quiet. It’s usually my only moment of stillness.”