For 'Shame': Book details persecution under communist regime

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Law student Monika Koleci doesn’t only read books—she’s written and published one.

“Shame Among the Shameless,” available from Amazon, tells the story of her grandfather and his entire family who were harshly persecuted by the Albanian communist regime.

“Although I didn’t experience a glimpse of this hardship in life, I grew up hearing about my family's persecution,” says Koleci, a native of Lezhë, Albania, who came to the United States with her family in 1996.

“For a young child, being raised in America, only knowing freedom and opportunity, it was difficult to comprehend the reality of my ancestors. Their thirst for freedom was met with oppression, torture, and even death. They were accused of political crimes but never proven guilty before the court of law, nor did they opportunity to prove their innocence. All it took was one accusation for a life to be ruined. The lives of my ancestors were torn apart by a ruthless government and no one was ever held accountable.

“I felt heartbroken knowing there was nothing I could do to change their unfortunate fate until I one day realized there was something I could do. Even though the injustice they faced can never be made right, at the very least, I decided it should never be forgotten.”

Koleci’s parents, Valentin and Vida Koleci, worked blue-collar jobs “with a grateful heart” to provide a better life for Koleci and her siblings—Julianne, 21, and 15-year-old Elvin.

“Today, my parents are small business owners and continue to display the same strong work ethic and perseverance,” Koleci says.

Koleci continued that legacy, first by earning her undergrad degree in political science and government from Oakland University.

“For as long as I can remember, my parents always had news stations blaring on the TV—so, from a young age, I was exposed to American politics and quickly became intrigued with politics and the concept of democracy,” she says. “When I felt eager to learn more, I knew political science was the degree I needed to pursue.”

She began applying to law firms as early as her sophomore undergrad year, and took a job as a legal assistant at Roosen, Varchetti and Olivier in Clinton Township. The work provided an opportunity to assist legal role models, while learning the law from the ground up.

“I was eager to get my foot in the door and didn't want to wait until law school to begin gaining experience in the legal field,” she says.

Now in her final months at Detroit Mercy Law, Koleci believes it’s a privilege to live in a country like the United States—“Where anyone, no matter their race, religion, or background, has the opportunity to present their case and be heard by the court of law,” she says.

“I decided to study law because I wanted to be a part of someone's legal journey through this justice system. For me, it's the greatest honor to assist people in presenting their case before a court because it is a crucial part of America's democracy.”

Koleci has appreciated the variety of extracurricular activities offered by Detroit Mercy Law.

“From countless clinics to various student organizations, the opportunities are endless for students to find something that sparks their passion,” she says.

She calls her 2019 judicial internship with Chief Judge James M. Biernat Jr. at the 16th Judicial Circuit Court in Macomb County one of the best experiences of her law school career.

“I was able to witness almost everything I learned during my first year of law school unfold in the courtroom before my eyes,” she says. “I gained hands-on experience that would have been impossible to achieve solely from reading a textbook. The internship confirmed my passion for law and left me eager to learn more.”

In her 1L year, she served as class secretary, the voice for her class peers during meetings with the school administration and other class officers.

“This role taught me that before I could advocate for others in the courtroom, I’d first have to learn how to effectively represent myself and my fellow peers,” she says.

As Student Bar Association Executive Secretary in her 2L year, she planned and organized all SBA student events.

“While this role was extremely demanding and time-consuming, it was rewarding to witness the entire student body attend events and come together as a community, momentarily forget about their studies, and enjoy well-deserved time off with their fellow law school peers,” she says.

Koleci has spent more than a year in the employment department at Ellis Porter in Troy, assisting case managers in gathering documents and completing cases for immigrants who are applying for work visas in the United States.

“My role is currently remote, but the transition was made easy by my wonderful colleagues,” she says. “In addition to the amazing work community that feels like family, I love working at EP because it's extremely rewarding to assist and aid hard-working immigrants in their legal process to America.”

She is eager to continue exploring her career options after graduation.

“I’m looking forward to enjoying the journey while working towards discovering my destination,” she says.

Away from her studies and work, the Macomb resident enjoys playing tennis in the summer with her friends and family.

“I also make it a priority to get in a yoga exercise daily because it helps me move my body while relaxing my mind,” she says.



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