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Q&A with Robert E. Mongue, JD, Author of the Empowered Paralegal Series

CriminalJusticePrograms.com recently spoke with Robert E. Mongue, an assistant professor in the legal studies department at the University of Mississippi. Robert E. Mongue specializes in paralegal research and runs TheEmpoweredParalegal.com, a blog for and about the paralegal profession. His books include "The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient and Professional" (which spawned the blog) and "The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client."

Below he shares his thoughts on what it takes to be a great paralegal and the future of the field.

Q: Can you describe your current position?

I'm an assistant professor of legal studies at the University of Mississippi. My primary focus here is teaching in the bachelor's paralegal studies program. Most people outside of Mississippi know me through my Empowered Paralegal blog and the books I've written which go with that.

Q: How did you become interested in the paralegal field?

I looked at paralegals as being a solution to a problem. The American legal system still has a tremendous access to justice problem. There are plenty of lawyers, maybe even too many lawyers, for the people who can afford to pay for them. But, there are an awful lot of people who do not get the same legal services because they can't afford them. That problem can be solved by using paralegals, provided paralegals come to be regarded at the same level of professionalism as nurse practitioners or physician's assistants.

Q: What does being a paralegal entail?

Every office seems to have its own idea of what a paralegal is and even what sort of training you need to be a paralegal. The way I've used paralegals, and the way they are best used, is as a right-hand [Short Code Error: type value must be either online or ground] provide volunteer, networking, educational, and just plain social opportunities.

Q: Any other advice for aspiring paralegals?

If you're aspiring to be a paralegal, you're going to run into road blocks, as you will in any other profession. It does take time. It does require an education. You do want to get a degree. You're going to start at entry level and have to work your way up. In the end, though, it is one of the most rewarding careers you can have, and I urge you if you think it's for you-try it, stick with it, and get the help you need. In the end, you'll find it very rewarding.