Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Paralegal Profile: Mianne Besser

Mianne Besser is a Senior Paralegal with Otten Johnson Robinson Neff & Ragonetti, P.C., in Denver, CO where she specializes in Litigation Support. She has a Bachelor of Arts Management and Business Administration (University of Phoenix, Colorado Campus), as well as a Paralegal Certificate (Denver Paralegal Institute).
1.    Why did you choose a paralegal career?  I have always been fascinated with a career in law.  I wanted to become a lawyer, but there was a different plan for me that involved marriage and children.  After some time, though, I decided to find my way back to my passion and becoming a paralegal was a suitable fit given my circumstances.

2.    What is your favorite part of your job?  Being able to take a task which may seem “undoable” given the deadline and getting it done on/before the deadline.

3.    What professional associations do you belong to?
  • The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.;
  •  Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association;
  • Colorado Bar Association, Paralegal Committee;
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Legal Support Staff Committee;
  • Colorado Association of Litigation Support Professionals; and the
  • American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.
4.    What has been the highlight of your career?  There have been so many opportunities afforded to me as a result of my professional associations and memberships, it’s difficult to specifically point to one specific highlight. 

I truly enjoyed the opportunity to be an Adjunct Instructor at Kaplan College and working with paralegal students and helping them more fully understand what it takes to be a paralegal.  The other important event that has significance to me is the recent publishing of my article, “The Many Faces of Paralegal Students” in the August/September 2011 National Paralegal Reporter.

5.    What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry?  Continuing evolution of eDiscovery, including certifications for eDiscovery; paralegal licensure/certification; how the economy is affecting career opportunities for paralegals; but, also, creating a new category of job “competitor”:  first and second year associates (hence, the recently coined term, “JD Paralegal”). 

6.    If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be?  Within the parameters of the current economy, paralegal opportunities are not as plentiful as they once were and employers have the ability to be far more selective regarding candidates; thus, it is up to you to invest in yourself and your career to educate yourself about the legal field and the paralegal profession and continue that learning process throughout your entire career. You should want to invest in yourself and your career; the moment it becomes a chore, it is time to find a new opportunity.

7.     You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career.  To what single event or person do you attribute that success?  I attribute my success to my family as they supported my choice to change my career and go to school to and become a paralegal. They have been patient and understanding when the work requires long hours; and helpful when I have come home appearing stressed and weary.   They’re also understanding about the time I put into my extra-curricular paralegal activities.  I am blessed to have a family that believes in me and supports my success.

8.    What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting?  A commitment to continued investment in one’s legal practice as well as other areas of interest by attending CLEs, subscribing to listservs, utilization of social networking, and scheduling “face time” with others in their area of expertise as well as other areas of the law which interest him/her.

9. What electronic device can you not live without?  My LG Touch cellphone (which I hope to upgrade to a “true” Smartphone very soon).

10. What is the one thing you wish you were better at?  Delegating.

11. What three items would you want if you were stranded on a deserted island?  My cellphone, my MP3 player, and a book.

12. What Web site do you visit daily?  There isn’t just one specific website that I reference daily; I keep the following websites open each day:  LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Hotmail. I visit the Paralegal Mentor, Practical Paralegalism and ParalegalGateway in addition to other legal and paralegal websites each day.

13. You've been given the chance to have dinner with anyone living or dead. Who is it?  This is tough.  With all the choices I could think of, I pared my list down to these three: John Lennon, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Martin Luther King.

Bonus Questions:

What was your first car? A 1977 Chevy Vega (bright orange with beige interior). I loved that car!
The riskiest thing I ever did was... Taking my 1977 Chevy Vega four-wheeling; having to have it towed because it was stuck; then providing my mom’s credit card number for the tow bill (without telling my mom in advance [there was some explaining to do when the credit card bill arrived]).

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