UWF alum accepts opportunity in D.C.

Elona Jouben a graduate of the University of West Florida, who majored in political science in 2000 and legal studies/pre-law in 2006, has recently accepted a position as a paralegal/program assistant position with the American Association of University Professors in Washington, D.C.

The AAUP, founded in 1915, is a national organization that is active in many legal areas, including intellectual freedom, due process, professional ethics and university governance. Membership of the AAUP membership is comprised of approximately 46,000 faculty members and scholars from all disciplines.

“As Paralegal/Program Assistant, I support the two attorneys of the AAUP legal department in providing significant in-house legal and other support work for the Association,” said Jouben of her new position. “The legal office deals with a wide variety of legal matters, including First Amendment, higher education, collective bargaining, election, tax, labor, personnel, financial and contract issues.”

It was a long road for Jouben to arrive at this position. She moved from New Jersey to Pensacola when she was nine, but considers herself a native. She began as a political science major at UWF in the late 90’s, when she had aspirations of joining the foreign service; however, she quickly found that her favorite classes were political philosophy, analytical jurisprudence and constitutional law courses.

“By my senior year, I decided I wanted to go to law school,” said Jouben. “Studying law requires intense concentration and attention to detail so you don’t miss the subtle nuances that distinguish why a legal principle is applied one way to a certain set of facts and another way to a different set of facts, and critical thinking skills so you can determine how a legal principle will apply to the specific set of facts in your client’s present case.”

She took an entry-level job at a local attorney’s office, where her boss inspired her to pursue her pre-law degree, which led her back to UWF.

“The legal studies/pre-law program taught the nuts and bolts of actual legal practice, from both theoretical and practical perspectives,” said Jouben. “The professors and adjunct faculty were all former or current practicing attorneys, and I greatly appreciated their real-world insight on the practical application of the legal concepts we were learning.”

Jouben credited professors Alfred Cuzan, Robert Anderson and Susan Harrell for their inspiration.

“These professors greatly supported and encouraged me both during my time in their programs and through the subsequent years as I’ve developed my professional career,” she said.

Jouben recently completed her graduate paralegal studies degree through the George Washington University.  The program required submission of a thesis on a current legal issue of interest. The writing process required many hours of research, as well as a thesis proposal, a status summary of research and its relevancy to the development of the thesis, a first draft and a final submission.

“I went through 14 drafts before submitting my final product, ‘Compulsory Regulation of Florida Paralegals is Unnecessary,’” said Jouben. Her thesis has since been chosen to be published in a forthcoming anthology on the professional paralegal.

Jouben admits that she is very excited about working in the D.C. area, as well being able to apply all that she has learned.

“I’m very fortunate to work in this intellectually challenging and stimulating environment,” said Jouben.