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The Pro Se Legal Studies Institute

 “The Premier Paralegal Studies Program in the Nation” 



Curriculum for Aspiring Paralegals

The Pro Se Legal Studies Institute - Paralegal Program in Houston, Texas, is dedicated to providing quality legal instructions to all students. In this 9-month program, we teach you everything you need to know in order to thrive as a legal professional.



The Pro Se Legal Studies Institute - Paralegal Program’s curriculum introduces you to the legal system and teaches you the information and skills you’ll need to successfully support an attorney, including the preparation for legal research, drafting legal documents, and assembling the strategies needed for trial. You will graduate with an understanding of substantive law as well as procedural practices that will enable you to better understand the structure of the federal and state court systems.  The Program is designed into 8 separate parts over a 9-month period as follows:


The Week Number & the Class Period for the Week:  Example, Second Week / First Class is (02-01)

Topic Covered During the Class Period ("Continued" means that the same topic takes 2 class periods)


Part I – The Court System (4 weeks)


01-01 Bad Conduct v. Criminal Conduct

01-02 Continued


02-01 The Federal Court System: Diversity & Federal Question

02-02 Bankruptcy Courts


03-01 The State Court System: District & County Courts At Law (Courts of General Jurisdiction)

03-02 Continued


04-01 The State Court System: Probate Courts, Justice of the Peace & Other Specialty Courts 

04-02


Part II – Sources of Law (4 weeks)


05-01 Primary Sources of Law – Constitutions

05-02 Continued


06-01 Primary Sources of Law – Case law 

06-02 Continued


07-01 Primary Sources of Law – Statutes & Agency Law

07-02 Continued


08-01 Secondary Sources of Law

08-02 Continued


Part III – The Law (5 weeks)


09-01 Civil Lawsuits:  Torts (Intentional & Negligence)

09-02 Continued


10-01 Civil Lawsuits: Contracts 

10-02 Continued


11-01 Probate & Guardianship Cases

11-02 Continued


12-01 Domestic (Family Law) Cases

12-02 Continued


13-01 Criminal & Immigration Cases

13-02 Continued


Part IV – Plaintiff & Defendant’s Petition & Answers (5 weeks)


14-01 Components of the Plaintiff’s Petition

14-02 Continued


15-01 Service of Process 

15-02 Continued


16-01 Defendant’s Original Answer & Other Claims (Counterclaim & Cross claim)

16-02 Continued


17-01 Third Party Actions 

17-02 Interventions & Impleaders


18-01 Amended & Supplemental Pleadings

18-02 Continued


Part V – Legal Research (5 weeks)


19-01 Burden of Proof: Beyond Reasonable Doubt & Preponderance

19-02 Clear & Convincing; Plus standard for Police stop & detention


20-01 Legal Research I – Citations for Locating Cases

20-02 Continued


21-01 Analysis of a Court’s Opinion: Majority, Concurrent & Dissenting 

21-02 Continued


22-01 Legal Research II – Citations for Locating Statutes

22-02 Continued


23-01 Legal Writing I – Memorandums & Appellate Briefs

23-02 Continued


Part VI – Motions Practice & Discovery (4 weeks)


24-01 Dispositive Motions: Summary, Default and No Legal Cause of Action (2020-024)

24-02 Continued


25-01 Non-Dispositive Motions 

25-02 Continued


26-01 Discovery (Written): Interrogatories, Request for Production, Requests for Admissions & Requests for Disclosures

26-02 Continued


27-01 Discovery (Oral):  Depositions 

27-02 Continued


Part VII – Trial (5 weeks)


28-01 Parties’ Opening Arguments & Jury Selection & Charge

28-02 Continued


29-01 Witness Testimony: Expert & Lay Persons

29-02 Continued


30-01 Exhibits Introduction & Exclusion:

30-02 Continued


31-01 Courtroom Personnel & Use of Courtroom Equipment: 

31-02 Continued


32-01 Damages: Compensatory & Punitive

32-02 Continued


Part VIII – Post Trial Actions (4 weeks)


33-01 Jury Deliberations & Verdict: Guilty, Not Guilty

33-02 Continued


34-01 Losing Party’s Right to Appeal: Timelines & Appellate Briefs

34-02 Appeal Courts & Supreme Court’s


35-01 Legal Career Strategies:

35-02 Continued


36-01 The Rules: Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (TRCP)

36-02 Final Examination



Our legal clinic provides cases for the paralegal student to work on to get real life legal experience producing legal documents and researching legal issues, while interacting with actual court personnel and opposing counsel.




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