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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 


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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