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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 6-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 6-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)

There are “no makeups” for examinations administered during the semester, but the lowest 2 grades made during the semester on all examinations, will be dropped.

Course Substantive Timeline

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.

(Example: 01-02 means the 1st week of the course and the 2nd class in that week; 03-01 means the 3rd week of the course and the 1st class in that week).

SPRING SESSION STARTING FEBRUARY 7, 2022


Part I – The State & Federal Court System & the Plaintiff’s Original Petition (4 weeks)

01-01 Bad Conduct v. Illegal Acts; Causes of Actions (The criminalization of conduct)

01-02 The State Court System: Jurisdiction & Venue (ie., Minimum Contact)

01-03 The Federal Court System: Jurisdiction & Venue (ie., Diversity and Federal Question)

02-01 QUIZ NO. 1

02-02 Burden of Proof: Policing Stops – Reasonable suspicion and probable cause

02-03 Burden of Proof: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

03-01 Burden of Proof: Clear & Convincing and Preponderance of the Evidence

03-02 QUIZ NO. 2: Continued

03-03 SPEAKER: THE ESTATE CODE & THE PROBATE & GUARDIANSHIPS SYSTEMS

04-01 Components of the Plaintiff’s Original Petition

04-02 Service of Process

04-03 QUIZ NO. 3

Part II – Defendant’s Pleading, 3rd Party Pleadings & Damages (4 weeks)

05-01 Defendant’s Original Answer & Other Claims

05-02 Third Party Actions: Class actions, Interventions & Impleaders

05-03 Discussion on Amended & Supplemental Pleadings

06-01 QUIZ NO. 4

06-02 Damages: Compensatory

06-03 Damages: Punitive and Injunctive relief

07-01 Discovery: Introduction (TRCP, Rules …)

07-02 QUIZ NO. 5

07-03 Discovery: RFD & Interrogatories

08-01 SPEAKER: LAW FIRM CASE MANAGEMENT

08-02 Discovery: RFA, RFP and Depositions

08-03 QUIZ NO. 6

Part III – Sources of Law (4 weeks)

09-01 Primary Sources of Law: The US Constitution (Articles)

09-02 Continued (Bill of Rights & other Amendments)

09-03 Primary Sources of Law: The Supreme Court & other courts (Case law)

10-01 QUIZ NO. 7

10-02 Primary Sources of Law: Statutes & Agency law

10-03 Secondary Sources of Law: Law Journals, Treaties, etc

11-01 Motion Practice: Dispositive Motions (Summary Judgment, Frivolous claims, Default Judgments & Non-Suits)

11-02 QUIZ NO. 8

11-03 Motion Practice: Drafting (6) motions to extend time to comply with TRCP

12-01 SPEAKER: FAMILY LAW

12-02 Motion Practice: Drafting (6) motions requesting clarification or sanctions of other party

12-03 QUIZ NO. 9

Part IV – Legal Research & Legal Data Bases (4 weeks)

13-01 Training on the District Clerks Data Bases: Harris and surrounding counties/secure username & password

13-02 Continued

13-03 Training on the County Clerks Data Bases: Harris and surrounding counties/secure username & password

14-01 QUIZ NO. 10

14-02 Training on the Texas E-filing System – secure username & password

14-03 Continued

15-01 Training on the CM/ECF System for federal cases – secure username & password

15-02 QUIZ NO. 11: Continued

15-03 SPEAKER: IMMIGRATION

16-01 Training on the Westlaw Legal Research data base with discussion on citations

16-02 Continued

16-03 QUIZ NO. 12

Part V Trial (4 weeks)

17-01 Trial: Courtroom Personnel & Use of Courtroom Equipment; Jury selection

17-02 Trial: Parties’ Opening Arguments & Pre-Trial Motions/Pleadings

17-03 Trial: Witness Testimony: Lay Persons

18-01 QUIZ NO. 13

18-02 Trial: Witness Testimony: Experts

18-03 Trial: Exhibits: Introduction & Exclusion

19-01 Continued

19-02 QUIZ NO. 14

19-03 Trial: Closing arguments & Jury Deliberations (Verdict: Guilty, Not Guilty or Locked – Directed)

20-01 SPEAKER: LEGAL WRITING

20-02 Trial: Criminal verses Civil

20-03 QUIZ NO. 15

Part VI – Post Trial Actions (4 weeks)

21-01 Post Trial: Motions for new trial and to set aside verdict

21-02 Continued

21-03 Post Trial: Losing Party’s Right to Appeal: Timelines for Findings of Facts & Conclusions of Law

22-01 QUIZ NO. 16

22-02 Post Trial: Notice of Appeal; Clerk’s record and reporter’s record

22-03 Post Trial:

23-01 Post Trial: Drafting of Appellant and Appellees’ Briefs

23-02 QUIZ NO. 17

23-03 Post Trial: Revisit Causes of Action and Plea Drafting

24-01 SPEAKER: CRIMINAL JUSTICE

24-02 Post Trial: Revisit Causes of Action and Plea Drafting

24-03 QUIZ NO. 18:


*Classes canceled due to inclement weather will be updated on the website as needed.





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