Educational Components of USC's Paralegal Program
Our program is divided into six educational components. Each module focuses on a critical
aspect of your legal education. Download a complete program schedule for the online format [pdf] or the classroom format [pdf].
Introduction to Law
Provides the foundation for understanding the legal system, court structure, and attorney/paralegal
Tort Law & Personal Injury
Focuses on the legal system surrounding civil wrongs that do not arise from contractual
Legal Research & Writing
Prepares you to use law libraries and online research tools to locate primary authority,
use secondary sources, update research sources, and utilize specific legal materials.
Prepares you to work within the South Carolina legal environment. Note that South
Carolina's legal system is similar to that of many others states, so much of this
knowledge is applicable even if you relocate to another part of the country.
Focuses on the legal system surrounding the creation and enforcement of legal contracts.
Provides a thorough overview of a family law practice, including marriage, divorce, and property division.
Topics and Skills You Will Learn
By presenting an actual legal matter and following it throughout the legal process, you will be introduced to the most relevant legal terms. The case presented is tracked through both the civil and criminal court procedures.
It is critical for a paralegal to understand the process and structure of proper legal analysis. You will develop the skills to analyze both case law and statutory authority.
Legal Memorandum Form
After learning the analytical process, you will analyze provided cases and statutes to prepare internal and external memoranda.
State Specific Instruction
Local and state trial and appellate courts specific to South Carolina jurisdiction will be discussed. In addition, you will be provided with information related to researching the law within South Carolina.
Federal Court Structure
You will be instructed in the basic differences between state and federal jurisdiction, as well as the federal jurisdictions for the various federal courts in South Carolina.
Stages of Litigation
To fully understand the litigation process, and the role a paralegal plays, it is helpful to understand the three stages of the litigation process, and the functions a paralegal may perform during each stage.
Each branch of government uses various forms of law. It is therefore important for a good paralegal to understand the structure of government and the laws that apply to each branch.
Since a violation of an ethical rule may affect the supervising attorney as well as the paralegal, it is critical that you become familiar with the Rules of Ethics, and be taught to maintain a high ethical standard.