TLC’s Texas Regional Co-Leaders on ‘Discovering the Story’

Paula and Ron Estefan, and TLC President John Sloan are the faculty co-leaders at the upcoming Trial Lawyer’s College Regional Seminar in Hunt, Texas focusing on Discovering the Story. April 12-15, 2018.

Interested in registering? You can use this link to register now.

Ron and Paula Estefan, from Houston, TX are a power-house couple within the TLC community since their 3-Week College graduations in 2005 and 2006. They have been Faculty Members of many Trial Lawyer’s College CLE programs since 2011 and have been the co-leaders of the Texas Regional for a number of years. They have not only included the TLC methods in their respective plaintiff and med-mal practices, but they have included them in their marriage as well, which is evident any time you see them and spend time with them. Read on to learn more about their goals and desires for the trial lawyers who will attend the Discovering the Story Regional next month.

John Sloan hails from Longview, TX where he is the senior partner of his PI firm Sloan, Bagley, Hatcher, and Perry. John graduated from the Trial Lawyer’s College in 1998 and served on its faculty team for a number of years until becoming its President in 2014. While busy with his law-firm and as a father of two, John makes sure to attend every graduation ceremony of the new Trial Lawyer’s College 3-week grads and leads two other TLC Regional Seminars each year. He knows the value that Trial Lawyer’s College has had in his life and on his practice and he sees to it that all of his new associates attend the 3-week program.


“Paula was amazing! She really helped a ton in our psychodrama groups. Without her, we would have had a completely different experience. Her help was extremely valuable.” – TLC 2017 Student

“Ron’s instruction was the best I received in the entire course. He offers helpful suggestions and worked with each member of the group so we all felt like we took something away from our sessions together.” – TLC 2017 Student

“John is well-spoken and was extremely helpful in our small groups. I’d love to learn more from him!!!” – NM 2017 Student


Ron Estefan is a sole practitioner and Personal Injury Attorney in Houston, Texas with the Estefan Firm, PC. As a former President of the F Warrior Alumni Group and long-time faculty member. Ron is well-known for his soft-spoken but relatable approach as he teaches the TLC methods nationwide. Ron uses the Discovering the Story methods with his clients, not only initially to better understand the case but to help with its preparation at every stage of the trial.

Ron discloses some information on his recent PI case on the death of a young man who had a long life ahead of him. Ron’s client was the son, the 2-year old toddler of the deceased young man in this case. Three teenagers between 16 and 17 years of age pick up a case of beer from a convenience store in their local town. This incident happened 3 years ago when in the state of Texas, alcohol sales are illegal to anyone under the age of 21. “The three teenagers get into a car; drinking and riding around at about 10 pm on a road with a speed limit of 35-mph, but John (the client’s deceased father) is driving 80-mph. The road has two lanes in each direction with a large curve ahead and at this point, John loses control of the vehicle and it flips and rolls and John is thrown out, very badly injured. Another of the young boys is in a coma, and the third boy miraculously gets out of the vehicle and starts walking away from the scene. John is so badly injured that he dies an hour and a half later at the hospital.”

Ron recollects how incredibly important it was for him to utilize the methods of ‘Discovering the Story’ in this particular case and how it lead to his client and the mother to some needed relief in the courts’ final verdict decision.

“There were two stories going on here. There was a story with the convenience store owner and their clerk. I discovered that through working with, believe it or not, the young man who walked away from the crash. I had him describe in full detail and re-enact what had happened, mainly the buying of the beer because he went into the store with John. He described the clerk and the interaction, and actually, it was a lot more colorful than I initially thought.”


Paula Elliott-Estefan is a Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Attorney in Conroe, Texas and is a partner at the Elliott & Little Law Firm. She has seen a large impact in her settlements and verdicts since she started her training with the Trial Lawyer’s College, and she is a popular faculty member for the way she connects with students, especially at TLC’s 3-Week course.

“I’ve never left another traditional CLE program and said ‘wow, my life has changed’. I don’t attend regular CLE’s anymore, I really don’t have time to, nor do I want to. I don’t think they have anything to offer other than an update on case-flow which I can do myself. The Trial Lawyer’s College CLE programs are like the ocean and a regular CLE is like a pond. The ocean is constantly growing and changing; you have waves, excitement, emotion, and a pond is a body of water with mosquitoes growing in it.”

Paula says that from the Trial Lawyer’s College, she has learned how to connect with and find love for her clients, judges, and most of the time – opposing counsel! Now that she utilizes TLC methods in every case, she describes how important it is to find those powerful moments with clients, whether its spending time in their homes or in their day to day lives. “A lot of lawyers will say ‘I just didn’t like my client’ or ‘my client wasn’t likeable,’ well, that’s because they didn’t find anything to like about their client, they didn’t know the baggage their client was carrying with them, and they didn’t explore the story. When we go to TLC, we hear their stories, we realize we are a lot more alike than different, even with people we didn’t think we’d like. I think that’s the biggest take away for me.”


As a boy growing up in Kilgore, John Sloan thought he might become a preacher some day. However, by the time he began his undergraduate studies at Baylor University, John made up his mind: He was going to be a trial lawyer. When John graduated, he sold his law books back to the Baylor bookstore to buy enough gasoline to get back to his hometown for his first job as a lawyer. When he started attending Trial Lawyer’s College CLE programs, he realized how much his practice benefited from the tools and methods he was obtaining from TLC and he decided he wanted to become a big part of the ongoing leadership of the Trial Lawyer’s College. “I didn’t want my law office to be a mill where clients are just numbers and don’t have a lot of contact with their lawyers,” he says. “I wanted to be able to know my clients personally, and to know their stories so I could better advocate for them in the courtroom.”

John has been listed as a ‘Texas Super Lawyer’ by Texas Monthly Magazine every year since 2003. He has tried over 100 cases to a jury verdict and has a national trial practice, having successfully handled cases in many states across America. He is a member of many other legal organizations, including the Litigation Counsel of America and Multi-Million-Dollar Advocates Forums.

“Discovering The Story is a foundational course for the TLC methods. It is helpful to lawyers new to our methods and will give them skills they can immediately take back to their offices. It’s also helpful to our graduates who know the benefit of a tune-up and the power of reconnecting with the TLC community. Only when we invest the time to really learn the stories of our civil clients and their lives, can we effectively communicate to our juries the severity of their injuries and the depth of the wrong done to them.” – TLC President John Sloan


The Upcoming 4-Day TLC Regional Seminar on ‘Discovering the Story’

“Right at the initial Step-in Circle Listening exercise, I quickly realized that TLC employed a different approach to trial practice. While my previous trial advocacy training focused solely on the fundamentals of trial practice, TLC taught me to remain cognizant that one’s genuine, inner-most thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences are critical factors that should be constantly evaluated during trial preparation and practice.” – CA 2018 Regional Attendee

TLC has a number of different formats for its Regional Seminars, be it the large Urban Regional in Southern CA for 200+ attendees; a Constellation Regional limited to only 30 attendees; or the traditional 4-day Regional Seminar for up to 100 attendees as will be held in Hunt, Texas next month. Ron and Paula have helped organize the Texas Regional for the past 4 years and they continue to be excited about being a part of this compelling 4-day seminar which begins on Thursday night and ends at Sunday noon.“The faculty is very involved right from the beginning. We start the day before with a faculty meeting so that we can participate in our own faculty-psychodrama and get in tune with each other so we are ready to give the students the best methods and tools that we can. Gerry has taught us, ‘Never ask our students to do anything that we ourselves are not willing to do.’”  – Paula Elliott-Estefan

Discovering the Story is the basic foundation for everything at TLC. “You can’t effectively select a jury, give an opening statement, or question a witness if you don’t know your client’s story. Discovering a story is foundational. It’s what absolutely has to be done in order to do all the other things associated with successfully trying the case. If you don’t know the story; the real story beyond a set of facts, you can’t tell the story. So many times, lawyers who have been practicing for a long while start to pigeon-hole their clients’ cases, thinking that every neck injury in an auto accident or every slip and fall is all the same. This completely depersonalizes and dehumanizes the case, and the impact it had on clients. Then attorneys take it to the next step and will catch themselves saying, ‘Oh, I’ve heard that story before.’ or ‘ I know exactly what story I’m going to tell. I’ve told it a hundred times before.’ What we will teach at the upcoming TLC Regional is that you don’t know exactly what story you’re going to tell the jury because you haven’t yet invested yourself in that client and his or her real story.. but I emphasize the word “yet”. After this Regional, no student will leave without having been given the opportunity to learn how to discover the story of one of their cases that they are working on.”  – Ron Estefan

The Trial Lawyer’s College CLE is very different than other CLE’s for many reasons, the first one being that it’s not organized in lecture format. “We, as TLC faculty and staff don’t just stand up at the front of the room and talk at our students and tell them how great everything is when you do this and that. That is 180 degrees off of what Trial Lawyer’s College is. We don’t want that at TLC. We talk with them; it’s interactive, it’s showing –never telling. We’re here to show them they already have all the tools they need to be the best lawyer for their client in their case. We just need to help them uncover those natural tools and talents that may have laid dormant for a number of years now. We want to teach these lawyers how to fly under their own power!” – John Sloan

Join Ron Estefan, Paula Elliot-Estefan, TLC President John Sloan and the entire Texas faculty team to learn new methods and uncover the powerful tools, to push the “restart” button for many veteran lawyers and graduates of TLC, and to reconnect with the TLC tribe at the ‘Discovering the Story’ Regional Seminar in Hunt, Texas next month, April 12-15, 2018.

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