Texas Regional Seminar 2020: Opening Statement


02/20/2020 - 02/23/2020




Hunt, Texas - Mo Ranch Conference Center

About “We can have the greatest closing argument ever authored, but if we haven’t won the case by the time to close, it’s too late. Voir dire and the opening statement are where we win or lose at trial.” -Gerry Spence

The TLC Opening Statement Seminar arms you with winning methods to prepare an effective opening statement and to deliver it with your own unique passion and persuasiveness. The opening statement is our first opportunity to tell our complete story. Gerry Spence, founder of the College says, “Give me a good voir dire and the right opening statement and, so long as the lawyer retains credibility and tells the truth, the case is already won.” This course teaches you to use unique TLC methods to prepare, develop and deliver a powerfully persuasive opening statement and win. Join us and learn how to bring your clients’ stories to life in the courtroom to win the justice they deserve. Join us at this special format TLC seminar - limited to 30 students.

Location Nestled on 500 acres along the spring-fed Guadalupe River, Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly is located in the heart of the beautiful Texas Hill Country in Hunt, TX.

Texas’ booming oil and gas industry of the early 1900s created a new class of businessmen, mostly living in the Houston area. Successful oil and gas magnates looked to the higher and cooler Hill Country as a place to get their families away from the coastal plain’s summer heat and mosquitos. One of these, Odie R. Seagraves, bought 6,500 acres of what is now Mo-Ranch in 1929. The Manor House was constructed for him and his family, and he had the river dammed to make a small lake for recreation, and a landing strip cleared for his private plane. Seagraves grand plans for the ranch soon faded, as he lost a fortune in the stock market crash of 1929. He was able to regain the house and other improvements on 20 acres, but lost most of the land. Seagraves sold the ranch in 1936 to another Houston oilman, Daniel J. Moran, the president of Continental Oil Co (Conoco). Moran also bought the land Seagraves had lost and ended up with a ranch of about 6,800 acres. He named his estate “Mo-Ranch” and proceeded on a building campaign that created a self-sustaining village—including ice house and power station. An engineer by training, Moran designed impressive buildings, primarily from Hill Country limestone and oilfield pipe—materials easily accessible to him. The Main Auditorium, Guest Lodge, Chapel, Loma Linda Lodge, River Dorm, and Catwalk—and a host of smaller buildings supporting ranching activities—were built under his supervision and often with his direct involvement. Distinctive, hand-painted San Jose tiles from San Antonio and intricate ironwork by German-born Erich Riesel add rich detail to Moran’s structures. A large swimming pool lined with 2 million tiles was built beside the Manor House on the bluff overlooking the river. Entertainment and hospitality were a hallmarks of Moran’s efforts. The Main Auditorium was designed for roller skating, basketball and showing movies. The Guest Lodge was built for the comfort of his family and Conoco supervisors who concluded lengthy tours of company facilities with stays at the ranch. And the River Slide, still a favorite with guests seven decades after its installation, is purely for fun.


All Trial Lawyers College courses are taught by graduates of the College, who volunteer their time, talents and resources to provide high-quality training not offered in any other CLE program. Because our faculty are volunteers, and are actively practicing in their respective firms, our faculty list is subject to change.

Course leaders: Paula Estefan, Ron Estefan

Staff must arrive by 5PM on February 19.


OPENING DAY Thursday, February 20: 3 - 5 PM – Registration

6 - 7 PM  Dinner

7 - 9 PM - First session

Friday & Saturday, Feb. 21 & 22: 8 AM - 9 AM Breakfast

9 AM - 12 Noon  Working Sessions

12 PM - 1 PM Lunch

2 PM - 5 PM  Working Sessions

6 PM – 7 PM Dinner

7 PM - 9 PM Working Sessions

CLOSING DAY Sunday, February 23: 8 AM - 9 AM Breakfast

9 AM - 12:30 PM Small Group Working Sessions

The seminar will adjourn by 12:30 PM on Sunday.

Important Details

CLE Credits

Pending CLE Approval by the Texas State Bar

Course Materials & Prerequisites

Several articles are required reading as a part of your course but you are not required to read them prior to the course. Printed copies will not be provided to you, but may be downloaded at any time from the TLC website (


Applicants must be a member of their State Bar in good standing, and actively practicing law. Applicants must also be a plaintiff's lawyer, public defender, or a criminal defense lawyer. TLC does not offer training to attorneys who are an employee of a corporation, insurance firm or of the federal government.

Food, Lodging & Roommates

The course fee ($1699) includes tuition, airport shuttle service, and double-occupancy room (3 nights: Thurs./Fri./Sat.) and board (8 meals: Thurs. dinner to Sun. breakfast) at Mo Ranch. You will be assigned to a room with at least one other lawyer of the same gender. Bring earplugs in case your roommate snores.

Dress code: Plan to dress in comfort, not in style. For class time, sneakers, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts and casual outfits are appropriate. The property is a Ranch, so the buildings are not connected, and each day will require walking outdoors to reach the dining hall and classrooms.

Travel Information

Attendees should fly into the San Antonio airport if they wish to use the TLC-provided shuttle to reach Mo Ranch. Free shuttle service will be provided on February 20 (departing airport at 2:00 PM) and February 23 (departing Mo Ranch at 12:30 PM) to/from the SAN ANTONIO Airport only. Please note that the facility is TWO HOURS from San Antonio if you are making separate ground transportation arrangements.

An email will be sent to registered attendees with shuttle and course information.

Refunds & Cancellations

The entire balance for a TLC course is due 90 days after the start date of the course, unless other arrangements have been made with the Registrar or Financial Officer. Any registrations made within 5 days of the start of the course must be paid in full at the time of registration. Tuition payments are only transferable to another TLC course within the same calendar year or to a substitute participant for the same course. Cancellations must be e-mailed to TLCs Registrar,

For all courses except Graduate I and Graduate II: Cancellations received at least 14 calendar days prior to the course will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 13 – 6 calendar days prior to the course will receive a 50% refund. We regret that no refunds can be made 5 days or less prior to the start date of the course.

Graduate I and Graduate II Course Cancellation Policy: Applications to a graduate program must be submitted by the deadline: midnight on February 14, 2020. No tuition fee will be required to accompany an application. By the end of February, applicants for both Grad 1 and 2 will be notified as to their acceptance status. If a student is offered a spot, upon his/her acceptance they will be required to submit a $500.00 non-refundable deposit to confirm that spot; and then make payment arrangements with Lori Schmidt, our Financial Officer, to ensure full payment of the tuition due by commencement of the August Course (taking into consideration any scholarships that have been granted.) Except for the non-refundable $500.00 deposit, the traditional cancellation policy outlined above will apply.