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Ronald Matlon

2015 Conference


Presented by Kenneth Broda-Bahm, Karen Lisko, and Charlotte Morris

Ron Matlon was a founding member and first President of ASTC. Also, he was the Society's first Executive Director, a position he held for 34 years. Ron was born October 5, 1938 in Chicago and grew up in Whiting, Indiana. He graduated from George Rogers Clark High School and went on to earn a B.A. in Speech and Theatre from Indiana State University in 1960. There, he participated on the speech and debate team and was in several theatre productions. Ron got his M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1966 (Communication Studies). At Purdue, he served as debate coach and taught public speaking classes.

Academic Life. From 1962-65, Ron was an instructor at the University of Illinois-Chicago teaching speech and debate. From 1966-80, he was an Assistant/Associate Professor and Director of Debate at the University of Massachusetts. Twice, he was invited to teach in Japan. While at UMass, Ron began his research in communication and the law. In 1980, he became Associate Professor at the University of Arizona where he taught graduate seminars in legal communication and advised pre-law students. From 1998-2004, Ron was Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies at Towson University in Maryland, a program that had 1600 majors and nearly 100 faculty. There, with Ken Broda-Bahm, they created a graduate certificate program in trial consulting. Ron also took teaching junkets to Korea and Russia. His major books include Communication in the Legal Process (1988) and Opening Statements and Closing Arguments (1993, 2009). In addition, he wrote nine chapters on trial practice in books authored by others, created five editions of a table of contents and key word index to 24 scholarly journals for the National Communication Association (1975-1995), published 27 refereed articles in various legal and speech communication journals, and delivered about 100 speeches, seminars or professional position papers before education and legal groups across the country.

Consulting Life. Ron began litigation consulting in 1974 and formed Matlon & Associates in 1978. His consulting involved mock trials, focus groups, witness preparation sessions, jury questionnaire design, jury selections, post-trial juror interviews, and trial strategy sessions. Ron served as a judge at the ABA Client Counseling competitions, spoke at several American Inns of Court as well as the Young Lawyers Division of ATLA, taught seminars for the AJA and NITA, and conducted workshops for the National Intellectual Property Law Institute and the U.S. District Attorney's Office Trial Advocacy Program. In 2005, he served as an advisor to the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association and Special Council on Jury Selection Use and Management regarding voir dire practices and the use of questionnaires. After 40 years of trial consulting, Ron retired in 2014 after accumulating nearly 200 clients, one of which was the Special Prosecutor in Maryland in a criminal case against a sitting mayor of Baltimore.

ASTC Life. In 1982, Ron, along with a few other individuals, founded the American Society of Trial Consultants in Arizona. The first decade were the building years with the development of by-laws, a membership directory, a logo, a code of ethics, and well-attended national conferences. After serving as the Society's President in its first year of operation, Ron went on to become ASTC's Executive Director, a post he held from 1984 until June 30, 2015.

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