American Arab attorney Yuseff “Joseph” Dahr Jamail, the wealthiest personal injury lawyer in America, died this week, it was announced Wednesday. Jamail’s estate was valued at more than $1.5 billion by Forbes Magazine
By Ray Hanania
Yuseff “Joseph” Dahr Jamail, recognized the wealthiest lawyer in America, died on Wednesday December 23, 2015 at the age of 90.
Of Lebanese heritage, Jamail was crowned the “King of Torts” by admirers and critics alike, and by the news media which frequently wrote about his legal victories.
He was considered the richest attorney in America and one of the top 1,000 richest people in the world, raking 833.
A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, he received his law degree in 1953. His son is also a practicing attorney.
Jamail’s big break came in 1985, when he represented Pennzoil, whose CEO Hugh Liedtke was Jamail’s close friend, in a lawsuit against Texaco. Pennzoil won the case and his contingency fee was $335 million.
Jamail was a generous philanthropic contributor to educational causes.
He gave large donations to Rice University and The University of Texas at Austin. The football field at Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium is named Joe Jamail Field in his honor, and so is the Joseph D. Jamail, Jr. Pavilion at The University of Texas School of Law. Also located on the University of Texas campus is the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, named for him and his wife. The University has erected two statues on campus in his honor.
On May 14, 2008, The University of Texas at Austin announced a $15 million gift from Joe Jamail to support the Law School, Nursing School, and the College of Undergraduate Studies. In response to the gift, the university has renamed a large meeting room in the tower building to the Lee Hage Jamail Academic Room.
On May 29, 2008, the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark opened near downtown Houston. It was a $2.7 million project. The park is public and covers over 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2).
On April 27, 2011, The San Marcos Baptist Academy announced a $1 million gift from Joe Jamail to help establish a fund to build a special event center on the Academy campus in memory of Jamail’s wife, Lee, who graduated from San Marcos Academy in 1944.
Jamail was known for his passionate, aggressive, sometimes abrasive advocacy on behalf of his clients—a tendency that has been noted in the National Law Journal, by the Supreme Court of Delaware as well as other sources.
Jamail’s father and uncle owned and operated”Jamail Brothers” grocery business which operated 20 grocery stores in Houston and throughout Texas.
Jamail was born in Houston, Texas.