Joe Jamail, circa 1980s (Bruce Bennett/Houston Chronicle/The Associated Press)
One of the trial attorney's final public appearances: Honorary co-chair Lynn Kamin, honoree Joe Jamail, honorary co-chair and host Marie Bosarge, at Home Safe Home Gala, 2014. An endowment and an annual award was created in Jamail's honor by the nonprofit AVDA, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse. (Photo Kim Coffman)
Contents from Lee and Joe Jamail's River Oaks mansion will be offered to the public by Judy Robinson Estate Sales. The event, spanning four days, December 8 through December 11, will take place at a yet-to-be-announced Galleria-area location.
Lee and Joe Jamail. The couple's largesse in American philanthropy was legendary. (Courtesy University of Texas)
This canvas by Texas 20th-century painter Wayman Adams hung in the Jamail dining room.
Signed game balls by the likes of Hank Aaron and Joe DiMaggio number among the collectibles at the Jamail estate sale.
Lawrence Ludtke memorialized America's greatest trial lawyer, Joe Jamail, in bronze, in 2002.
Decanter from Joe Jamail's office displays a touch of humor.
A dedicated UT alum, Jamail was also famously obsessed with Longhorn football; his name graces the football field due to his generosity.
This is not your average estate sale. Starting this week, you will be able to acquire a household or office item from one of the most celebrated attorneys in the world, one who championed the underdog, and amassed a fortune doing it that made him a regular on the Forbes Billionaire list.
The name commands attention, just as it did in the courtroom — Joe Jamail. America’s richest practicing attorney, reared on Houston’s east side during the Depression in a close-knit Lebanese family of grocers, was also its most successful. The late Houston lawyer stood up for the little man, wronged individuals and corporations alike, in a manner that makes today’s white-glove firms look downright insipid. He passed away December 2015 at the age of 90, still active and winning cases.
His $10.5 billion 1985 win for Pennzoil versus Texaco is still a benchmark of bravery and bravado — famously, the night before, he was dragged out on the town by best pals Willie Nelson and Darrell Royal. The late evening may even have helped loosen up his closing arguments the next day in the courtroom.
Here’s a fascinating video of Jamail taking a deposition from a witness:
Jamail and his wife, Lee (who passed away in 2007), are fondly remembered for their out-sized generosity — exceeding $233 million to date — to a variety of causes, especially health care, education, medicine, and art. Their names grace everything from a Houston skate park to Baylor College of Medicine’s Lee and Joe Jamail Specialty Care Center, while Joe Jamail Field in Austin is home stadium for its benefactor’s beloved University of Texas Longhorns.
Now you can own a bit of the Jamail luster, when Judy Robinson Estate Sales organizes a five-day sale in the Galleria area spanning Thursday through Monday, December 8 through 12, 9 am to 5 pm daily. The prime address — 1650 Post Oak Blvd. Up for acquisition are treasures from the palatial River Oaks family home — antique furnishings, Oriental rugs, bronzes, sterling silver, crystal, china, Chinese porcelain, his private library, and prized sports memorabilia, and the couple’s art collection — as well as contents from the King of Torts’ One Allen Center headquarters.
For details, go to jrestates.com.