Joseph Dahr Jamail Jr. was one of the most famous American attorneys. His profession put him in good stead as he was one of the wealthiest lawyers of his time too. The wealthiest practicing lawyer in America at his time, he was lovingly called the “King of Torts”.
In 2011, Forbes had estimated his net worth as US $1.5 billion, which at that time made him the 833rd richest person in the world. In 2014, the year before his death, Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.7 billion, making him the 373rd richest person in the United States of America. Joseph Jamail died on December 23, 2015 in Houston.
Jamail was born into a Lebanese family in Texas. He completed his schooling from St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas. He then went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin for a single semester before he joined the United States Marine Corps in 1943 in lieu of the World War II.
Joseph served for the Marine Corps in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he returned to University of Texas. He completed his B.A. in 1950 and then enrolled into The University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 1953. In 1985, Jamail represented Pennzoil, the American oil company. The Pennzoil CEO at that time, Hugh Liedtke was Jamail’s close friend, and Jamail therefore agreed to represent Pennzoil in a lawsuit against Texaco. Pennzoil won the lawsuit and he was paid US $335 million as contingency fee.
Jamail was well-known in the law circles for his zealous, belligerent and sometimes bordering on abrasive advocacy for his clients; a tendency that has been pointed out in the National Law Journal, by the Supreme Court of Delaware. In 1986, The University of Texas School of Law bestowed an honor on Joseph Jamail by creating the Joseph D. Jamail Centennial Chair in Law and Advocacy. His son is also a practicing lawyer in Texas.