Texas Longhorn legend Joe Jamail dies

Attorney and Longhorn philanthropist Joe Jamail has died at the age of 90. Many are offering their condolences including leaders from the University of Texas at Austin.

The Associated Press called Jamail a swashbuckling trial lawyer who was a big donor to his alma mater.

Jamail's Houston law firm didn't immediately return the AP's phone calls but some media outlets are reporting that Jamail passed away due to complications from pneumonia.

The AP says Jamail was known for peppering legal proceedings with vulgarities and he represented Pennzoil in a dispute with Texaco. He won a colossal $10.5 billion verdict in 1987 that drove Texaco into bankruptcy. A jury found the firm interfered with Pennzoil's plans to acquire Getty Oil.

Former Secretary of State James Baker called Jamail "one of the finest attorneys the world has ever known."

UT leaders released the following statements:

Gregory L. Fenves, President, UT Austin:

Everyday as provost I walked by the portrait of Lee Jamail in the Main Building, reminding all of us at the university about the goodness of Lee and Joe Jamail. As Joe and I became friends and one of my closest advisors, I learned about his life, his service to our nation, his profession, and his deep commitment to education. Lee and Joe supported academics and athletics, aspiring for UT to best university in the country with the highest values of integrity and service. We will all miss both of them very much and will forever be grateful for their generosity of spirit.  

Mike Perrin, Men's Athletics Director, UT Austin:

Joe Jamail was a giant of a man, who made a huge impact in all facets of life. His contributions to The University of Texas are a lasting legacy and testament to his never ending quest to give back and support activities, the law and sports he believed in. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Joe’s family. With them, we share grief and a sense of loss in his passing. But, we also share our joy of having had him as a major part of so many lives. 

Ward Farnsworth, Dean, University of Texas School of Law: 

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Jamail, our wonderful friend and graduate. It is a loss felt keenly by all of us at The University of Texas School of Law.

Joe Jamail was a larger-than-life figure – a one-of-a-kind Texan, a magnificent and legendary trial lawyer, and an immensely generous and loyal friend to the UT Law School and the rest of the University of Texas. His name graces our clinical programs and our law library, and the example he set as an unsurpassed champion in the courtroom will remain an inspiration to all of us. So will the example he set as a citizen. He gave back to the world with passion and kindness, stuck up for the underdog, and changed the lives of thousands in our community as well as elsewhere. His legacy will live on in our school, and in the works of our students and graduates.

Before he was one of America’s foremost lawyers or philanthropists, Joe Jamail was a loving and devoted husband and father. Our deepest condolences to the Jamail family on Joe’s passing. We will remember our dear friend here, always, with the greatest respect and affection.

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