A Guide to the Joseph D. Jamail Oral History Collection, 2013-2016
Joseph D. Jamail (October 19, 1925 – December 23, 2015) was one the foremost attorneys in the United States during his exceptional and long legal career. He is most widely known for arguing the largest civil verdict in U.S. history in Pennzoil vs. Texaco, which resulted in an $11.53 billion jury verdict. The interviews included in this collection include material on Mr. Jamail’s early life, his philosophy of law, and his secrets of the courtroom, in addition to his many colorful stories.
Within the Joe Jamail Oral History Collection, Mr. Jamail discusses his largest and most important legal cases, including: Pennzoil vs. Texaco, U.S. National Bank of Galveston vs. Coopers and Lybrand. Also covered is Mr. Jamail’s long career in fighting for ordinary citizens in product liability, including the cases Coates vs. Remington Arms, Webster vs. Honda, Trawick vs. Sandoz, Green vs. Honda, Williams vs. GM, Watz vs. Zapata Petroleum, Robertson vs. Rig-a-Lite, and Aspromonte vs. General Motors. Some of Mr. Jamail’s probate, medical malpractice, and environmental negligence cases are also covered, as well as his general thoughts on legal topics such as voir dire, jury selection, closing arguments, tort reform, settlement negotiations, and structured trusts. In addition, there are interviews with his former staff members Frank Staggs and Janet Hansen, both attorneys, as well as Mr. Jamail’s longtime assistants Denise Davidson and Elisha Kimball, and his son, Randall.
Erica Lies conducted all the interviews with Mr. Jamail in his Houston office during the final years of his life.
Access to portions of this collection is restricted. Contact repository for further information.
Use of audio material by appointment only. Contact repository for further information.
Joseph D. Jamail Oral History Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers