Playing Santa: Not everyone gets a pizza box signed by Alice Cooper

Feb 2013 // Texas Lawyer - Ex Parte Blog

For the last five years, Ajamie LLP senior associate Jason Braun has worked for weeks, even months, to obtain special Christmas gifts for firm founder Thomas Ajamie from all of the firm’s lawyers.

In December 2012, Braun arranged to give Ajamie a copy of his 2010 book, “Financial Series Killers: Inside the World of Financial Money Hustlers, Swindlers and Con Men,” (which Ajamie wrote with Bruce Kelly) that was signed by lawyers and judges Ajamie admires.

The signers were Houston trial lawyers Joe Jamail and Steve Susman, criminal defense attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes, two judges: U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison of the Southern District of Texas, and 5th Circuit Judge Jennifer Elrod.

“They said nice things, wished me well,” says Ajamie.

Ajamie says he was touched by each inscription. Jamail, of Jamail & Kolius, is an “inspiration to any Houston trial lawyer” and Susman, a partner in Susman Godfrey, is an “icon.” Ajamie says he faced off against Haynes on more than one occasion, and worked with Ellison and Elrod at Baker Botts of Houston.

Braun says his goal each year is to think up a unique gift for Ajamie. In 2009 and 2010, Braun says he obtained signed copies of books Ajamie liked. In 2011, Braun had Susan Saladoff sign a DVD of her documentary, “Hot Coffee” about the McDonald’s coffee litigation, for Ajamie.

Those gifts took a few weeks to secure.

But Braun spent seven months in 2010 securing a signature from rocker Alice Cooper on a pizza box, because Ajamie once got backstage at an Alice Cooper concert by delivering a bunch of pizzas from his family’s pizza business in Scottsdale, Ariz. Cooper also autographed his book for Ajamie, Braun says.

Braun says he made contact with Alice Cooper’s manager through a lawyer who was representing the musician in some litigation.

“I sent the pizza box out with a copy of his [Cooper’s] book,” Braun says. “Sure enough, Alice Cooper signed the pizza box, something like, ‘Tom, thanks for the pizzas.”

Ajamie says he’s “humbled” by the gifts.