James Ullrich (J.D. ’67)
“I remember my first day of class at the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC),” said James Ullrich (J.D. ’67). “There were several students at the front signing, what I thought was the Class Log. Come to find out that it was the Unprepared Log. Either way, I was signing the right log because I had not read over the assignment that was posted on the bulletin board down the hallway.” It is this kind of self-deprecating humor that describes Jim Ullrich as he elaborates on his glory days at the UHLC.
A seasoned tax attorney with 54 years’ experience under his belt, James still goes to the office every morning, but manages to sneak in some time, relishing in his favorite hobby. “Every morning, Monday – Friday, I go to the Recreation Center to shoot free throws,” said James. “I shoot 75 shots from one end of the court and then shoot 75 shots from the other end. I also record the shots taken versus the shots made every single day.”
James’ love for basketball began at the age of 12 when he started playing for his local elementary in Brenham, Texas. It was during high school that James perfected what he terms, The Ullrich Flip. “In 1954, during my jump shot, I flipped my hand while throwing the ball up and held that pose until the ball went in the basket,” said James. “If you watch professional basketball, you’ll notice that players like Stephen Curry and LeBron James utilize that same signature shot.”
Besides enjoying his favorite pastime, James finds time to give back to the UHLC. “It is an absolute honor to be in position where I can contribute to the new Law building and see how both students and faculty will mutually benefit from all its offerings,” said James. “Back when I was in Law School, our classrooms were down in the basement. It is wonderful to see how things have progressed since then; now with the new John M. O’Quinn Law Building.”
“I went to school with John O’Quinn,” said James. “I never once saw John when he was not in a suit and tie. John and I took classes from one of the hardest professors at the Law Center, Dwight Olds. Professor Olds was an outstanding teacher, and I always respected him because he was fair. One of his more demanding courses was called Future Interests, which was only offered at night. In addition to myself and John O’ Quinn, there were a total of five students in the class. We were quite an interesting bunch. We even had a classmate named James Bond (’69). I remember that class vividly because right when it was over, I had to hook it to the Astrodome where I sold memorabilia at my Novelty Stand. “
James credits the UHLC with teaching him the true art of interrogation. “When I was in Dean Blakely’s class, he would always call on me to debate a case,” said James. “I realized that he was using me as an example, to show the class how to employ the Socratic method successfully. I will forever be grateful for that experience.”
In addition to his contribution to the new Law Center Building, James hopes to donate his saved program from the Game of the Century that was signed by Elvin Hayes (’85), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Wooden and Guy Lewis to the UH Alumni Association’s History Museum.
As James expresses his appreciation for the education he received at the UHLC, he references a quote by the developer of Big-Box stores, Sol Price, who said that “Most of life is luck.” “I can appreciate that saying, because I believe I am the luckiest man alive.”
If you ever have the opportunity to meet James Ullrich, you are in fact the lucky one.