Jan 11, 2023

The Real Yellow Pages

Accident lawyers continue to dominate our favorite directory

By Ed Goldman

A few days before the close of 2022 someone tossed a copy of “The Real Yellow Pages” (dated 2002) over my backyard fence. I’d like to believe it was the book’s delivery person who did so, not a disgruntled scrapbooker disappointed by not having made the cover. 

That very expensive honor went to a firm called iAccidentLawyer.com, which brags it has “collected” (followed by an asterisk) $150 million. The asterisk then leads us to a disclaimer in print so small that even though I was wearing my reading glasses, I also needed a magnifying glass to read: 

Edgy Cartoon

Ollie want a crackup?

“Reflects an aggregate total over 30 years, the result of each was dependent on the facts of the case and the results will differ if based on different facts, this does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your case.”

Setting aside the matter of punctuation of the disclaimer, which is exactly as it appeared, it clearly qualifies for a couple of cherished Obfuscator Awards (Best Baloney and Best Foreign Language Ad in English).

My favorite segment of it is the mumbo-jumbo about whether “the facts of the case” might have differed from “different facts.” This is pretty clever, considering that while a fact doesn’t differ from itself—either it’s a fact or it isn’t—there really are such things as different facts. Examples:

FACT #1: Plaintiff was severely injured in a crash between driverless Uber and driverless Lyft cars.

FACT #2: It gets dark when the sun goes down.

The man pictured in the cover ad is “Robert Koenig, Esq.”  Esq., of course, is short for “Esquire.” According to the Legal Information Institute (LIL), “In England, esquire is…a mostly obsolete courtesy title, appended to a man’s name when he has no other title. 

“Historically,” LIL continues, “the title was an honorific used for a member of the English gentry whose rank was superior to that of a gentleman but inferior to that of a knight.”

All very interesting but my main question is this: Are Robert Koenig and Walter Koenig related? Father and son, perhaps? Walter, as you may know, played Ensign Pavel Chekov in the original “Star Trek” TV show and in the first six original-cast Star Trek movies. He remains famous for doing one of the least convincing Russian accents in entertainment history unless you count Vladimir Putin’s. (Ironically, one of the best Russian accents in entertainment history is done by Stephen Colbert when he imitates Vladimir Putin. I may need a short nap.)

Also of interest to me is that the back cover of the 2002 Yellow Pages is another ad for accident attorneys (as differentiated from accidental attorneys, which I would surely be had I gone to law school). This one is for Stawicki Anderson & Sinclair. It features no small print disclaimers, promises “No Fee Until Settlement” and doesn’t mention how much dough it’s made for its clients. It also lists four brick-and-mortar addresses; Koenig’s ad doesn’t show any, possibly because he wanted to discourage Trekkies from dropping by during office hours to ask if Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on-camera, was equally logical off-camera. Or did he just accept it when the catering truck told him it didn’t carry Vulcan tacos because the supply chain was blocked back in 2021? (The show was set in 2266–2269. You probably knew that, but I like to give my gags a fighting chance.)

I’m wondering if in this day and age—or if in any day and age, for that matter—buying the front and back covers of hard-copy phone books is an optimal way for personal-injury law firms to attract business. Granted, if you needed the services of such a firm, it’d be great for you, under justifiably tense circumstances,  to not have to fumble your way through pages and categories:

SPOUSE (Flipping through The Real Yellow pages): Hon, do we want Attorneys, Lawyers or Human Pit Bulls?!

YOU: It’s hard to hear you. Wait until they use the jaws-of-life to remove me from the incinerator.


Instead, said SPOUSE could just pick up the Real Yellow Pages by its front or back cover and decide on the spot.

SPOUSE: I found a law firm on the back cover of The Real Yellow Pages. It has four offices and doesn’t charge us anything if it doesn’t get you a settlement.

YOU: What about the firm on the front cover?

SPOUSE: I can’t read it. The type’s too teeny.

YOU: What?

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


Well, we’re starting 2023 wet. Sacramento has been deluged by storms. There are electrical wires on the ground. A tree sliced through the garage of a house in our neighborhood, and a car smashed under a limb. As I write this I’ve been without electricity for a couple of days and am told the outage may even extend into next week.


We are proving to be survivors—a community, all safe that I know, all surviving, figuring out ways to get sheltered, warm, fed, and cleaned up.

I’ve heard lots of Good Samaritan stories. And I predict that by the end of 2023 we’ll have many other new adventures under our belts and this storm will be one of numerous past, unexpected adventures we met head-on.

So what about 2022 (you remember that year)?

It was a year to celebrate successes. I’m proud. On 2/2/2022, SoFi acquired Golden Pacific Bank, creating new opportunities for our staff and customers.

In less than a year, SoFi has accomplished a lot. It became a federally chartered bank, acquired Technisys (an expanded digital banking platform), surpassed five million “members” or customers around the globe and grew with record revenue while maneuvering economic challenges and political headwinds.

I’m more excited than ever to see what the future holds for SoFi, for me individually, and for my beloved friends, co-workers, customers and community! No amount of storms can rain on my parade—nor yours, I hope.

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