AAAAAn easy way to get your name first

April 14, 1997

I haven't ragged on lawyers for a while; I apologize for the oversight.

But I was reminded what fun attorney abuse can be by an Associated Press story last week detailing the lengths lawyers will go in order simply to be listed first in the phone book - under the theory that many people will generally call the first number in line. Sort of the same reason that Don Allensworth gets all those votes by being first on the ballot.

The AP story read as follows:

According to a lawsuit brought by one of their own, some personal injury lawyers will do just about anything to hook a new client - including altering their names to get listed first in the Yellow Pages.

The lawsuit refers to John Haymond, a lawyer who advertises on television and has offices around the state. Don't look for him under ''H'' - he's listed in many Connecticut phone books under Affordable Legal Services.


He's far from alone. The New Haven directory lists Mark Salomone first because he lists his practice as ''A accident attorneys always affordably available'' - or AAAAA.

So naturally, I decided to look in the Washington County phone book. I wasn't really expecting to find anything like the Aardvark Law Firm. I figured the business listings would just start in with the AAA automotive club and go from there.


Triple A doesn't even make the first column. But there were the lawyers, weighing in at the number two slot with, I'm not kidding, "A Adequate Award Injury Hotline." Number three in the listings is, and again I'm not kidding, "A Better Act Strip-A-Gram."

There's something poetic about a stripper and a lawyer being cheek to cheek in the phone listings. One jury-rigs outfits the other outfits rigged juries.

Number eight is good: "A Durable Dog Bone Company." It doesn't say which is durable, the company, the bone or the dog.

Number nine: "A Fluffy Puppy." Sounds like a good film: Fluffy Puppy meets Durable Dog.

Number 10: "A Fortune Teller agency."

Number 11: A "General Practice of Law." Ah, back where we started. But in Hagerstown is it the lawyers who scramble the most frantically to place their names at the top of the alphabetic heap? No it is not.

There is another industry, another enterprise that is far more competitive for the average Hagerstonian's business. That profession? Bail bondsman.

They claim four of the top 35 slots in the phone book's business-professional-organizational listings, starting at Number 34, "AAAA Action Bailbonds."

About 10 spots higher is "A Bail Bonds," which is narrowly topped by A A Anna's Bail Bonds and Immediate Release." And finally, in the Number One spot in the Bell Atlantic Washington County phone book is "A AAA Bail Bonds."

You may wonder whether we have the crime to satisfy such a large number of bail bondsmen. Should the Economic Development Commission be concerned with importing extra criminals to support this industry? Perhaps. A quick search of the Yellow Pages turned up another batch of bondspersons with names not beginning with the letter A. I am also pleased to report that it is a homey and happy little industry, according to their ads ("Locally owned and operated since 1982 - no reasonable bond refused," reads one. "Don't sit in jail, call AA Bail," says another). Then there's the Mr. Bail Network in Baltimore (Se Habla Espanol) that is "Conveniently located downtown near all court and corrections facilities."

How neat. I'm surprised Giant Foods hasn't latched onto this. Buy your groceries, pick up your prescription, drop off your film and spring little Chauncy from the calaboose on that weapons charge all in the same trip.

Then - then and only then, are you allowed to call him a lawyer. Start looking under the letter A.

Tim Rowland is AAAAAA Herald-Mail columnist.

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