Not only is Gene Yale older than dirt, he likes playing in it. Gene’s maternal great-grandfather purchased 40 acres of El Cajon Valley farmland sight unseen at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. From his hometown in Cleveland, Ohio, Grandpa Phil took the train to Los Angeles, rode in a stagecoach to San Diego, purchased a horse and buggy downtown, and bounced his way to El Cajon over the rough trails. After staying a few days at the Knox Hotel on Main Street (it sits currently on North Magnolia Avenue, where it is home to the El Cajon Historical Society), Phil Kessler started building his family home on his new ranch in the Granite Hills area. By 1897, he was commercially growing lemons and raisins, doing business as Cleveland Ranch and using his “Oriole Brand” logo, as a proud member of the El Cajon Citrus Ass’n. Working in the dirt was passed down through the generations. Gene has had a life-long interest in the outdoors, off-roading, hiking, camping, restoring old cars and growing really hot chili peppers. Besides that, he has been a San Diego lawyer for almost 40 years.
Gene received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of San Diego, the latter in 1978. He was hired out of law school by Bill Shernoff and Harvey Levine (Shernoff & Levine), the leading insurance bad faith litigation firm in California. He was a member of that firm until 1982, when he became the managing partner here.
He was an adjunct professor of insurance law at USD law school for ten years, and has served as an expert witness many times in insurance cases.
Though primarily a civil trial lawyer, Gene has many business clients, and enjoys trying complicated family law and probate disputes. He has been rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale.com, the highest peer review rating possible, for nearly 30 years.
Admitted to the California State Bar 1978
Bar No. 83048
B.A. History, University of San Diego, 1974
University of San Diego, School of Law, 1978