NEW YORK – Nicholas G. Tsoucalas, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT), was honored on June 13 at the Kellari Taverna in Manhattan by current and former colleagues, family, and friends.
The 90-year-old Greek-American is officially retiring in August, after a 30-year term as a federal judge and a total of 50 years in the legal profession.
Aristidis Kourkoumelis, an attorney who serves as a law clerk to Tsoucalas and who organized the banquet together with colleague George Samiotis, told TNH that “Judge Tsoucalas is a legend. Although this is a pleasant event, we are sad,” because the judge is retiring, and the annual dinner in his honor will be the last with him as an active jurist on the bench. “He is an incredible person and helped us all in our beginnings. Samiotis added that “although it saddens me that the judge is retiring, I feel happy when I think about his career and the fact that he stood by the sides of many new lawyers, myself as well.”
Judge Tsoucalas told TNH that “I will always be present. I may not be handling cases any longer, but that doesn’t mean that I am withdrawing. Whenever they need me, they can call me and I will be there,” he stated characteristically while singing the praises of the lawyers who practiced and are practicing by his side.
“They are all very good people, they know their work, I love them and they love me. I have always tried to promote young Greek lawyers,” he noted.
The judge’s daughter Georgia said she feels “very proud of my father’s career, but even more about what he represents as a human being.
“Tonight’s dinner is a special honor for my father. It has always been his principle to help others, especially the younger generations, and to contribute to his partners, to young lawyers, to the Greek community, and to society itself. He is a remarkable judge, an even more charismatic person and continues to be humble and kind. This is his great legacy,” she told TNH.
“A GREAT TEACHER”
Numerous attorneys spoke to TNH with admiration and gratitude about Judge Tsoucalas’ love for Hellenism and commitment to Greek-Americans in the legal field.
“He is an incredible man, and has greatly contributed to the Greek community, and sets the example for all of us,” said attorney George Pantelaros.
Judge Constantine Coritsidis emphasized the importance of Tsoucalas’ career to Greek America as a whole. “He stood by the side of new Greek lawyers and law students who were just starting out. The fact that he became a Federal Judge alone sets the example for Greek-Americans to set high goals and achieve them,” he said.
“He is a person who earns your love because he embraces you like a teacher,” Kourkoumelis added.
Tsoucalas was appointed to CIT by President Reagan in 1986, and became senior judge of that court ten years later.
A U.S. Navy veteran and former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Tsoucalas also served on New York City’s Criminal Court, and was a judge in the notorious “Son of Sam” (David Berkowitz) trial of 1978.
Through TNH, Judge Tsoucalas conveyed “my warmest wishes to all the new lawyers for a brilliant career, but also in general for all the best in the Greek community,” was the message he wished to send through TNH.
Through TNH, Judge Tsoucalas conveyed “my warmest wishes to all the new lawyers for a brilliant career, but also in general for all the best in the Greek community.”