CHICAGO - The Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois (HBA) named Judge Charles P. Kocoras this year’s honored judiciary at the 12th annual Judges Night, June 7th. Held at the National Hellenic Museum (NHM) in Chicago’s historic Greektown, the event drew a crowd of 350 individuals in the field of law, 150 of them judges, making it the HBA’s most attended Judge Night to date.
Kocoras, who serves as United States Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, received the Socrates Dikastes Award for exemplifying judiciary principles as identified by the great Greek philosopher Socrates: “to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly and to decide impartially.”
“Judge Charles P. Kocoras has the attributes that Socrates attributed to a judge, of fairness, impartiality and diligence,” said Frank J. Andreou, Judges Night co-chairman and founding principal at Andreou&Casson, Ltd. “Judges don’t have to be of Hellenic descent...we’ve honored some pretty important judges throughout the years,” he said.
Last year, Judges Night Socrates Dikastes Award recipient was Chief Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court, Timothy C. Evans. Judges in attendance this year included individuals from the Federal Court, Illinois Supreme Court, and Appellate and Circuit Courts from the counties of Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will.
“Judge Kocoras has been serving law in general and making our community proud since the days of Jimmy Carter,” said foreign legal consultant Christos Kiosses.
A celebration of the judiciary, the annual Judges Night serves as one of HBA’s largest fundraising efforts. While judges enjoyed a complimentary invitation, the event’s $175 professional and $75 student ticket included an open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres, and helped raise funds for HBA’s various efforts.
Beginning on the museum’s ground floor, the event escalated to the building’s rooftop overlooking a Chicago city skyline backdrop.
“The museum is so proud to host this event. We always enjoy it because it bring out the best of our community,” said Dino Armiros, NHM board member and partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein& Lehr. “The Hellenic Bar Association is a valued partner for the Hellenic Museum and tonight is really the highlight of the year for both the HBA and the museum in terms of community engagement,” he said.
A casual event, the HBA’s Judges Night is a fun opportunity to socialize with Chicago’s Greek American community, members of the judiciary, law students, attorneys and philhellenes.
“Events like this bring us closer, we get to network and figure out ways to help and support each other and not only bring the community closer, but let people of non-Greek descent know what we do and how strong our community is,” Kiosses said.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet other law students and professionals and to become familiar with the Greek community and those involved in this network,” said Peter Kourkouvis, a law student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
Established in 1951, the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois is comprised of multi-generational Greek-Americans and philhellenes. Just one year after its formation, member James Chelos became the first elected Greek-American judge in Cook County, Illinois, while dozens followed appointment to the judiciary system in later years.
With a diverse membership including individuals in government, judiciary, corporations, small firms, regional firms and international firms, the HBA promotes legal education seminars and social events, and sponsors an annual banquet to raise funds for its charitable arm.