NEW YORK – At the lavish Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 61st Street in Manhattan across the street from Central Park, it was easy on the evening of November 21 to determine which group was comprised of Greek lawyers.
One flight up from the Pierre’s opulent lobby led to a large area that contained two distinct crowds, and one was considerably louder than the other. Greeks are loud, and lawyers are loud, and so Greek lawyers? It’s not hard to figure out.
The loudness in this case was not rooted in festivity, not contentiousness, for the Hellenic Lawyers Association (HLA) held its 26th Annual Dinner Dance Gala – so the attorneys had every right to profess their joy at the top of their lungs.
HLA Advisory Board Chair Mamie Stathakos-Fulgieri welcomed the spirited crowd, and the Honorable Nicholas Tsoucalas officially installed Michael J. Hartolifis as President. Following President Hartofilis’ remarks Kate Christophoratos presented seven scholarship winners, listed here alphabetically, followed by their corresponding law schools: Constantine Caviris – St. John’s University School of Law; John Hohos – New York Law School; Maria Kefalas – Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Antonios Koulotouros – Georgetown University Law Center; Konstantinos Litgourgis – St. John’s University School of Law; Eleanna Maidiotis – St. John’s University School of Law; and Peter Varlan – New York University School of Law.
The Gala’s Guest of Honor was George Venizelos, who is Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) New York Field Office. He supervises all operations and personnel throughout New York City as well as eight New York State counties, and LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports.
“I grew up watching Kojak,” Venizelos told an amused and appreciative crowd, “Telly Savalas was my role model,” he said, citing the renowned Greek actor as an inspiration for his law enforcement career. He also cited former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, and veteran news anchor Ernie Anastos, as worthy examples within the Greek-American community that made a lasting positive impression on him through the years.
The HLA Attorney of the Year – for the first time, a woman – is Anastasia Danias, the Senior Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer of the National Football League (NFL). Walking the microphone to the NFL’s theme music – a sound no doubt familiar to scores of football fans in the crowd – Danias spoke about another woman who deserves an honor, the single mom, her own, who raised her. She also spoke of her Yiayia and gave advice to the young lawyers in the crowd – to take the sound advice of their yiayiades, and in a few years, they would be the ones whom the HLA would honor.
CAPTION FOR GROUP PHOTO: CAPTION: Officers of the Hellenic Lawyers Association of New York and honorees. Seated (L-R) Kate D. Christoforatos, Katina Brountzas, Panayiota K. Bougiamas, Mamie Stathatos-Fulgieri, Attorney of the Year Anastasia Danias, Maria Barous Hartofilis, Chrisanthy N. Zapantis, Constantina Papageorgiou. Standing (L-R) Thomas T. Papain, Peter Metis, Michael Tiliakos, John Zervopoulos, Honoree George Venizelos, President Michael J. Hartofilis, Christopher G. Kulakis, Bill Gianaris, George Zapantis, and John G. Saketos.
Photo: Maria Tolios.