Prof. Constantine Katsoris Shares His Story in ‘A Ram from Sparta’

The Fordham Review published a special essay, titled A Ram from Sparta by Constantine N. Katsoris, in its March 2023 edition. In the essay, Professor Katsoris shares the story of his life, his roots (both his parents were from Sparta), and his legal career.

Prof. Katsoris, the Ignatius M. Wilkinson Professor of Law at Fordham, is a graduate of Fordham College at Rose Hill (now known as the Gabelli School of Business) in 1953 and Fordham’s School of Law in 1957, where he was first in his class and received the Chapin Prize for attaining the highest weighted average. He also received an LLM in Corporate Finance from New York University (NYU) School of Law in 1963.

Prof. Katsoris is the longest-serving faculty member at Fordham Law, having joined the faculty in 1964, and has also served as a director of the Fordham Law Alumni Association (FLAA) since 1972.

The Fordham Law Review published A Ram from Sparta by Professor Constantine N. Katsoris. Photo: TNH Staff

His father, Nicholas, born in Sparta, came to the U.S. as a teenager at the turn of the last century and built a career at his uncle’s food importing firm of Lekas & Drivas.

“After a few years of learning that business, he returned to Greece and married my mother, Nafsika, and they embarked to America to start the Katsoris clan here in the United States,” Prof. Katsoris writes in his autobiography.

They first lived in Brooklyn, near Ebbets Field, then moved to Washington Heights. Eventually, the Katsoris family moved to Long Beach, Long Island, but after two years of high school there, when Constantine Katsoris was 14 – he was skipped ahead two grades – he rode the LIRR every day to Xavier High School in Manhattan.

He studied accounting and then law at the old Fordham campus at 302 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.

After, his father left Lekas & Drivas and “retired,” he started his own company N. Katsoris, Inc. and hoped Prof. Katsoris would go into the family business. He chose instead to study law, but before he graduated his father passed away.

The young Katsoris could have chosen the family business, which was an innovative firm, being among the first to package Greek food products in jars, and as he told TNH in a previous interview: “I studied business at Fordham, and earned a Master’s in tax law at NYU but I learned the most about business working with my father for 10 years.”

The decision was made, however, to sell the business to Argyrios Fantis, who was a family friend.

William Hughes Mulligan, Dean of Fordham Law, who was his professor and mentor, was the one who encouraged Katsoris to complete his degree.

Before joining the Fordham Law faculty, Prof. Katsoris practiced law at Cahill, Gordon, Reindel & Ohl and volunteered for the Legal Aid Society. He also has provided extensive public and pro bono service in civil and criminal matters over the course of his career.

Prof. Katsoris was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award 1999, was inducted into Xavier High School Hall of Fame in 2008, and has received numerous awards including the Fordham Law Alumni Association’s Alumni Medal of Achievement (1995), Fordham University’s Bene Merenti Medals (1985 and 2004), the Dean’s Medal of Achievement (1999), the Students’ Medal of Achievement (1992), the Public Interest Resource Center’s Award (1993), the Urban Law Journal’s Louis J. Lefkowitz Award (2003), the George J. Mitchell Lifetime Public Service Award (2014), the Gov. Malcolm Wilson Distinguished Alumnus Award (2015), and the Fordham Law Review Leonard F. Manning Achievement Award (2017). He also served on the Board of Advisors of the Feerick Center for Social Justice.

He also served as a member and as Chairman of the School Board at the St. Spyridon Parochial School, and is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Prof. Katsoris was honored by Fordham University School of Law with the Milton Fisher ’42 Second Harvest Award at the 74th Annual FLAA Luncheon on March 3.

Of his family, Prof. Katsoris writes: “In my ‘spare time,’ I married the lovely Ann Kanganis, and we had three children (Nancy, Nicholas, and Louis)— each of whom later graduated from both the Fordham School of Business and Fordham Law School. Nicholas and Louis were also graduates of Fordham Preparatory School. I am also happy to say that Ann and I have seven wonderful grandchildren: Annie (and her husband Matt, who were married by Father Joseph M. McShane at the Fordham University Church in 2019), Christopher, Constantine, Kelly, Julia, and Cole.”

The Fordham Law Review is available online.


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