The Hellenic Lawyers Association (HLA) held its Twenty-Third Annual Dinner Dance Gala this past November in the Grand Ballroom of the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The HLA honored New York State Senator and Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and presented the Attorney of the Year Award to Nick Katsoris, Esq., General Counsel of the Red Apple Group, Inc. and President of the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund. The organization also continued its proud tradition of recognizing deserving law students by awarding nine scholarships that evening.
Outgoing President Mamie Stathatos-Fulgieri greeted a room of over 300 people at the gala, which included federal and state court judges, local politicians, prosecutors, and attorneys from prominent New York law firms. Ms. Stathatos-Fulgieri, who served as the HLA’s president for three years, was herself a scholarship recipient in 1993 when she was a student at St. John’s University School of Law. Ms. Stathatos-Fulgieri recapped the HLA’s successful year during which the organization hosted several seminars for its members, participated in career fairs providing networking opportunities to students of Hellenic descent, and afforded numerous opportunities for HLA members to associate with members of other Hellenic professional organizations, including the Hellenic Medical Association, the Hellenic American Bankers Association and the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Stathatos-Fulgieri recognized two of its members, Kate Christoforatos and Carmen Markakis St. George, who ran for state judgeships.
Incoming President Elena Paraskevas-Thadani presented an award to Senator Skelos honoring him for his long-term commitment to public service. Senator Skelos was re-elected to his fourteenth term in the New York State Senate last year. He now serves as the chamber’s Majority Leader, making him the highest-ranking Republican official in State government. Senator Skelos, the grandson of Greek immigrants, successfully worked with Archbishop Demetrios and Governor Cuomo to come to an agreement on the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero, the only church destroyed on September 11, 2011. Among his many accomplishments, Senator Skelos worked to pass consensus legislation that reduced the size of the State’s budget deficit by more than $1 billion. As the author of Megan’s Law, he created the New York State Sex Offender Registry and authored numerous measures strengthening the laws to protect New Yorkers from violent offenders. To fight fraud, waste and abuse in the state’s Medicaid program and save billions of dollars for state and local taxpayers, Senator Skelos authored the nation’s most sweeping Medicaid fraud law in 2006.
Ms. Paraskevas-Thadani recognized Attorney of the Year Nick Katsoris, who began serving as General Counsel for the Red Apple Group, Inc. in 1995 when he was only 28 years old. In 1990 Mr. Katsoris founded the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, which has since awarded over $2 million in scholarships. He is also the author of the award-winning Loukoumi book series, which includes a just-released Celebrity Cookbook featuring favorite childhood recipes from over fifty celebrities. Mr. Katsoris sponsors the Growing Up with Loukoumi Dream Day contest, which grants the winners of the contest the opportunity to spend a day in their dream careers. Proceeds from the Loukoumi books benefit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Chefs for Humanity. He has also written for the National Law Journal and is the author of Crimes of Fire, a legal thriller. At the gala, Mr. Katsoris urged those in attendance to “make a difference.”
HLA Chairperson Kate Christoforatos presented the organization’s scholarships to Alexia Aravantinos (Benajamin N. Cardozo School of Law), Elias Demopoulos (New York Law School), Maria Fechter (St. John’s University School of Law), Kalliope Kefallionos (Columbia Law School), Andreas Koudellou (Fordham University School of Law), Stephanie Lagoudis (Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center), Nicole Lapsatis (St. John’s University School of Law), Maria Zachariadis (New York Law School) and Irene Zoupaniotis (Hofstra University School of Law).
The Hellenic Lawyers Association hosts lectures, educational events and networking opportunities throughout the year for its members and for the Greek-American and legal communities. For more information, the phone number is 718-726-5400 and their website, www.hlany.org.