In the News
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KI LEGAL IN THE NEWS
Recognized for Our Successes
Suffolk Matters on WALK 97.5 and 94.3 The SharkOn Sunday July 30th, KI Legal Personal Injury Co-Founders Michael Iakovou and Andreas Koutsoudakis were invited on Suffolk Matters on WALK 97.5 and 94.3 The Shark to discuss their ongoing advocacy efforts for the firefighters injured this past February in Staten Island as a result of closed firehouses for annual medical exams. To watch the full episode, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElQY8Y_0Vcg. Suffolk Matters is hosted by Dan Levler, President of New York’s largest independent union, The Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees. Suffolk Matters discusses the issues impacting Suffolk County and the people who make Suffolk County work- Suffolk AME. KI Legal Personal Injury continues to fight for our hardworking FDNY members - and we will not stop until justice is served. For more updates on the lawsuit and our fight to protect New York’s firefighters, contact us at (646) 766-8308 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partners’ Combined Skills Let This New York Law Group Adapt to Meet Its Client’s Needs, Even in a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit close to home at the Koutsoudakis & Iakovou Law Group in New York.
Partner Andreas Koutsoudakis Jr. lost his father to the virus.
Andreas Koutsoudakis Sr., a Greek immigrant who came to America with very little, but who built a thriving business on his hard work, died March 27.
“It was just very sudden,” said law partner Michael Iakovou. “Someone with not many underlying health issues, fairly young, 59 years old, to pass like that.”
Koutsoudakis Jr. and Iakovou have organized a GoFundMe campaign in Koutsoudakis’ name, hoping to raise $1,200. As of April 8, they had raised $51,250.
The money will be spread out to buy N95 masks and face shields for medical staff at hospitals in need.
That includes Richmond County University Hospital in Staten Island, where Koutsoudakis passed; and ones in Crete, where Koutsoudakis is from and at hospitals on Kos and Kalymnos Islands in Greece, where Iakovou’s family is from.
Iakovou’s wife, Isabella, has been dealing with the coronavirus in her work as an ICU nurse at Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. She’s been working an inordinate amount of hours to take care of very sick patients.
Responding to a pandemic
The law firm and its clients have not been immune from COVID-19, either. The law group represents many restaurants, hospitality groups and construction companies. When the pandemic shut down the economy, it impacted many of their clients.
Koutsoudakis & Iakovou went from handling contract negotiations and real estate and business transactions to helping their clients process the paperwork surrounding the various loan programs and business aid, like the federal CARE Act that suddenly appeared on the scene.
The firm is prepared to handle much more from the pandemic fallout.
“We’re still representing businesses, but just not in the same context as we were representing them last month. That’s what a good lawyer or law firm is all about, to be able to provide service to clients based on the situation on hand, not just the things by rote,” Iakovou said.
Koutsoudakis & Iakovou represents small and medium-sized businesses as well as the personal legal needs of the business owners.
They handle both litigation and transactional matters. That means bringing people together on business deals as well as settling disputes when they come up.
Iakovou’s practice areas of focus include real estate acquisition, asset protection, business and real estate holding restructuring and commercial transactions.
A one-stop shop
It’s a one-stop shop because of the coming together in December 2018 of Andreas Jr., a litigator; and Michael, a transactional lawyer.
Both had established practices when they merged so the partnership allowed them to offer large scale legal representation at a boutique law firm price.
Business has exploded in the past 18 months because of the scope of their legal coverage, Iakovou said.
They merged to help each other with the workload, to spend more time with family. What happened instead was better service to their clients because of their combined skills.
Iakovou describes himself as a deal maker. “Just reaching a consensus to me is very satisfying, knowing I can make a deal happen for my client even under the most unreasonable or difficult circumstances.”
Iakovou has a lot of medical practitioners in his family. His father, Christos, a Greek immigrant, is a well-known physician in the Greek American community with the Northwell Health System on Long Island. He studied at the Athens medical school, and started his career in America.
His mother is a recently retired nurse practitioner. One of his sisters Annamaria, is also a physician at Northwell, while his other sister is a teacher.
He grew up in New York, mostly on Long Island, in a Greek American household. “We received great exposure to both cultures, American and Greek, which was very important for my upbringing.”
He learned the importance of family and church on his Greek side, along with a Greek American work ethic and a need to do well that influenced his successful career later in life.
In a household of healthcare professionals, Iakovou asks himself all the time how he ended up a lawyer.
The law, and all things connected to it; history, philosophy and language, have always been of tremendous interest to him.
He describes the path to being an experienced lawyer as a baptism by fire.
For him it was a 10-year learning experience. “It takes time to be well rounded,” and to admit you don’t know everything and aren’t always in control.
Looking ahead, Iakovou sees Koutsoudakis & Iakovou, now in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, expanding into the Philadelphia and Connecticut markets, once the pandemic ends.
Law Firm KI Legal Takes Full Floor at Trump’s 40 Wall Street
KI — named for founding attorneys Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou — inked a 10-year lease for 9,200 square feet on the entire 49th floor of 40 Wall Street, according to Norman Bobrow & Co.’s Josh Berger. It will relocate from a 4,000-square-foot space at 90 Broad Street.
Law Firm Takes Floor at 40 Wall
KI Legal, a growing law firm founded by attorneys Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou, with offices located in New York City, Long Island City and Jersey City, has closed on a 10-year lease for the entire 49th floor at the downtown architectural icon, 40 Wall Street, which consists of approximately 9,200 s/f.
KI Legal, which specializes in guiding companies and businesses in compliance, litigation and transactional matters, is moving from their present space at 90 Broad Street where they occupy about 4,000 s/f.
“KI Legal is expanding because their business is growing exponentially” said Norman Bobrow & Co Managing Director Josh Berger who represented the tenant. “The partners feel that it’s important to have a strong, interactive and collaborative office culture to produce the best results for their clients since they are a multi-disciplinary firm. They are investing in the future of the firm.”
According to Berger, the asking rent for the space is $56 psf and the Trump Organization is delivering the space specifically built for the tenants’ needs.
40 Wall Street offers 360 degrees of city and water views, as well as newly renovated “Vaults” which offer private conference rooms and collaborative workspace, multimedia room, wine room, coffee bar and much more.
KI Legal represents companies in the restaurant, real estate and banking industries with the requisite guidance necessary to properly and legally conduct business affairs while staying compliant with necessary current and developing specific sector regulations.
Norman Bobrow & Company is one of New York City’s largest independently owned tenant-focused commercial real estate brokerages.
40 Wall St. Adds Legal Tenant in Full-Floor Lease
KI Legal, a growing law firm founded by attorneys Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou, has closed on a lease for the entire 49th floor at 40 Wall St. The 10-year lease is for approximately 9,200 square feet. The firm is relocating from 90 Broad St., where it occupies about 4,000 square feet.
Norman Bobrow & Co managing director Josh Berger, who represented the tenant, said, “KI Legal is expanding because their business is growing exponentially. The partners feel that it’s important to have a strong, interactive and collaborative office culture to produce the best results for their clients since they are a multi-disciplinary firm. They are investing in the future of the firm.”
Colliers’ Robert Goodman and Tiffany Benton represented the property’s ownership, the Trump Organization, in leasing negotiations. The Trump Organization is delivering the space specifically built for the tenant’s needs.
KI Legal Celebrates Opening New Office at 40 Wall Street
NEW YORK – KI Legal celebrated the opening of their new offices on the entire 49th floor of 40 Wall Street in Manhattan on March 30 with about 250 guests in attendance to show support for the success of the firm and especially the co-founders Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou.
Over the last three years, KI Legal has grown from just two to over 30 people now working for the firm, an impressive achievement considering that most of that growth happened during the pandemic. The business law firm focuses heavily on real estate and hospitality within three practice areas; general counsel, litigation, and transactions. Prior to the arrival of the guests, Fr. John Lardas, presiding priest of the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church of Port Washington, blessed the space for the firm. The event began with a tour of the offices for the invited guests followed by the reception downstairs in The Vaults with food catered by Marathi NYC which is owned by Koutsoudakis. Music was provided by DJ Evans.
Koutsoudakis and Iakovou spoke to the media about the firm and about their respective backgrounds. Iakovou noted that the firm has been working hard and is bringing something new to the Greek-American community, and bringing it to a new level, not only in New York, but in Miami, and soon to Europe, as well.
Koutsoudakis added that the hard work came at a difficult time in the past two years, highlighting the fact that their parents, families, the entire Greek community, many of whom arrived in the U.S. 40 years ago with little or nothing, have now built great things, and while things were simpler back then, and they could get by with an accountant and a lawyer, now, there’s a need to protect what they built.
Iakovou pointed out that KI Legal was established in 2018, and as co-founding partners, he and Koutsoudakis “had a vision to bring all-encompassing representation for business owners that was typically reserved for the larger corporations and for the much bigger law firms… we thought that was lacking in the market and that was the whole genesis of what we’re trying to do here. We strive to represent business owners and principals on transactional matters and litigation matters, so they don’t really need to have a lawyer for this and a lawyer for that, it’s one team here and we know all of our clients across the board.”
Koutsoudakis said that others might discount the construction company owner in Astoria, who has been there for 40 years, but that person is their perfect client, someone they would never discount, “that’s someone that we love and welcome because that’s where our roots are from, the things that our parents came with nothing and they built over 40 years, now they have built something that’s worthy of protection, if there’s going to be anything to pass down to their kids. We look at this next generation of Greek-Americans that grew up with more than their parents did and they know that they need more and so instead of limiting their options to the thousand person firms, why can’t that be more a small knit group that has a very boutique feel and also does all the things that they need.”
When asked about their family backgrounds, Iakovou said that his family “immigrated from the Dodecanese, Kos and Kalymnos, my father Christos Iakovou is a well-known physician in the Astoria community and from a young age, that hard work ethic was instilled in me, working long hours, but for a reason, providing a service because you cared about your patients, your clients… I look to instill those values in my family and children as well.”
Koutsoudakis said that he “grew up in the restaurant business, both my parents are from Chania, Crete, my father, God rest his soul, passed away two years ago, he came here with nothing at 14 and in 10 years, at 24, he opened a diner in TriBeCa and everyone thought he was crazy, but he did it… that’s how much confidence they had in what they were doing and that’s how much support they had at home, and it was fearlessness. And now you give people everything and they still have a hard time doing what people with nothing did, and that’s a shame, because that’s what he came here for, like many other Greeks, the American dream, and that requires protection, that requires a little leveling, and that’s what KI is trying to do. Those people who have that drive… who will do everything for their family… and put themselves at the bottom of the list of the last, those are the people we want to represent. We know those are the winners, through thick or thin, those people with the right professionals around them will always win. It’s about values.”
Among those present for the celebration were New York City Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie, Zoe Koutsoupakis of Signature Bank, Jack ‘Jus Jack’ Trantides – DJ/Music Producer, Chef Christos Bisiotis and Laura Neroulias Bisiotis.
Tips for Dealing with Third-Party Partners
Maybe you’ve been on the fence about signing up with delivery partners, and maybe you’ve been dealing with them for years. In either case, the game has changed in the last year or so, and restaurants are not always getting the short end of the stick in the way they were when these companies first came on the scene. As such, Estiator put together some critical tips that will help you to navigate the lay of the land and optimize your impact and your profits when partnering with these third-party providers.
TIP #1 Fees are not written in stone. Pre-pandemic, most companies were demanding 25-30% commission on orders that they delivered on your behalf. Legal challenges and legislative pressure by restaurant advocacy law firms (very notably Koutsoudakis & Iakovou in New York) on behalf of scores of businesses began to derail the hegemony that the delivery companies had in the relationship, and today most of the companies have significant flexibility in the rates that they will charge you. Some (GrubHub, in my experience) will offer a scaled commission that is tied to your placement on their site. The higher the rate you pay, the more visible your menu on their platform. I took the lowest-cost option to see how much business it would bring, and I’m happy there. My rate is 10% delivery commission, 5% marketing commission, and then 3% for the credit card fees that are passed along. As soon as one service sees you on a competitor’s platform, they all come calling, of course. DoorDash tried to convince me that they bring more business and, as such, a higher rate is understandable. I held my line, and they eventually met the rates GrubHub had given me. UberEats refused to meet the rates and I refused to pay a penny more than I am paying with the other two providers. Postmates is owned by UberEats these days, so I haven’t bothered taking their calls.
TIP #2 You can pass the fees along to customers. In the early days, most of the delivery platforms insisted that the prices charged to delivery customers be the same as the prices on your menu. Today, that’s changed. “You control your menu on our platform” I was told, and it has indeed been the case. I have increased every single item by 10% over restaurant menu price so that I recoup all but 5% of the commissions I’m being charged (excluding the credit card fee, which would be relatively the same whether I pay it directly to the credit card company or to the delivery company).
TIP #3 Don’t trust their web developers to get your menu right. The services will take your menu and create an online version on their platform. But boy, do they botch it. DoorDash in particular did a butcher job of it, even after insisting that they would just copy the menu from the GrubHub platform. Every main dish suddenly had the word “Plate” after it; descriptions were completely wrong, and the Vegetarian label was misused in a few places. What was most surprising about this is that I do not have a Vegetarian designation for any of my items, although I do identify the items that are Vegan. Maybe DoorDash doesn’t understand the difference between the two?
TIP #4 They will offer a free photo shoot, but… Getting the use of the images for your own social media is just about impossible. I tried cutting a side deal with one of the photographers and the other plain out told me he couldn’t. The platforms use photographers from services for these jobs. They’re not the best-paying photography gigs, but they fill in the holes, I suppose. In any case, they follow strict guidelines on how to frame the food. There’s no creativity here. Don’t expect to get anything more than photos to go next to your food items on the delivery platform versions of your menus.
TIP #5 Mistakes, real and imagined. It’s important to bulletproof your takeout model before going live with these companies. Forget a ketchup packet and it’s very likely the end customer will ask for a refund. Sometimes the mistakes have nothing to do with you, but with the delivery drivers. I review every refund carefully and use the ones where fault lies with us as a learning lesson. The others I challenge. So far, the companies have eaten the refunds that I’ve challenged.
TIP #6 They steal your customers. Like it or not, your customers will become GrubHub customers, and they will order from other restaurants on the platform. Just accept it. It’s likely that most of your customers will go that route on their own anyway.
Greek Independence Day Parade 2022 New York
Ones to Watch
OWNER, MARATHI, marathinyc.com
FOUNDING PARTNER, KI LEGAL, kilegal.com
Andreas Koutsoudakis is a familiar face to Estiator readers—and to New Yorkers. For one, he’s a tireless advocate for restaurant owners, speaking out against high third-party delivery fees and supporting estiators through the challenges of the last two years. For another, he owns Marathi, a distinctive Cretan restaurant in Manhattan’s Tribeca whose brilliant menu shines as brightly as its airy, high-ceilinged room. It’s the reincarnation of Tribeca’s Kitchen, the New York institution founded by his late father, Andy Koutsoudakis, Sr., an unofficial mayor of downtown New York. And as an attorney, his civil rights and employment law defense experience includes the representation of individuals and businesses subject to government audits or investigations by the U.S. Dept. of Labor Wage & Hour Division, the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
2022 Gabby Awards Celebrate 15 Years of Impact in Philanthropy, Culture & Service
More than 350 of the Greek America Foundation’s donors and supporters descended upon New York City on Friday, June 3, for the fifth biannual Gabby Awards, our premier fundraising gala honoring Greek America’s Best and Brightest Stars.
Guests gathered at the historic Grand Ballroom of The Plaza Hotel for an exquisite dinner and special entertainment program to recognize the foundation’s 15 years of impact in philanthropy, culture and service in North America and Greece.
Our “Greek Summer” theme set the tone for the night with stunning decor inspired by the Aegean Islands. The theme also inspired the namesake art piece created exclusively for our event by Cacao Rocks, one of Greece’s leading contemporary artists.
The Gabby Awards are a celebration of the most successful, philanthropic and innovative leaders in Greek America. Past honorees have included some of North America’s most successful executives, creatives, athletes, artists, scientists and other leaders in their fields.
This year’s honorees included Amed Khan, humanitarian; Niki Leondakis, CEO of CorePower Yoga and John Varvatos, fashion icon and philanthropist. Click here to read more about them.
True to our “Greek Summer” theme, our honorees received handmade ceramic awards created by Alexandra Manousakis, an acclaimed artist based in Hania, Crete.
In addition to highlighting the honorees, our program included various creative and artistic components such as comedic segments and performances of music by great Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hatzidakis and Vangelis.
And of course, we closed the night out with an epic performance by Greece’s queen of pop, Anna Vissi, and renowned drag queen Athena Dion, who performed Vissi’s smash hit “Xana Mana” as hundreds of themed beach balls were tossed throughout the ballroom.
Vissi and her complete orchestra headlined our after party at Melrose Ballroom in Astoria, the Greekest neighborhood in America, taking our guests on a journey into “Athens by night.”
Click here to read the full 2022 Gabby Awards program credits.
Board members, donors, volunteers and longtime supporters of the Greek America Foundation spoke throughout the night, highlighting various foundation initiatives making a tremendous impact on both sides of the Atlantic.
Among our highlighted projects were the Greek America Corps summer volunteer programs in Greece; Olympia Dukakis Prize; Dipla Sou LGBTQ+ Helpline; Project Hope for Greece and Capital Campaign.
We made important announcements, including a major annual gift of $60,000 from Mr. & Mrs. Michael Psaros, which will fund our Chios summer volunteer program, and the launch of our $10 million Capital Campaign with an inaugural gift from Aristotle Loumis.
The family of the late Andreas Koutsoudakis of New York also announced an annual campaign that will fund a new summer volunteer program on the island of Crete in his memory.
Dinner and dessert for our guests at The Plaza Hotel featured exquisite creations by acclaimed New York based chef Mina Stone and Athens-based pastry chef Antonis Selekos. Imported wines from some of the most bespoke producers in Greece starred prominently throughout the night.
Our live and silent auction featured various beautiful items that were generously donated by some of the most renowned brands and talented individuals from North America and Greece. Offerings included luxury Greek travel packages, exquisite artwork, curated experiences and more.
We offer special thanks and gratitude to all of our sponsors without whom the 2022 Gabby Awards would not have been possible. Click here to see our list of sponsors.
This Week’s N.Y. Deal Sheet
Andreas & Michael of KI Legal
You Focus on Hospitality, KI Will Focus on Legality
You Focus on Hospitality, KI Will Focus on Legality
How can we help you? KI Legal focuses on guiding companies and businesses throughout the entire legal spectrum. Co-founders Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou founded the firm on the premise that family-owned-and-operated businesses need representation at every step of the operational process. Accordingly, KI Legal offers services that directly cater to what businesses need, and perhaps have not even thought of with regards to their day-to-day operations. This includes: litigation defense, shareholder litigation, labor compliance, asset and liability protection strategies, commercial transactions, real estate transactions, and Chapter 11 Reorganization.
It is KI Legal’s cross disciplinary, all-encompassing approach to representation that truly benefits theirclients. This is exemplified in all of their services. They take a holistic approach to deal structure simultaneously limiting liability and leveraging requisite bankruptcy laws by focusing on the entirety of their clients needs rather than only the transaction on hand. KI Legal takes a similar approach in a large real estate transaction, paying close attention to proper permitting, zoning analysis, asset protection, and tax structuring in order to guide their clients to a much better outcome. These are but two examples out of countless others that demonstrate how their cross disciplinary methods benefit their clients.
KI Legal’s unwavering reputation for diligent and thoughtful representation has been established and sustained by its strong team of reputable attorneys and staff. For more information, visit www.kilegal.com, and for the latest updates, follow KI Legal on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. To schedule a free consult, call (212) 404-8644 or email, email@example.com.
NEO magazine - October 2022
KI Legal Celebrates Firm Expansion and New Office on 40 Wall Street, NYC
KI Legal welcomed 250 guests to celebrate the opening and office expansion onto the 49th floor of 40 Wall Street in NYC. Co-founded by Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou, since launching in 2019, the New York City based law firm has grown from just two to over 30 people (impressive achievement considering that most of that growth happened during the pandemic). The business law firm focuses heavily on real estate and hospitality within three practice areas; general counsel, litigation, and transactions.
Prior to the arrival of the guests, Father John Lardas, presiding priest of the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church of Port Washington, blessed the firms’ office space, which was then followed by tours of the office for the invited guests. Next up, guests were guided downstairs to enjoy a lively reception in ‘The Vaults’ with food catered by Marathi NYC (which is owned by co-founder Andreas Koutsoudakis).
Among those present for the celebration were New York City Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie, Zoe Koutsoupakis of Signature Bank, DJ/Music Producer Jack ‘Jus Jack’ Trantides, Greg Pappas of The Pappas Post and Michelin Star nominated Chef, Christos Bisiotis. Music was provided by DJ Evans.
Co-Managing Partner Andreas Koutsoudakis explains that, “the goal from day one, when we built the firm, was to create an environment where people don’t dread calling their lawyer. That’s why we took a hospitality approach to our office’s design, and general ethos, that makes getting a call from or visiting your lawyer, or vice versa, not this dreaded moment! The culture we’ve created is how we can help you, not only from a legal standpoint but also a business one. We always are thinking about who can be connected, who is best for you to meet, and so on because we always think about our clients, whether or not we drive an immediate benefit from it.”
He goes on to say that “the party ended up being a reflection of this goal. Like many other events we host or attend, the party was just about putting all of our clients in 1 room so they can end up making connections with other great companies and people to help expand their business. And ultimately it was a great celebration. It was an honor to see so many people supporting us and if we could’ve fit a 1,000 we would have invited them all! Now, we just can’t wait for the holiday party!”
In a similar vein, Co-Managing Partner Michael Iakovou shares that, “the outpouring of love and support certainly did not go unnoticed by us. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how our core client bases, of restaurant hospitality and real estate operators, were very well balanced and represented at the event. Having the collective opportunity to connect in person was something sorely missed from our society the last two years, and we hope to do this for our clients, friends, and family multiple times a year moving forward!”
:Call to Action: For all of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact KI Legal and find out what we can do for you. With a process rooted in education, personalization, and execution, we work hard to offer a Big-Law-scope of services while retaining a small-firm-style of communication,” he concleded.
Steven Siegler, Partner at KI Legal, to Speak at The Knowledge Group’s Independent Contractor Under the Fair Labor Standards ActFor further details, please visit:
About Steven Siegler
An experienced litigator and advisor focusing on employment law and business law, Steven’s breadth of experience gives him a unique understanding of issues that business owners, shareholders, partners, executives and key employees face, and the strategies needed to get his clients the best possible results. Steven works tirelessly for his New York and New Jersey clients with employment law needs, designing customized and cost-effective compliance strategies, including tailored handbooks, policies and procedures manuals, training programs, workplace investigations, and responses to agency audits; if litigation becomes necessary, he has the trial experience and understanding to mount a vigorous defense. For entrepreneurs, start-ups and business owners, Steven provides honest and effective legal advice, compliance strategies and contract preparation with a view toward maximizing business gains and minimizing future disputes. He also protects and asserts the rights of business owners in non-competition, trade secret, and business defamation claims.
About KI Legal
Founded by attorneys Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou, KI Legal focuses on guiding companies and businesses throughout the entire legal spectrum. KI Legal’s services generally fall under three broad-based practice group areas: Transactions, Litigation and General Counsel. Its extensive client base is primarily made up of real estate developers, managers, owners and operators, lending institutions, restaurant and hospitality groups, construction companies, investment funds, and asset management firms.
Worker misclassification has perpetually posed serious challenges for many businesses and companies alike. Today, the number of misclassified workers as independent contractors continues to grow, across all industries, despite shifting regulatory initiatives.
The US Department of Labor recently announced its plan to issue a new Independent Contractor (IC) Final Rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While the proposed change will aid in ensuring protection for workers under the FLSA, it will also generate profound compliance hurdles for companies. In order to avoid penalties and non-compliance, companies must keep themselves adept with the new rule, its implications, and potential drawbacks. Moreover, companies must understand that learning about, and implementing, best practices for correct employee classification is imperative to mitigate risks.
Listen as The Knowledge Group presents experienced litigator Steven Siegler (KI Legal) and labor and employment attorney Jackie C. Staple (Jackson Walker LLP) to discuss the most significant issues and challenges surrounding the independent contractor law landscape. The distinguished speakers will share fresh insights and best practices to successfully navigate through the complexities of the evolving worker classification landscape based on their experience.
Key topics that will be covered in this discussion are:
- Independent Contractor: Final Rule
- Regulatory Changes: Potential Impact on the Businesses
- Practical Toolkit: Most Widely Used Classification Tests
- Emerging Compliance Issues: Mitigating Risks and Penalties
- What’s Next
About The Knowledge Group
Founded in November 2006, The Knowledge Group has been at the forefront of providing quality continuing education programs for lawyers, accountants, financial executives, risk and compliance specialists, human resources professionals, technology officers, and business consultants in a wide range of industries.
The Knowledge Group strives to be the best-in-class provider of continuing education by bringing forth relevant content you can’t get anywhere else.
Andreas Koutsoudakis Sr. Memorial FundEvery year, in his memory, we will honor the legacy on earth of the late Andreas Koutsoudakis with a summer volunteer program on the island of Crete, named in his memory.
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The Hellenic Lawyers Association at the Supreme Court Admission Ceremony in DC
WASHINGTON, DC – The Hellenic Lawyers Association (HLA) Supreme Court Admission Ceremony took place on May 25 in Washington, DC. PN Lawyers partner Taso Pardalis was among the HLA members who had their names read in open court before all sitting justices as they were admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The HLA Supreme Court Admission Trip also included HLA President George N. Zapantis, Andreas Koutsoudakis, Michael Iakovou, Matia Nikolovienis, Irene Angelakis, Deana Balahtsis, Chrisanthy Zapantis-Melis, and Ted Anastasiou.
Koutsoudakis and KI Legal Bring Legacy of Restaurant Industry Experience To Metro NY’s Hospitality Community
The relationship between restaurant owners and lawyers is not often described as symbiotic. Typically, we see lawyers called in to defend a client when a restaurant needs finds itself facing potential litigation.
In reality, however, working with an attorney who specializes in hospitality law can be a real asset that helps a restaurant business solidify their daily operations with the goal of growing to the next level. Today’s restaurateur is faced with a variety of legal challenges. From wage and labor compliance to the creation of real estate lease agreements and succession plans that set business owners up for success, selecting the correct attorney is vital for the future of your restaurant.
Andreas Koutsoudakis is the Co-Founder and Litigation Division Managing Partner of KI Legal. Koutsoudakis has created a law practice that specializes in working with restaurants and foodservice entities across the NYC metro area. As a young man, Koutsoudakis grew up in his father’s restaurant, spending most of his summers and college days helping the family business serve its loyal customer base.
His calling proved to be the law, and it evolved to give him the opportunity to utilize all his family business background to assist others in the restaurant community. Following his graduation from law school in 2008, the Manhattan-based attorney started his career working with businesses to settle wage and hour lawsuits. Soon after, he realized that there was more he could do to get ahead of these problems for his clients. “Quickly I realized I didn’t want to build a practice whose main purpose was just settling malpractice suits. I wanted to build a firm concept that could provide more for restaurant businesses by being providing preventative and proactive services.” explained Koutsoudakis.
With this goal in mind, Koutsoudakis and his fellow Co-Founder,Michael Iakovou, began to create labor and employment compliance packages that were both accessible and broad enough to fit the needs of most restaurant business models; by doing so, Koutsoudakis aimed to put the power in the business owner’s hands, allowing them to become compliant and get ahead of any other potential legal complications. Through these packages, Koutsoudakis drafted policies and plans for clients to handle their labor and employment compliance, from record keeping for hours todiscrimination and harassment defense, and more. Ultimately, Koutsoudakis designed a full portfolio of affordable legal systems designed to cater to the needs of the unique needs of the restaurant community.
Part of KI Legal’s hospitality services has always been to debunk the many myths associated with on-going labor compliance – one such myth being that an operator can rely ontheir payroll company to provide the proper documentation to keep them from potential discrimination actions. According to Koutsoudakis, “the payroll company’s focus is primarily on sending out the printed checks to your employees. However, this can be misconstrued as legal compliance when in fact it’s merely record keeping. The contribution these companies provide solely deal with the taxes and withholding, not necessarily keeping track of the actual number of hours worked. In other words, they will factor in however many hours the payroll manager inputs, which sometimes may be inaccurate. You must also consider the independent restaurants that have employees working off the books, which then becomes a tax issue not a payroll issue. How do they stay complaint? These companies don’t necessarily account for certain realities of the business that a lawyer will understand.”KI Legal offers a full range of multi-disciplinary services under the over-arching umbrellas of general counsel, litigation, and transactions. Koutsoudakis believes that all restaurant owners must “look at your restaurant through a different lens. We help our client base see not just a 10-seat pizzeria, but a business – and your restaurant deserves to have professionals on your side that really understand the dynamics.”
Koutsoudakis and his KI Legal team also understand the nuances of a post-pandemic real estate market, which has seen more New York restaurants taking advantage of new opportunities. Their diverse experience providing guidance on the negotiation of lease agreements between restaurant operators and existing and potential landlords has proven to be invaluable. “As a practicing lawyer right now is the time to do more than sign the standard lease agreement. Everything is negotiable.” said Koutsoudakis.
“Our approach is to help operators looking for a space for the first time to arm themselves with extensive knowledge about the industry and the community that they are moving into” Koutsoudakis noted.
By educating restaurant owners and sharing this valuable information with them, KI teachesthem to use that information to their advantage in that initial meeting with the landlord. “Knowing the realities of the industry you’re going into – such as moving into a space where people haven’t returned to their pre-pandemic work schedule -can be useful information to justify certain asks when making a deal with a landlord. These landlords want to fill the spaces to pay their mortgages, they are more willing to work with knowledgeable business operators who are prepared to face those issues head on,” Koutsoudakis explained.
KI Legal brings New York restaurant owners specialized restaurant and hospitality industry knowledge. KI Legal’s commitment to understanding the constantly changing hospitality law and relaying to owners how such law will impact them and their business is what ultimately drives them to success.
Injured firefighters plan suit against NYC over closing firehouse before near-deadly blaze
Three firefighters severely injured in a Staten Island house fire plan to sue New York City, charging that a long-standing FDNY policy of shutting down firehouses for medical checkups delayed the response and set the stage for near-fatal conditions.
Nearly two dozen firefighters were injured in the blaze, but Lt. Bill Doody and Firefighter William Guidera, both of Ladder Company 84, and Firefighter Kwabena Brentuo, of Engine Company 168, came very close to dying in the fire.
All three became trapped in the single-family home on Shotwell Ave. near Tryon Ave. in Annadale around 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 17, according to official accounts and legal filings.
The Arthur Aidala Power Hour 6-29-23
3 FDNY Members Hurt Battling Staten Island Blaze Plan to Sue NYC Over Closed Firehouse
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y — Three FDNY firefighters who were seriously injured when a home partially collapsed as they were battling a raging blaze in Annadale back in February have filed a notice of claim and plan to sue New York City.
The trio, Bill Doody, a lieutenant, and Michael Guidera, both of Ladder Co. 84 in Huguenot, and Kwabena Brentuo of Engine Co. 168 in Rossville claim a “defective” FDNY policy of closing firehouses for required medical physicals without replacements contributed to the delayed response and created dangerous conditions for those arriving.
More than 20 other FDNY members were hurt in the Annadale blaze. Officials previously said the fire broke out in the rear of 84 Shotwell Ave. and spread to 88 Shotwell just before 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 17., triggering a massive emergency response that included 200 firefighters.
As firefighters were inside, part of the rear of 84 Shotwell collapsed. Doody, Guidera and Brentuo all sustained “severe, permanent, serious physical internal, and external injuries to the whole body,” according to court filings.
All three men have filed notices of claim with the intent to sue to get the policy changed, and plan to seek $20 million in damages.
Andreas Koutsoudakis, co-founder of KI Legal Personal Injury, who is representing the three firefighters, said his clients will never be able to work again due the injuries they suffered.
“Just learning why this happened, you have this fire and these firefighters are running to something short staffed — it’s unbelievable,” he said.
The closest firehouse to the blaze — Ladder Co. 167 in Annadale — was closed for medicals, according to Koutsoudakis.
The apparatus assigned to it was taken out of commission for scheduled maintenance, the Uniformed Firefighters Association detailed in a press release.
Koutsoudakis added firefighters should not be running into a life or death situation without adequate resources and support.
“That’s what were looking to change. There is no logical reason why this is put in place, let alone be the policy that has been in place for decades,” the lawyer said.
Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro had similar sentiments, detailing the union has brought up the dangers of closing whole fire companies for firefighter medicals to the department’s attention many times to no avail.
“As this situation demonstrates, closing one company affects response times and increases the risk of injuries or death,” Ansbro said in a statement.
The union is calling on the FDNY and the mayor to staff every firehouse in every neighborhood “all day, every day,” stating there are more than enough spare engines or ladders that can be staffed with firefighters and pre-deployed to cover temporary closures.
“This should be an easy fix for the city and it should have happened a long time ago. It shouldn’t take a situation where 22 firefighters are injured — 3 severely, to get to this conversation. Their lives are forever altered,” Koutsoudakis said.