George S. Kounoupis

George S. Kounoupis

Location:
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Phone:
877-509-4333
610-628-1336
Fax:
610- 691-8418
Email:

“AV” rated, (preeminent) Martindale-Hubbell; named “SUPER LAWYER” in International Law 2006-2012 (as published in Philadelphia Magazine) (less than 5% of lawyers); Fellow, American Bar Foundation (less than 1/3 of 1% of Pennsylvania lawyers); Member, "Million Dollar Advocates Forum"; Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society (less than 5% of lawyers); Selected by National Trial Lawyers Association to Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania; ranked “Superb” by AVVO; former national Co-Chair of the National Employment Lawyers, National Origin & Ethnic Discrimination Committee; former Chair of Northampton County, Pennsylvania Labor & Employment Law Committee.

• One of Focus Europe Magazine’s “Top International Lawyers”
• American Society of Legal Advocates, Top 100 PA Lawyers (less than 2% of lawyers)
• Nominated to Best Lawyers in America
• On Advisory Board, American Society of International Law.
• Author, BNA International Labor Law Treatise, Section on Greece;
• Author, BNA International Non-Compete and Restrictive Covenants Treatise, Section on Greece;
• Author, LexisNexis Greek Tax Law Updates;
• Author, Kluwer Books “Greek Company Law” Section;
• ABA International Law Section, Liaison (Ambassador) to the Greek Bar;
• Co-Chair, U.S. Lawyers Practicing Abroad Committee of the ABA.
• Appointed to the ABA’s Advisory Panel

As one of only a handful of attorneys licensed in both the U.S. and Greece, Mr. Kounoupis has practiced international and comparative law for over 25 years. After practicing corporate and securities law for one of the largest Philadelphia law firms (Fox, Rothschild), Mr. Kounoupis formed his own law firm, with offices in the U.S., Athens and Thessaloniki Greece, focusing on U.S.-Greek legal matters. He is the former legal advisor to the Greek Embassy and the Greek-American Chamber of Commerce, as well as multiple other organizations, including, at one time or another, almost all major Greek-American organizations. He has represented numerous municipalities, police organizations and public unions in legal matters, as well as having acted as general counsel to a major NASDAQ corporation. He is a frequent lecturer on international business and employment matters including regularly presenting for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and appearing on television’s “American Law Journal”. He has been quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, C-Span, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Court TV. Notable recent cases involving Greek law have included representation of the heirs and estate of the Patriarch of Alexandria (second highest member of the Orthodox Church worldwide) in litigation against Boeing for a crash in Greece; a successful trial victory in Greece, in a Hague child kidnapping case, over Greece’s premiere trial attorney; and representation of a major U.S. software manufacturer in closing a multi-million dollar Greek computer contract.

George S. Kounoupis was born in Sparta, Greece in June of 1962. Mr. Kounoupis grew up, like many other Greek-Americans, with his father and family operating restaurant related businesses in Pennsylvania. While in high school and while working at his parents’ restaurant in the early 1970’s, he first observed that his parents, his uncles and many other individuals in the Greek-American community spent countless days, months and even years struggling with Greek Consulates, Greek government bureaucracies, traveling back and forth to Greece; and when in Greece, accomplishing nothing, running around to numerous agencies, bureaus, administrations and even government democracies, trying to accomplish even the most basic real estate transactions and business matters. He often observed that they came away highly frustrated, and were subjected to fraud, misrepresentation and had lost property, money and assets; and that in doing so (running back and forth to Greece) it not only disrupted their U.S. personal lives and work, but they also lost an opportunity to vacation in Greece while they were there – rather than running around endlessly trying to accomplish even the most basic legal tasks. Keeping this in mind, Mr. Kounoupis, after graduating from prestigious Lehigh University (graduating with high honors in international relations and economics), went on to Temple Law School in Philadelphia. [Temple Law School is one of the top law schools in the nation for international law]. During his time at Temple Law School, Mr. Kounoupis met one of the top constitutional law professors from Athens University School of Law, who invited Mr. Kounoupis, after a course of study at both Temple and Athens University School of Law, to sit for examination to be admitted to the Greek Bar. Even though Mr. Kounoupis had graduated with honors from Temple Law School and was working for one of the largest corporate and business law firms in Philadelphia (primarily doing securities law, mergers and acquisitions), he spent almost a year and a half in the United States and Greece preparing for and ultimately taking the Greek Bar, which he passed in 1989. At such time, Mr. Kounoupis became a licensed lawyer, both in the U.S. (Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and Greece. At this time (1989), Mr. Kounoupis was one of only a handful of lawyers licensed both in Greece and the U.S. and, as far as is known, the first U.S. lawyer to take and pass the Greek Bar and be also licensed in Greece. [, November 19, 1990, Volume 3, No. 191]. In 1991, having learned from and worked with the most sophisticated legal practices in the large Philadelphia law firms, Mr. Kounoupis left to start his own firm, with a goal of becoming the best, most exclusive U.S.-Greek law firm in the world. Learning that he could not do everything himself (although it has always been his focus to personally oversee every matter - from both a U.S. and Greek law perspective), he spent a significant amount of time identifying, handpicking, training and developing his Greek law affiliates and partners. Critical to George Kounoupis in building the Firm is that it operates as a unique, integrated law firm – not just a corresponding or referring relationship. Only in such a way, could the lawyers provide true service to the U.S.-Greek clients - meaning an integrated, coordinated, competent and efficient representation in both countries to make sure that no issue was missed with regard both U.S. and Greek law; that regular updates are given and that the client is protected on all sides. Often George will tell American clients that, when they speak to him in the United States on a legal matter, it is just as if they were sitting at the Firm’s Athens office discussing that legal matter. Whether speaking in Greek or in English, whether meeting in the United States (Pennsylvania or New Jersey) or in Greece (Athens or Thessaloniki) – it does not matter. Mr. Kounoupis will ensure that competent and economical Greek legal work will get done and all U.S.-Greek legal matters, issues and documents that we are retained to represent the client for will be identified and obtained.

The fact is, not many lawyers (indeed only a handful in the world) claim being licensed in both the United States and in Greece. Even less can claim to be United States lawyers first, having worked at a major United States law firm and a substantial and prestigious United States practice, while also being licensed in Greece.

In today’s world, lawyers can claim on their websites anything they want. Not all are truthful and comply with the ethical rules.  In comparing lawyers, it is most important to see what independent organizations, peer reviews, lawyer ranking, credentialing committees, societies and organizations have said about the law firm or lawyer. Indeed, this independent verification process is critical because it indicates whether an attorney is independently verified for integrity in the United States (an issue of particular importance when you are sending money or signing powers of attorneys over to individuals thousands of miles away from your home. Individuals from Greece, touting themselves on the internet, can claim anything they want to in order to entice U.S. clients abroad). Greek-Americans have been subjected to a barrage of dubious Greek law internet sites (very often by Greek law firms that do not even exist) and even travel agents and Greek realtors - all promising Greek-Americans that they can handle all their Greek matters! This can have devastating consequences not only because there is no recourse if they take your money or property but also because grave legal errors can cause forfeit and loss of rights. The idea of malpractice insurance or bonding to secure client representation is practically unknown to lawyers in Greece.

In addition to being documented as never having any issue of discipline before the Pennsylvania or New Jersey Supreme Court or Bars, George Kounoupis has been independently verified (peer review) for integrity and competence as follows:

Martindale-Hubbell (the premiere lawyer rating company) has rated George Kounoupis, not only 5 out of 5 (the highest ranking and rating in competence and legal skill) but also the highest integrity. Martindale-Hubbell highest (pre-eminent) “AV” Rating is given only after peer review for integrity. In addition, George Kounoupis has been named a “Super Lawyer” (which requires peer review for integrity); he is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Honorary Trial Lawyer Society; was elected by the National Trial Lawyers Association as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Pennsylvania. All of these require stringent peer review of ethics and integrity, and all such designations have been independently verified by questioning other lawyers and judges. No other lawyer practicing U.S.-Greek law has anything even approaching this type of independent, peer review, verification for integrity and ethics. Mr. Kounoupis’ representation of multiple U.S. police and law enforcement organizations proves this as well.

No other U.S.-Greek lawyer also has proven scholarship and writings on U.S.-Greek law that match or even come close to those of George Kounoupis. This has led to George Kounoupis being selected by the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law (in other words, the organization that represents all United States attorneys practicing international law) to be its official Liaison or “Ambassador” to Greece. This means, as far as the American Bar Association’s International Law Section is concerned (and all U.S. international lawyers), George Kounoupis is the official contact and representative of said U.S. lawyers to Greece. Mr. Kounoupis’ trust and integrity, again, cannot be matched by any other lawyer practicing in Greece. In addition, the American Bar Association Committee that deals with the United States Lawyers Practicing Abroad is the primary committee for all U.S. lawyers that practice also in other countries. George Kounoupis is Co-Chair of said Committee, which indicates his recognition in the United States by lawyers who practice abroad. No other Greek-American lawyer comes anywhere near these positions of distinction with the American Bar Association in the United States for international law and/or Greek law. Because of his knowledge and expertise, Mr. Kounoupis has been appointed also to the American Bar Association’s Advisory Panel. Because of his proven scholarship and knowledge of Greek law, Mr. Kounoupis has been chosen, selected and appointed to write the following publications: BNA’s International Labor Law Treatise, Section on Greece; BNA’s International Non-Compete and Restrictive Covenants Treatise, Section on Greece; LexisNexis’ Greek Tax Law Updates; and Kluwer Books “Greek Company Law” Section.

Officially recognized internationally as the foremost writer on Greek law in the United States, George Kounoupis is at the top of his profession in terms of U.S.-Greek law and has no substitute.

Additional Honors, Recognitions and Awards
Mr. Kounoupis has acted as general legal counsel to the premier and largest Greek American organizations and committees (including the Hellenic American National Council and the premier Greek trade shows (Hermes Trade Show), newspapers and Greek-American Chambers of Commerce). In 1997 Mr. Kounoupis was honored by the American Hellenic Lawyers Association for his "outstanding record of professional achievement in the practice of law". Recently, he received similar honors from the Connecticut Hellenic American Lawyers Association. He has served as Advisor on International Trade matters to the Pennsylvania Department of State. After practicing securities, corporate and commercial law with one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious corporate law firms in Philadelphia (Fox, Rothschild). Mr. Kounoupis founded the Greek Law Group to ensure that U.S. clients received competent and ethical representation in Greek legal matters. Mr. Kounoupis has published "The Legal Guide for Greek-Americans"; and "The Guide to Doing Business in the U.S. for Greek Companies" and numerous publications on Greek and International law.

Mr. Kounoupis has been quoted on international and business law matters in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, C-Span, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Mr. Kounoupis is also a nationally recognized federal civil rights and employment lawyer who has negotiated hundreds of employment, distributorship CEO and executive national and international agreements and employment and business matters. He also acts as solicitor to municipalities and is attorney for several police departments and police unions. He also is National Co-Chair of the National Employment Association's National Origin Discrimination Committee; is National Co-Chair of the American Bar Association's ERR, Statutory Rights Sub-Committee; as well as Co-Chair of the Northampton County, Pennsylvania Labor and Employment Law Committee as well as solicitor to municipalities, unions and government organizations such as the Bethlehem City Fraternal Order of Police, the Teamster's Union, the Spanish Council, Anoopam, Indian Mission as well as numerous other Greek and non-Greek organizations and businesses. Lecturer: "Trade and Investment Opportunities in Greece", Lehigh University International Trade Development Program; Co-Chairman "Doing Business in Greece, EEC 1992" IBF, 1990; legal counsel, Hellenic Restructuring Development Group; President, Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce; former counsel, Hellenic American National Council; former legal counsel, Hermes Trade Show; Hellenic News of America, legal counsel; Pan-Laconian Federation, legal counsel. He has also served as legal counsel to ABE International Airport in the U.S.

Mr. Kounoupis has been selected for Who's Who in Practicing Attorneys; Who’s Who in Business and the Professions; Outstanding Men of America and Top Lawyers in America. Mr. Kounoupis also appears regularly on the syndicated television talk show American Law Journal, where he is a regular commentator on legal issues. He has over 70 published cases in the U.S. Federal Courts and has lectured hundreds of times teaching other lawyers and bar associations the law. In 2008, Mr. Kounoupis was named a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society. Mr. Kounoupis also serves as an honorary member of the Litigation Counsel of America's International Law Committee. Mr. Kounoupis was recently involved in a round-table discussion featured in General Counsel Magazine. In June of 2015, Mr. Kounoupis led the 1st Major ABA Conference in Athens, Greece so as to reform the Greek law. The conference featured the President of the ABA, the Chair of the ABA Section of International Law, Justice Steele, the President of Greece and several Greek Supreme Court Justice.

Areas of Practice

  • Greek Law
  • Estate Planning
  • International Law
  • Tax Law
  • Wills
  • Employment Law -- Employee

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 1987
  • Greece, 1989
  • New Jersey, 1987

Education

  • Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 1987
    • Honors: Dean's List
  • Lehigh University
    • B.A. - 1984
    • Honors: Highest Honors

Published Works

  • American Bar Association, BNA, International Labor Law Treatise on Greece
  • American Bar Association's International Restrictive Covenant Treatise
  • "Ethics Guide for Lawyers", American Bar Association's U.S. Lawyers Practicing Abroad Committee's, Chapter on Greece
  • American Bar Association/BNA Books Restrictive Covenants Treatise, Chapter on Greece
  • "Foreign Tax and Trade Briefs", LLM Publications/Thomas Jefferson School of Law's, Chapter on Greek Taxation
  • American Bar Association/IBA Lawyer's Guide to Athens
  • American Bar Association/IBA Lawyer's Guide to Thessaloniki
  • Panelists on American Law Journal Television

Honors and Awards

  • AV-Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2011 - Present
  • SuperLawyer in International Law, as published in Philadelphia Magazine (representing the top 5% of practicing attorneys)
  • Honorary Member, Litigation Counsel of America's International Law Committee
  • Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America
  • Round-Table Discussion Featured in General Counsel Magazine

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association U.S. Lawyers Practicing Abroad Committee, Co-Chair

Past Employment Positions

  • Greek Embassy, Washington, D.C., Legal Advisors