A look back in history

Our law firm was founded in 1895, in Constantinople, by Michail G. Theotokas, a lawyer from Chios. Born in 1872, in Pyrgi, on the island of Chios, Michail Theotokas graduated from Athens Law School in 1892. He then moved to Constantinople, where he started practicing law. In Constantinople’s cosmopolitan ambiance of belle époque, his good knowledge of both French and English helped him attract an international clientele. In 1898, he published the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Case-Law, a book that established his reputation as an expert lawyer in cases related to inheritance and family law among the Greeks of Constantinople. Following the Young Turk Revolution and, in particular, Entente’s victory in World War I, Michail Theotokas got actively involved in national affairs. Thus, after the Greco-Turkish War in 1922, he was forced to leave Constantinople, despite being an établi, and resettle in Athens with his family.

A legal expert of the Greek delegation at the Lausanne Conference (1922-23), Michail Theotokas made a fresh start in Athens in 1923. Among his clients were the American company “Ulen”, the “American College for Girls” and “Ford Motor Company”, which, in the 30s, was planning to set up a vehicle assembly factory in Athens. In the summer of 1937, Theotokas Law Firm was located on the second floor of the newly-constructed building on 12, Valaoritou Street, where it stands up to this day.

The year 1929 marks the beginning of a very close partnership between Alekos D. Kalovidouris (1905-1996) and Michail Theotokas. A. Kalovidouris was born in Constantinople. He was a fellow student and friend with Giorgos, son of M. Theotokas, the famous novelist (1905-1966), who also practiced law until his last days.

In 1951, A. Kalovidouris succeeded M. Theotokas and immediately enriched the firm’s international involvement with clients such as commercial and construction companies from Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom. Legal adviser to the British Embassy since 1960, he was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE). In 1953, G. N. Theotokas, the novelist’s first cousin, joined A. Kalovidouris and assumed the representation of their clients before the Court in cases related to civil and penal law. Specialized in labour law, G.N. Theotokas practiced law until his death in 1982. During this period, our law firm had several partners among which the lawyers Periklis Vasileiadis, Polynikis Iosifidis, and, with a great sense of commitment since 1966, Olga Kritikou-Koukou and Fotis Merges.

In 1985, A. Kalovidouris handed over the law firm to Nikos C. Alivizatos, Professor of Constitutional Law, son of Michail Theotokas’ daughter Lili and the surgeon Konstantinos C. Alivizatos. Since then, the law firm has turned towards public law and human rights, without, however, breaking away entirely from the tradition of general advocacy, carried on mainly by Fotis Merges and by Yanna Diakou-Alivizatou, who, even after her retirement, maintains an active presence in the firm’s daily life and, through her experience and lively spirit, secures its continuity.

In 1992, Lucy Kiousopoulou joined the firm, who broadened its orientation to environmental law and other fields of public law. From 2003, Vangelis Mallios became a member of the legal team, mainly dealing with education and research issues. In the recent years, our firm has opened its doors to lawyers who belong to the younger generation: Dimitris Merges and Vangelis Gkoumas have also contributed with their specialized knowledge in the firm’s main areas of expertise. The current law firm was founded in January 2007.

During the past few decades, the lawyers and university professors Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Charalampos Chrysanthakis, Stavros Tsakirakis, Giorgos Dellis, Spyros Vlachopoulos, Nikos Stavropoulos and I.Ktistakis, as well as the lawyers P. Voyatzis, I. Angelou, S. Tsevas, A. Keramida, N.Lakardi and P. Karageorgi practiced there.

From 1962 until 2014, Yiannis Sitaras, was a valuable member of our firm, through thick and thin. Since 1999, Sofia Panoussi has been responsible for its administrative and secretarial support.

Michael G. Theotokas

George N. Theotokas

George M. Theotokas

Al. Kalovidouris - Nikos C. Alivizatos