How We Relax!
The Firm is a relationship law firm committed to “being there” any time, day or night, weekday or weekend, workday or holiday. As a result, the Firm’s professionals sometimes have to work long hours, give up weekends and holidays, get home in time for breakfast, or arrive late or come back early from vacations.
One of the six indicators the Firm uses to determine whether the year was a good year is, “Did we have fun?” One of the Goals for the Firm each year is to “increase the fun.”
From time to time we will share some of the things we have tried to do to make sure that we do have fun.
All of the Firm’s personnel have competitive personalities. The Firm’s approach to advocating for its clients is consciously competitive. As part of its Fun Initiative, the Firm has channeled that competitive spirit into an ongoing series of contests among Firm personnel, clients, and friends of the Firm regarding the outcome of sports contests, movie awards, world events, economic events, etc. The Firm gives modest, sometimes silly, awards to the top finishers in the contests – movie tickets, a book, lunch, college football jerseys, High Tea at The Ritz, DVD on split infinitives, etc.
Another part of the Fun Initiative is to take a couple of hours periodically, usually at lunch, to do something fun, silly, different, etc. Some examples follow.
One February the Firm celebrated Charles Dickens’ birthday. The celebration was proper English afternoon tea. Individuals had parasols, dressed for Ascot, etc. Different individuals brought and served English teas, proper tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a wonderful English cake to top off the meal.
Each of us was asked to submit favorite quotes from Dickens’ books. That then became, what else, a contest! Each of us voted for our favorite quotes. Prizes were awarded for the individuals who proposed the quotes that received the most votes.
Then yet another contest – identifying from which Dickens’ book the quotation came. To up the ante, there were “Bonus Questions.”
Finally, a wonderful closing to the “fun,” we had a reading of some passages from one of Dickens’ books.
Corned Beef Heaven
What could be more different than proper English afternoon tea – lunch at a wonderfully entertaining, absolutely crowded, landmark deli in an old part of a city for corned beef sandwiches.
Off the Firm went – a caravan to one of the world’s greatest delis.
So packed, each of us had to squeeze through the narrow space left by the legions of fans waiting for carry out. Waitresses right out of central casting.
The quiet and classical music of English tea was quickly forgotten in the din of orders shouted across the room to the counter – names of carryout customers launched at high decibel levels so they too could have a taste of corned beef heaven. If you wanted atmosphere, this was the place.
Some in the Firm were veterans of this deli (alas, this deli did not give out letter sweaters). Others were newbies, about to have corned beef that melts in your mouth and is just short of a religious experience.
This deli – Home of the Biggest and Best Corned Beef – did not disappoint. Noted in the “Best Sandwiches in America”, in Esquire as well as Voted “Best Deli” at Where the Locals Eat.com, this deli offered it all. A former President was also a fan of this “hidden gem.”
Reuben sandwiches that melted in your mouth if the six inches of corned beef did not collapse and bury the eater in an avalanche of corned beef. Corned beef sandwiches that had some at the table jealous that they had not ordered one.
And then there is that “one” in every crowd – the “one” who just doesn’t get it – the one who orders a tuna fish sandwich on rye – HELLO!
The Firm’s “Goals In Each Client Relationship” promises that the Firm will share with its clients the breadth of its relationships. In that spirit, the firm will share the name and web address for this deli if requested by email.
Τον Απρίλιο, η εταιρία πέρασε ένα απόγευμα για να γιορτάσει ελληνοαμερικάνοι και τον ελληνικό πολιτισμό. Οι εορτασμοί διευθύνθηκαν από ελληνοαμερικάνος της εταιρίας πολύ, κα. Varouhakis!
The Firm spent an afternoon celebrating Greek Americans and Greek culture. The festivities were headed by the Firm’s then very own Greek American Firm Administrator.!
The sounds of Rembetiko (Greek folk music) by the Athenians filled the air. The knowledge of the Firm’s professionals was tested with various facts, historical references and funny quotes. For example, did you know that there are over 1.1 million people of Greek heritage living in the United States and that over 350,000 Americans speak Greek at home?! Can you name the U.S. city that has the fastest growing Greek American community? Do you know what Yassou or Efharisto (ef-har-ree-STO) [σας ευχαριστούμε] mean? How about the Greek name for Grandmother?
The menu of the day included dolmades, spanakopita (span-a-KO-pee-ta), feta cheese, kalamata (Καλαμάτα) and baklava and diples (DIP-liss) for dessert. The day’s favorite was the spanakopita. This traditional Greek specialty is a light and flavorful appetizer consisting of buttery and flaky phyllo pastry triangles filled with sautéed spinach, feta cheese and spices. Grape leaves stuffed with long-grain rice, toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs and seasonings (dolmades) proved to be an acquired taste.
The day’s festivities concluded with a game of tsougrisma (TSOO-grees-mah) [τσούγκρισμα]. Tsougrisma or “clinking together” or “clashing”, is a traditional Greek game played with red eggs during the Easter celebration. Kokkina avga (KOH-kee-nah ahv-GHAH) [κόκκινα αυγά] or red eggs are perhaps the brightest symbol of Greek Easter. Each player holds a red egg, and one taps the end of her/his egg lightly against the end of the other player’s egg. The goal is to crack the opponent’s egg. When one end is cracked, the winner uses the same end of her/his egg to try to crack the other end of the opponent’s egg. The player who successfully cracks the eggs of the other players is declared the winner and, it is said, will have good luck during the year. It may be Greek luck or years of practice, but the Firm’s then very own Greek American proved victorious!
No Fun Day is complete without prizes! Individuals were awarded for their efforts and received Greek cookbooks, an Athenians CD, or a copy of the DVD “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.
The intent for this Firm’s Fun Day was to have a “Picnic in the Park.” However, despite a summer of picture perfect weather, the day was windy with recent showers and more predicted. As a result, the Firm enjoyed a “Picnic in the Conference Room,” with our favorite deli’s corned beef sandwiches and accompaniments, a dessert of fruit and cookies, and followed by a quiz on certain history and statistics.
With our hunger assuaged and brain power challenged, we moved on to modest athletic activities. (Please note that these were to have taken place on the lawn at the park with appropriate sports equipment). The main hallway of the office became a “fairway,” sans sand traps, water hazards, carts, caddies, and regrettably, even without golf clubs. However, the always resourceful TSLF team searched the “equipment rooms” and came out with serviceable “clubs” in the form of 12” wooden rulers and a large umbrella. The bag of “golf balls” presented by the team organizer bore a remarkable resemblance to marshmallows in size, texture, color and taste, and this identity was quickly confirmed by a major team player who immediately ate one and proclaimed that “By George! They are marshmallows!” Thus ensued a rousing contest of driving and putting marshmallows using rulers and umbrella handles, all with great competitive strategy, spirit, and laughs. The points resulting from the Quiz and “closest to the pin” and “putting” contests were tabulated and assorted prizes awarded. And a commitment was made by the Fun Day organizer to try again for the park next year, although all agreed it might be hard to beat the “marshmallow golf” as an original athletic event!